The Superior Hiking Trail - Intro & Gear

Ascending Rock Pass, Pacific Crest Trail, Pasayten Wilderness by andy porter (cc by-nc 2.0)

A few months ago I was captivated by a reddit IAMA Last year I quit my job in order to walk the 2650 mile PCT

The idea of travel makes me anxious: too many people, being unable to speak the language, etc… But the idea of lots of solitary time, getting daily exercise, seeing the stars without light pollution, and some of the most striking scenery that the US has to offer.

A Few Wrinkles:

  • I like my job, and don’t feel too keen on leaving.
  • I don’t think I’m quite up to the task of spending 4 months backpacking without a test run.
  • All of my gear is from my time in the Boy Scouts, sized for an adolescent, and about 19 years old.
  • What if nostalgia is clouding my memory of backpacking?

Section 13, Superior Hiking Trail by NatureNerd (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Clearly a test-hike is in order. The Chicago area, while largely flat, isn’t much for long wilderness trails. But a short plane ride away is Minnesota and the Superior Hiking Trail.

The trail is 251 miles, from Duluth to the Canadian border along Lake Superior’s coast. Roughly 2-weeks of hiking 20 miles a day, a resupply or two part way through, and I can call myself adequately prepared for something more ambitious.

As a Boy Scout I was packing 40-50 lbs up and down the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The longest hike I went on was a 9-day 63 mile hike around the Pasayten Wilderness. I’m in better shape as an adult than I was as a kid. Technology has advanced such that a base-weight of 10-15lbs is now possible. I’ll be fighting 35-year-old-knees but I like my odds.

New Gear

Mobile phones were available when I was backpacking. But typically service was unavailable until you got back to the trail-head. Now smart phones offer GPS, maps, compass, still photos, and video recording. But powering all that on a long-distance hike can be a challenge.

Enter the 16,100 mAh AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank.

It managed to fully recharge my iPhone from a normal day’s usage (50%) 8 times. With low-power and airplane-mode I’m certain I can stretch that to two full weeks. At 12.6 oz it’s heavy but well worth the piece of mind.

I’ll be posting periodic updates as I acquire and test new gear, Get my inventory together and firm up my plans.