On August 9, 2015, Kathleen Ferraro began a thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail. Kathleen decided to hike in support of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and use her hike as a chance to educate people about the risk posed to the Boundary Waters from sulfide-ore copper mining. This blog is the third in a series about her adventure. Read the first and second posts.
In just over two weeks, my SHT hike concluded. It seems I experienced every type of weather and terrain that Minnesota could throw at me: a total of 253 miles in 17 days.
With soaring temperatures during the first half of the trip and cold, rainy nights during the second, I saw the beginnings of the changing of the seasons. Trekking on the lake shore, through birch forests, past waterfalls, swamps and more, it was constantly stimulating to see Minnesotan environments as I inhabited them. And as fun as hiking was, some of the nicest moments were when I was swinging in my hammock on the banks of the rivers skirting the trail, just enjoying the view.
For the last week of the trip, a former counselor from my Northwestern University backpacking group (Project Wildcat) joined me. We weathered the northernmost sections of trail together (including the monstrous Canadian mosquitoes) and explored the Cascade River and Judge R. Magney state parks. These sections of trail proved especially dense and untraversed, with some beautiful rocky outlooks throughout.
After leaving the SHT, I stopped at several lodges along the trail to distribute Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters literature and petitions.
Overall, the trip was an exciting way to remind myself how much I love the SHT, the North Shore, and more generally, how special Minnesota’s wilderness areas are. This brought me back to the Boundary Waters, thinking about what a rarity it is nowadays to visit such exquisite, unpopulated natural zones. They provide such memorable experiences: most importantly, the unique opportunity to level yourself with everything around you. It was great to advocate for areas like the Boundary Waters while enjoying the experiences they make possible. Boundary Waters and beyond, it’s important to preserve these rare wilds and the deeply enriching experiences they provide.