Hitting my Stride on the SHT

From Grand Marais, I began my long trek to my next resupply stop in Two Harbors.

I initially planned to stop in both Schroeder and Beaver Bay but quickly changed my mind after my first stop. The PCT is such a well known trail, it was easy to get in and out of town for resupplies. While the SHT is well known among north shore locals, the towns the trail crosses tend to be full of tourists who look at backpackers in the same way they do the homeless. Needless to say, getting hitches is a little harder.

The trail was full of challenges the past few days, both mental and physical. The physical challenges manifested itself in steep, slippery hills, overgrown sections, and hot, humid days. Almost always though, the views were well worth the effort. Beautiful landscapes, wide sweeping views, long ridge lines walks; the trail continued to provide after every turn.

The mental challenges were a little harder to overcome. Walking alone day after day is a totally different experience then walking with my trail family, and I found myself feeling really lonely. I questioned whether I wanted to be out here each day, trying to convince myself I had already accomplished what I came out to do.

I got some trail magic around day six in the form of a visit from my mother-in-law, Julie. That, in addition to finally starting to hit my stride, immediately helped me overcome the mental challenges I had been facing.

The last few days, I’ve relished in the feeling of empowerment. Whenever I meet other people and tell them what I’m doing, a look of amazement flashes across their face. I’ve been called a badass on more then one occasion, one of my favorite responses yet. I didn’t feel this way about myself the first few days but as I’ve grown stronger, both mentally and physically, I’ve began to feel proud of myself. To be honest, when I started this trek I questioned whether I would have the strength to finish. I’ve never been alone for this long and I know how heavily I rely on the companionship of others. Day after day, I’ve proved myself wrong, helping me realize how strong and capable I truly am. It’s a wonderful feeling and one I hope I can maintain well after this hike.

In general, things are really good. There’s some minor pain as always, but I’m continuing to plug along and feel stronger with each day. I’m grateful for this experience and so fortunate to be able to pursue the passion I love.

I’m taking a night off in Two Harbors to dry (lots of rain the last few days) and let my feet heal. I’ll be back on trail tomorrow with just five days to go to the southern terminus. Until then, happy trails!

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