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victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
superior hiking trail on 05/27/2008 09:30:51 MDT Print View

if anyone is thinking of hiking the trail in may, give it up. i have tried for 3 years and have had bad weather memorial weekend every time. i did get in a 6 hr. hike with full gear the one nice day (sat.),but did not camp on the trail. ended up going to local campground, camped sat.night, then left because of bad weather on sunday. i will try and go july or aug....

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
superior hiking trail on 05/27/2008 09:53:51 MDT Print View

That's too bad you had rotten luck, Victoria. I didn't think I was going to be able to get out this weekend but plans changed and I was able to head up the Shore on Friday night. I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights on the SHT this weekend putting in around twenty-five miles. Met some good folks, hiked with an unexpected friend and celebrated my girlfriend's birthday in the outdoors as well.

The trail was in great shape, with most of the mud having dried out now. A bit of rain on Monday made for a wet take-down but nothing my rain jacket and Tilley hat couldn't handle.

I thru-hiked the trail in May, 2005 and hold some of my fondest memories from that event. I personally suggest this time of year as the time TO hike the SHT since there are less bugs, better views and less traffic. To each their own I guess.

BPL Stix and the Poplar River Valley, Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
superior trail on 05/27/2008 10:39:54 MDT Print View

ok,sam. so have you ever hiked in july or aug? i'm thinking end of aug. might not be to bad for bugs. i could be wrong. i guess, i'm more concerned with the weather, as i have not had good luck in may.....

Edited by clt1953 on 05/27/2008 12:12:59 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten)

Locale: MN
Re: superior trail on 05/27/2008 11:15:54 MDT Print View

Vicki: Once the peak skeeter population passes (varies with each year's climate) each succeeding week generally sees fewer biting insect's than the one before. Late July better than early, August better than July, Late August better than early August.

Sam: that photo ... Poplar River valley?

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
superior hiking trail on 05/27/2008 20:43:07 MDT Print View

Victoria - If weather is your biggest concern (and I understand your point of view, as miserable weather is tough to deal with on the trail) then you'll be much happier with July and August conditions. The temps will be warm but you will have considerably less rain and the bugs will be at a minimum as well.

Jim - You're good ; ) It was taken at that great overlook where the trail almost wraps back on itself just before heading downhill to Lake Agnes. Chad and I ran into each other on the trail and hiked together for the weekend. Did you get out?

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
SHT in May on 05/27/2008 20:43:11 MDT Print View

I have been backpacking the SHT in May for years. Usually 3-4 nights out, and yes, it does rain sometimes, but hey, that's just part of the experience. This past weekend was awesome, we just came out this morning and the only misty day was yesterday. We lucked out with no rain setting up camp and breaking camp. It did storm Saturday night, but it was dry by morning. The trail was incredible, a little muddy in sections, but overall pretty good. We started in Oberg Mtn. and ended up in Cascade; the forest was covered with many blooming wild flowers and there was such a variety of birds throughout the trek. As soon as the snow is gone I'm out there. Mosquitoes or not! There is always something wonderful any time of the year!

Mary D. NollSHT Friends May 26th 2008

Edited by dpnoll on 05/28/2008 08:33:51 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten)

Locale: MN
Re: superior hiking trail on 05/27/2008 21:39:04 MDT Print View

Jim - You're good

There aren't too many wide open river views on the trail. That segment was my first SHT experience and remains my favorite. I've walked it 4, maybe 5 times, most recently last October, right after all the rain. Portions of the trail were IN the Poplar River that weekend.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: superior hiking trail on 05/27/2008 23:56:35 MDT Print View

Sam, what segment of the SHT did you do? I too was on the SHT this weekend (Silver Creek to Castle Danger Rd section), and seeing how bad the weather was Sunday, I drove back to the Twin Cities and hiked Afton State Park Sunday. I'm surprised you did not mention encountering rain on Sunday (you mentioned only Monday). Monday was dry all day (but cloudy) at Afton.

One question I have for SHT hikers -- if it rains on the trail like it did this last Sunday for many in Minnesota, does the trail become muddy and slippery? I've been spoiled by only hiking the High Sierra and the soil is too hard to become muddy and slippery in the late July/August time period I've encountered the last 8 years. There were hills on the SHT that were they muddy would have been a challenge hiking. Not as much use of switchbacks on the SHT as is the case with the High Sierra Trail in SEKI.

Jim Colten
(jcolten)

Locale: MN
superior hiking trail on 05/28/2008 08:28:29 MDT Print View

Roleigh,

You'll encounter a variety of soils on the SHT, some will be slippery when wet but many handle water well. I think the most treacherous footing I've encountered was coming off Hellacious Overlook with wet leaves on rock and clay mud in late Oct.

And then there are cedar roots .... I love being in cedar groves but a wet root can be like wet ice.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
SHT Muddy & Slippery on 05/28/2008 08:36:36 MDT Print View

Hiking poles are a blessing for mud and slippery sections. My friends do not use them and under the wet & slippery conditions they wish they had them:-)

Mary

Jim Colten
(jcolten)

Locale: MN
Re: SHT Muddy & Slippery on 05/28/2008 09:28:32 MDT Print View

Hiking poles are a blessing for mud and slippery sections.

That descent from Hellacious Overlook was what convinced me to try those wussie sticks. Took a couple days to get comfortable with them but now I won't leave a trailhead without them.

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
sht on 05/28/2008 10:52:57 MDT Print View

thankyou roleigh. i thought i was the only one that encounted bad weather. maybe inland was better on sunday, but i stayed at the campground and i talked to a few people who told me bad weather was on the way. i have been out on the trails at isle royal by myself when bad storms blew.. needless to say i was very afraid. i hiked from silver creek to first trailhead on sat. and hearing bad weather was coming realized the trail would be dangerous going back as sections where very trecherous, so caught shuttle back to my car and camped at gosseberry. vicky

Edited by clt1953 on 05/28/2008 13:59:17 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
superior hiking trail on 05/28/2008 12:41:37 MDT Print View

For those who asked, my itinerary was as follows:

Fri: Temperance to Springdale Cr. camp (6 miles)
Sat: Springdale Cr. camp to West Lake Agnes camp (16 miles)
Sun: Lake Agnes back to Lutsen (6 miles), followed by a a drive to Caribou Wayside and a hike from there to Horshoe Ridge Camp (4 miles).

I ran into Mary (who is posting to this thread) on the trail and she had an impressive set of ultralight gear including some ULA Equipment and a Stephenson tent.

Mary's classic ultralight tent:
Stephenson Tent - East Poplar camp, SHT

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
ULA on 05/28/2008 15:30:52 MDT Print View

Hi Sam,

Speaking of impressive equipment, your ULA pack at 14lbs or so is quite enviable! I want my pack to be like yours some day! I am working on it.
It was very nice meeting you, and I hope Sunday was a memorable day.

Mary

Tammy Holmer
(tholmer) - F

Locale: Minneapolis
planning an August trip on 06/12/2008 08:28:49 MDT Print View

I am planning an August trip, but I am having a hard time deciding where to start and finish.....any suggestions? I am planning 6 nights on the trail.

Pete Ryan
(ppgc) - MLife

Locale: MN
June 4th-8th Trip report on 06/13/2008 13:36:03 MDT Print View

Full report located here: http://www.peteryan.com/2008/06/sht.html

The 3-6" of rain made it a little more of an adventure! :D

Edited by ppgc on 06/13/2008 15:35:37 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
superior hiking trail on 06/14/2008 19:59:51 MDT Print View

Pete, thanks for the awesome read!

Jim Colten
(jcolten)

Locale: MN
Re: planning an August trip on 06/15/2008 06:48:24 MDT Print View

Tammy,

I can't think of a 6-7 day stretch of the SHT that would not be very enjoyable. If this were a once in a lifetime SHT trip I might suggest a stretch that included the best of the best but your locale is Mpls so you'll probably get there more than once.

In many (most?) years the Trail Assn posts low water advisories covering August so you might want to avoid stretches that don't include at least one reliable water source per day (I'd prefer more than one). The guide book provides that kind of info ... you'll want to use it for planning other trip details anyway.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: June 4th-8th Trip report on 06/15/2008 10:52:59 MDT Print View

Pete,

Thank you for sharing your excellent trip report with us!

I think one addition would enhance your report as well as other trip reports submitted to this forum. Put your route and campsite waypoints in a shared Google Map. This would allow us to put your pictures and narrative into location perspective. We could zoom into or out of areas of interest. We could also switch back and forth between the topo, satellite, or map views of your trip.

Edited by richard295 on 06/15/2008 10:53:34 MDT.