Thursday, October 22, 2009
Definitely NOT one of America's Best
Just in from the "Why Local News is Best" department, this stunning endorsement by Backpacker Magazine. In their search for the best 100 dayhikes in America, they looked at trails all around Minnesota and found...a road.
I picked up a copy of Backpacker at the public library, with a stunning cover photo of a narrow slot canyon and the big headline "America's Best Dayhikes." I had to know: of all the great dayhikes on the North Shore, which would the editors of this reputable publication pick? I've been hiking all over the North Shore this year, picking out 50 of the best trails. There had to be some agreement in this, right?
Paging through the article, I found trails I knew...in other states. The Hoh River Trail and the Olympic Coast, in Olympic National Park, are terrific. I've been to the top of Half Dome. I've done the Highline Trail in Glacier and hiked the Syncline Loop in Canyonlands.
And, with all these great trails, the only trail on the North Shore to make the list...is a spur trail of the Superior Hiking Trail from Hartley to Hawk Ridge. Half of which is on roads.
I don't think anyone from the magazine actually came and hiked this trail. I think they read about it online. Their directions are inaccurate. They imagine hikers on this trail surrounded by migrating hawks, but on this route you'd see mostly only chickadees.
I live here, I hike a lot, and I've never hiked this trail myself. The actual trails up on top of Hawk Ridge are really cool, with great views and alternate migration viewing spots.
Yes, I'm doing just what Backpacker did. I'm passing judgment on a trail that I've never actually hiked. But I know there are way better hikes around here than this one. I helped to scout the route, and I know it's okay but not great.
Want good information about local trails? Hiking the North Shore will be out next spring...and it's based on real research by a real person on the real trails. Local news is best.