Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Superior Hiking Trail: Some thoughts

I have spent some time considering how exactly I'm going to hike the Superior Hiking Trail this year.  Sure, it's right in my backyard...but, as a long straight path, it's not conducive to unsupported dayhikes.  When Joe is here (and he feels like going for a Big Walk), we can use both cars.  There'll have to be some tricky "Fox, Goose, and a Bag of Beans" problem-solving: Thunderdog is not allowed in Joe's brand-new car.  But I am sure we could figure it out without having to tie Thunderdog to a tree while we drive our cars up and down the North Shore.

On weekends between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, we will be able to use the Superior Shuttle service.  We've actually done it before - several years ago.  It's a large van that travels from trailhead parking lot to trailhead parking lot from Two Harbors to Grand Marais (no Duluth sections).  It's northbound in the morning and southbound in the afternoon, so it makes the most sense to drive to your ending point, catch the shuttle, and then hike back to your car.  That way, you don't have to worry about getting to the trailhead at a particular time.  It's not cheap -  one stop is $17, two is $25, etc. 

The good things are that it's nice to not have to worry about Foxes, Geese, and Bags of Beans.  The shuttle allows dogs on board for $4 a trip.  And really...$25 is not all that much for a whole days worth of entertainment.  That's the cost of dinner and a movie.  Also -  I'm willing to pitch in for a good service.  Gas isn't cheap and the Superior Shuttle drives hundreds upon hundreds of miles a day, three days a week, the whole summer long.

Okay, so that's the weekend.  What am I supposed to do on days like today - a Wednesday, a beautiful mid-week day in which I would like to take a nice several-hours-long hike? 

1. I could be like Bilbo Baggins and write "Out and Back Again:  A Dayhiker's Tale".  Hike half of the distance or time I want to hike, turn around, and come back the way I came.  Pros: I don't have to worry about getting back to my car; it's very flexible based on how I'm feeling and what I want to do/where I want to go.  Cons: I will literally be walking the same ground twice, I will not be able to see beyond a few miles from any trailhead, I could (probably would) get frustrated with all that I am NOT seeing because I'm doing tons of out-and-backs.

2.  I could relegate my trailhead-to-trailhead hikes to the weekends, when I can use the Superior Shuttle or the Fox-Geese-Bag of Beans plan.  On weekdays I can just go to the parks or other trails in the area.

3.  I could pay the Superior Shuttle extra to take me where I want to go, when I want to go.

Obviously, I don't think that 3 is an option.  I also don't really like the idea of 1...I would so much rather hike a new path than trod along the same ground twice.  I think I'm looking at option #2:  do the SHT on the weekends, and do other stuff during the week.

Well, it may not make for an interesting blog entry, but it's very helpful for me to write these things out.  :)  I am just so excited to be living so close to the SHT - I want to be out there every day!  I want to hike the whole thing!  It pains me to have to slow down and think logically about it.  Oh, logic. 

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