One of my favorite parts of the waterfall project of summer 2008 was the planning process. Not only did I enjoy scouring topographic maps and satellite photos to find the quickest, safest, or most scenic route, but I also enjoyed achieving different goals; visiting every waterfall along Silver River or within the Keweenaw. Once the project was complete, I started looking for a new set of hiking adventures that would rival my experience.
Bryant Weathers, a student web developer at Michigan Tech, blogged about a friend of his who planned to spend a summer hiking around Lake Michigan (blog link). Unfortunately, he stopped a few hundred miles in, but this idea inspired a new project for myself - hike around Lake Superior.
This is not an adventure that I plan on tackling soon. With an estimated distinct of eighteen hundred miles, it will take me at least three months to walk around the lake. It'd be nice to have it done within the next six years, or before I'm thirty. Also, there are a number of things that I must prepare for that will take a fair amount of time.
I've never gone backpacking before, so I'd spend a summer going weekend stints in the woods. I don't plan on carrying much: a hammock tent, several weeks worth of food, and an Ultra Mobile PC (and solar charger) for updates and keeping in touch with friends. Each day would involve between fifteen and twenty-five miles of hiking through varied terrain, so I want to be in good physical condition for the adventure as well.
One lesson that I took from Bryant's post is the need to plan out a route. His friend attempted to follow the lakeshore all the way around Lake Michigan, which led him to marshes and private property. I found out that the North Country Trail of Michigan and Superior Hiking Trail of Minnesota would make the United States portion of the journey simple. The only areas I'm a bit worried about are Duluth and Sault Ste Marie, with their high population and large urban span. Canada will be the true beast of the hike, and I'll have to follow railroads or streets to avoid fording the many rivers that flow into Lake Superior.
Not only does this hike sound possible, it also looks downright fun. The Lake Superior shoreline is renowned for its natural beauty, and I can't imagine a better way to enjoy it then hiking right through it.