Superior Hiking Trail – Day 1
Saturday September 23rd, 2017
Starting Point: Broken Arrow OK
Ending Point: High Landing Campsite – Jay Cooke State Park
Trail Miles Hiked: 7.1
I started out this morning in Broken Arrow OK. My alarm sounded at 5:00 am so I could get to the airport, check in my backpack and catch a 7:00 am flight to Duluth. I called a Uber and was on my way with plenty of time to spare.
My flights to Minneapolis and then on to Duluth went without a hitch and I arrived in Duluth about 10:50. I unpacked my travel bag, prepped my backpack and filled up my water bottles for the trip. I once again used Uber to get a ride to the trailhead.
“Leo the Lyft Man” picked me up and drove me to the furthest south trailhead on Wild Valley Road. Leo and I had a good conversation on the way and he provided some historical background of the area as we traveled to the trailhead.
Once at the Wild Valley trailhead, Leo dropped me off and I began my hike southbound on the Superior Hiking Trail. Yes I had to hike 2 miles south to get to the beginning of the trail. This section of trail is new this year and it looked like many people had already been out to try it out. I passed a young couple coming out as I began my hike to the South Terminus.
The trail was in great shape and it wound in and out of the forest on the way to the South Terminus. About 1.9 miles in a came upon the Red River Valley campsite. I stopped for just a few seconds and continued on. I would stop later on the way back for a lunch break. Shortly after the campsite the trail crossed a bridge over the Red River, climbed a steep hill and came within a few hundred feet of a railroad track. The trail ended shortly at a sign stating this was the South Terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail. However, the trail continued on and curiosity got the best of me. I followed the trail about 3/4 miles further into the woods before the trail just came to a dead-end. Turning around to go back I had a mishap, slid down a small hill and landed with my left foot in a small creek. Great!! My boot was soaked and I hadn’t even officially started the trail.
Hiking back to the South Terminus, I stopped again, took a picture and a short video to kick off the official northbound hike of the Superior Hiking Trail. I did stop at the Red River Valley campsite for a quick lunch and then continued on back down the trail to where I started at the Wild Valley trailhead.
Once at the trailhead it was a short road walk out Wild Valley Road to Highway 23. The trail crossed the highway and soon cut back into the woods. The trail was very well maintained and I was soon making good time going up and down small hills and walking along ridgelines. There was a great view of a railroad bridge from one of the ridgelines.
After several miles, the trail joins the Jay Cooke State Park trail system which is a series of cross-country ski trails. another mile or so and I find the spur to the High Landing campsite which I have reserved for the night. This campsite is on a high point overlooking the St. Louis River. I select a tent site and then find a trail down to the water to collect water for dinner.
Today’s hike, with the southbound leg to the Southern Terminus, the extra 3/4 mile unofficial trail and the northbound trip back to High Landing made it about an 9 mile day. My left foot, being wet for most of that time, has a couple of blisters and I am going to have to take care of them before going to bed. I start a small campfire and enjoy the sounds of the river and the stars in the sky before hitting the sleeping bag for the night.