I was beyond thrilled to be asked to pen a seven-part series on the Superior Hiking Trail, or SHT. It was the spring of 2017, and I’d recently undergone surgery to reattach my left hamstring. Thankfully, it hadn’t suddenly ruptured. Rather, it had become 90 percent detached over the years through wear-and-tear. Full recovery from this type of hamstring surgery is estimated to take two years. But I convinced my surgeon and physical therapist that I could complete a rigorous, 315-mile hike along the SHT just four months post-surgery.
It’s for a Series, People!
So how did I convince them? Well, I let them know it’s rare to be asked to write a seven-part series these days. Thus, I couldn’t turn it down! Plus, I’d wanted to hike the SHT anyway. Thank goodness my PT is an avid hiker. He quickly got on board with the idea. But to ensure my success, he had me spend weeks walking my dog around the neighborhood, toting a backpack filled with canned goods. I also had to do loads of squats, stair-steps and other hamstring-strengthening exercises. And then it was time to hit the trail!
Can I Do It?
But would I be able to finish such a difficult trail? They say where there’s a will, there’s a way. Before starting, I was pretty confidant that I could easily accomplish this goal. But the first day was quite hard. I could definitely tell my left leg (with the newly attached hamstring) wasn’t as strong as my right leg. That meant I’d need to hike by leading with my right leg. And if I needed to jump off a log or rock, I’d have to make sure my right leg took the brunt of the landing.
I won’t tell you much more than that, or I’ll spoil the series. But read along to see how I fared. And make sure to check out my “vlogs,” or daily videos. I must say, some are pretty funny.
Oh, and I must add that this travel series won silver (second place) in the 2019 Lowell Thomas competition, in the Special Packages/Projects division. For you non-travel writers out there, the Lowell Thomas Awards are considered the most prestigious awards in travel journalism throughout North America, akin to the Pulitzers. So yay, us! And yay for the Superior Hiking Trail.
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