Wow, what a crazy first day on the trail! The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) starts in the south in the middle of the woods on the border with Wisconsin. Since the parking area is 2 miles away, you have to hike in to the terminus, then hike back out and continue on.
Ed (Stubs) and I were set to start hiking around 9 or 9:30 — a bit late, as we were driving up from Eau Claire this morning. The forecast was for highs around 45 and rain starting around noon. Not the greatest. Well, it began POURING shortly before we were to start. Since this is a project with the Star Tribune, Brian Peterson (photographer/videographer) is going to take pix and video every day. He was waiting for us at the trailhead, and when we got there we all sat in our cars, waiting for the deluge to stop.
It finally slowed a little and Brian shot some video and then we began. The 3.8-mile out-and-back wasn’t that bad. The rain slowed and we saw some beautiful trillium along the trail. We were able to lunch at a campsite, so we had a place to set our packs off the soggy ground.
But the rest of the day was tough. The rain never stopped. It just kept changing from a downpour to a drizzle. We were either walking through puddles or through grass that soaked our feet worse than puddles, actually. Although I was dressed in layers, several rain garments, gloves, etc., you eventually just get waterlogged. Worse, you don’t want to drink or eat because 1) it’s a hassle to dig out from under your poncho, backpack cover, etc. to get at things and 2) you get colder and wetter when you stop. But if you don’t eat and drink enough, you lose energy.
There was also the risk of hypothermia. Not so much for me; I was dressed well. But Stubs just had on shorts and a not-so-great raincoat. I did manage to get a few photos, and in the afternoon we saw lovely yellow lady’s slippers, but we are REALLY looking forward to tomorrow, when it should be about 20 degrees warmer and DRY.
MN NCT miles today: 16.3
MN NCT miles to date: 16.3
Total SHT miles to date: 16.3
Total NCT miles to date: 286.6
Total NCT miles to go: 4,313.4