10,000 Lakes

I’m feeling a bit like the character Eugene Henderson in the book Henderson the Rain King. It seems that every place I’ve hiked the rain has followed.

Despite the unexpected downpour that lingers in my steps, my now 45-mile-long excursion along the SHT has been lacking

Many of the creeks and streams are dry. And here I was, thinking that water would be plentiful because Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

One morning I started the day with three liters of water. I didn’t make the usual brown sugar oatmeal that I so love. I opted for a protein bar and decided to push through the morning.

As the day deepened and the humidity increased, I desperately hiked not only in the pursuit of moving forward—but also to find water.

After many hours and several dry creeks I did what any nearly dehydrated person would do.

OK, not nearly mostly. I just did me. I found a spot in the shade and decided to get out of the sun.

After resting a bit and waiting for the sun to chase the sky, I moved onward and  finally reached a muddy pool. 

I was ecstatic—I had access to water! Filthy, brackish, and unsafe, but water nonetheless.

This got me thinking about so many without access to clean water, those who cannot afford a filtration system.

Specifically, I thought of one major environmental injustice right here in the land sharing the lakes: the lead infiltration into the drinking water in Flint, Michigan—a predominately Black, poverty-stricken city.

Flint shows us how  environmental injustice and racial injustice are deeply connected.

If a Sawyer mini could purify my water in under 30 minutes, why can’t we encourage other companies to move just as quickly to enact changes? The knowledge is there.

There I sat quaffing mucky water. Damnit, there should be more water on the trail. Minnesota, this ain’t nice!

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Comments 6

  • Julie Roppe-Stern : Jul 12th

    Hey Crystal! Wishing you the best of luck on your journey! Julie.

    • Crystal Gail Welcome : Jul 18th

      Thank you Julie!

  • Jeff : Jul 17th

    I read the article about your hike in the Star Tribune. Very inspiring to know you are out there logging miles for a cause. Enjoy your time in Minnesota and the SHT! Thank you for inspiring others!

    • Crystal Gail Welcome : Jul 18th

      Thanks! It’s been rather rainy, yet a joyful experience thus far!

  • Ross E Hyde : Jul 18th


    Started reading thetrek.com following the startribune article. Been wanting to do more hiking on the trail but something gets in the way (many to young kids!). Your story is inspirational. All the best on the trail.


    • Crystal Gail Welcome : Jul 22nd

      Thanks Ross! You know I’ve seen a lot of family with small children on the trail (usually close to major parks or trailheads). Maybe a day hike is in your future!


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