The champagne bottle popped shortly after noon today. In what must rank among the laziest accomplishments in endurance sports history, I completed the final stretch of my quest to hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail … 15 years after I started.
The 296-mile journey was tackled in about 45 different hikes spread out between Sept. 24, 2000, and Oct. 11, 2015. The longest single hike was about 15 miles. The shortest was today’s hike, which was less than a mile. Perhaps some day I’ll gather stories from the journey into some sort of narrative, but for today I’ll just present a simple breakdown of the mileage per year.
Note: The mileage below adds up to 330, not 296. There are certain parts of the trail that changed courses over the years, so I hiked both versions. I also hiked every spur and overlook, and those miles are sometimes included and sometimes not included. Overall there’s a lot of rounding and imprecision here.
2000 | 58 miles from Otter Lake Road to Cascade River State Park.
2001 | 35 miles from Cascade River State Park to Temperance River State Park.
2002 to 2005 | Zero miles. Work, weather and apathy got in the way.
2006 | 40 miles from Temperance River State Park to the West Branch Bar in Finland.
2007 | 43 miles on various day hikes on the Duluth sections.
2008 | 26 miles from Finland Recreation Center to Silver Bay.
2009 | 15 miles from Silver Bay to Beaver Bay.
2010 | Zero miles. Not sure what happened with that.
2011 | 11 miles from Cove Point to Split Rock State Park.
2012 | 23 miles from Castle Danger to Split Rock River State Park.
2013 | 39 miles from Lake County Demonstration Forest to Lake County Road 301, plus West Branch of Knife River to Martin Road.
2014 | 28 miles from Rossini Road to Lake County Demonstration Forest, plus new sections of trail by Judge Magney State Park that didn’t exist when I passed through in 2000.
2015 | 12 miles around Jay Cooke Park area, along Blueberry Hill Road and Gitchi Gami State Trail where trail was rerouted off private land, and a tiny section from County Road 301 to Wilson Creek, to fill a gap I missed when I got lost the year before.
A big thanks goes out to my support team — the people who drove 100 miles here and there to pick me up or drop me off, or sat in a parking lot in the dark waiting for hours, etc. This includes my wife, parents, aunt, now-deceased dog, and at least four friends — with particular props to Lumpy G for driving to Finland on a moment’s notice in the pouring rain so I wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor of the West Branch Bar in 2006.
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