This summer my family and I took a backpacking trip along the Superior Hiking Trail that runs from Duluth, MN to the Canadian border. We started at the Beaver Bay trailhead and hiked thirty-two miles to Castle Danger. It was a very exciting and challenging trek that tested us in many ways. We hiked for approximately eight hours the first day, completing eighteen miles. We saw many beautiful views and the Split Rock Lighthouse. We stopped for a while along the Split Rock River to cool down and refuel our bodies. We also refilled our water bottles there with water from the river and treated it with iodine tablets to ensure the water was safe for drinking.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
That night we camped at one of the campsites along the trail, called Blueberry Hill. Since it stormed all night, we didn’t sleep very well and were up and hiking again by 6:30am the next morning. From our campsite it was about four miles to Gooseberry Falls. In my opinion, seeing that was the best part of the hike. Words can’t even describe how breathtaking it was. The view was spectacular, and the power of the falls was absolutely astonishing. This is a photo of one of the waterfalls along the Gooseberry River. After taking in the amazing view for a while, we began the last section of our hike. Along that final section of trail, we saw bear, moose, and wolf tracks. Also, we stopped for awhile on a rocky bank of the Gooseberry River and found some beautiful agates. We didn’t have far to go after that, and we completed our hike just before 12:30pm. Although we were all exhausted and sore by the end of it, the trip was totally worth it. It was an experience I will never forget, and something I would encourage everyone to try.
I learned that there are some very important precautions to take before and during a backpacking trip. For example, you want to make sure you have plenty of food and water. It’s very important to keep your body hydrated and energized even if you don’t feel hungry or thirsty. We would stop about once an hour for a water break and a quick snack. Since you have to pack lightly, we found it was best to eat small compact foods that were high in calories. Trail mix, granola bars, and peanut butter were all great options that we brought along. It’s also very important to pay attention to the trail. This seems like an obvious idea, but it would be very easy to get on the wrong path or get hurt. Often times, the forks in the trail are very easy to miss, and they come without warning. There are small tags that are nailed to trees to indicate the Superior Hiking Trail, but the bigger, more informative signs with locations and mileage are much scarcer. Because of this, you could hike in the wrong direction for miles before realizing it. It is important to bring maps along, so you can verify your location, and make sure you are headed the right way. We used the Superior Hiking Trail Association website to print our maps and check trail conditions before heading out on our trip. The trail is very rough in some areas. If you aren’t careful, it would be very easy to get hurt out there. I learned so much on the trek from Beaver Bay to Castle Danger, and it was an experience that I will never forget.
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