May 27, 2008 at 8:30 am #1229183
if anyone is thinking of hiking the trail in may, give it up. i have tried for 3 years and have had bad weather memorial weekend every time. i did get in a 6 hr. hike with full gear the one nice day (sat.),but did not camp on the trail. ended up going to local campground, camped sat.night, then left because of bad weather on sunday. i will try and go july or aug….May 27, 2008 at 8:53 am #1435114
That's too bad you had rotten luck, Victoria. I didn't think I was going to be able to get out this weekend but plans changed and I was able to head up the Shore on Friday night. I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights on the SHT this weekend putting in around twenty-five miles. Met some good folks, hiked with an unexpected friend and celebrated my girlfriend's birthday in the outdoors as well.
The trail was in great shape, with most of the mud having dried out now. A bit of rain on Monday made for a wet take-down but nothing my rain jacket and Tilley hat couldn't handle.
I thru-hiked the trail in May, 2005 and hold some of my fondest memories from that event. I personally suggest this time of year as the time TO hike the SHT since there are less bugs, better views and less traffic. To each their own I guess.May 27, 2008 at 9:39 am #1435124
ok,sam. so have you ever hiked in july or aug? i'm thinking end of aug. might not be to bad for bugs. i could be wrong. i guess, i'm more concerned with the weather, as i have not had good luck in may…..May 27, 2008 at 10:15 am #1435137
Vicki: Once the peak skeeter population passes (varies with each year's climate) each succeeding week generally sees fewer biting insect's than the one before. Late July better than early, August better than July, Late August better than early August.
Sam: that photo … Poplar River valley?May 27, 2008 at 7:43 pm #1435232
Victoria – If weather is your biggest concern (and I understand your point of view, as miserable weather is tough to deal with on the trail) then you'll be much happier with July and August conditions. The temps will be warm but you will have considerably less rain and the bugs will be at a minimum as well.
Jim – You're good ; ) It was taken at that great overlook where the trail almost wraps back on itself just before heading downhill to Lake Agnes. Chad and I ran into each other on the trail and hiked together for the weekend. Did you get out?May 27, 2008 at 7:43 pm #1435233
I have been backpacking the SHT in May for years. Usually 3-4 nights out, and yes, it does rain sometimes, but hey, that's just part of the experience. This past weekend was awesome, we just came out this morning and the only misty day was yesterday. We lucked out with no rain setting up camp and breaking camp. It did storm Saturday night, but it was dry by morning. The trail was incredible, a little muddy in sections, but overall pretty good. We started in Oberg Mtn. and ended up in Cascade; the forest was covered with many blooming wild flowers and there was such a variety of birds throughout the trek. As soon as the snow is gone I'm out there. Mosquitoes or not! There is always something wonderful any time of the year!
Mary D. NollMay 27, 2008 at 8:39 pm #1435252
Jim – You're good
There aren't too many wide open river views on the trail. That segment was my first SHT experience and remains my favorite. I've walked it 4, maybe 5 times, most recently last October, right after all the rain. Portions of the trail were IN the Poplar River that weekend.May 27, 2008 at 10:56 pm #1435274
Roleigh MartinBPL Member
@marti124Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Sam, what segment of the SHT did you do? I too was on the SHT this weekend (Silver Creek to Castle Danger Rd section), and seeing how bad the weather was Sunday, I drove back to the Twin Cities and hiked Afton State Park Sunday. I'm surprised you did not mention encountering rain on Sunday (you mentioned only Monday). Monday was dry all day (but cloudy) at Afton.
One question I have for SHT hikers — if it rains on the trail like it did this last Sunday for many in Minnesota, does the trail become muddy and slippery? I've been spoiled by only hiking the High Sierra and the soil is too hard to become muddy and slippery in the late July/August time period I've encountered the last 8 years. There were hills on the SHT that were they muddy would have been a challenge hiking. Not as much use of switchbacks on the SHT as is the case with the High Sierra Trail in SEKI.May 28, 2008 at 7:28 am #1435300
You'll encounter a variety of soils on the SHT, some will be slippery when wet but many handle water well. I think the most treacherous footing I've encountered was coming off Hellacious Overlook with wet leaves on rock and clay mud in late Oct.
And then there are cedar roots …. I love being in cedar groves but a wet root can be like wet ice.May 28, 2008 at 7:36 am #1435303
Hiking poles are a blessing for mud and slippery sections. My friends do not use them and under the wet & slippery conditions they wish they had them:-)
MaryMay 28, 2008 at 8:28 am #1435318
Hiking poles are a blessing for mud and slippery sections.
That descent from Hellacious Overlook was what convinced me to try those wussie sticks. Took a couple days to get comfortable with them but now I won't leave a trailhead without them.May 28, 2008 at 9:52 am #1435339
thankyou roleigh. i thought i was the only one that encounted bad weather. maybe inland was better on sunday, but i stayed at the campground and i talked to a few people who told me bad weather was on the way. i have been out on the trails at isle royal by myself when bad storms blew.. needless to say i was very afraid. i hiked from silver creek to first trailhead on sat. and hearing bad weather was coming realized the trail would be dangerous going back as sections where very trecherous, so caught shuttle back to my car and camped at gosseberry. vickyMay 28, 2008 at 11:41 am #1435359
For those who asked, my itinerary was as follows:
Fri: Temperance to Springdale Cr. camp (6 miles)
Sat: Springdale Cr. camp to West Lake Agnes camp (16 miles)
Sun: Lake Agnes back to Lutsen (6 miles), followed by a a drive to Caribou Wayside and a hike from there to Horshoe Ridge Camp (4 miles).
I ran into Mary (who is posting to this thread) on the trail and she had an impressive set of ultralight gear including some ULA Equipment and a Stephenson tent.
Mary's classic ultralight tent:
May 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm #1435389
Speaking of impressive equipment, your ULA pack at 14lbs or so is quite enviable! I want my pack to be like yours some day! I am working on it.
It was very nice meeting you, and I hope Sunday was a memorable day.
MaryJun 12, 2008 at 7:28 am #1437980
I am planning an August trip, but I am having a hard time deciding where to start and finish…..any suggestions? I am planning 6 nights on the trail.Jun 13, 2008 at 12:36 pm #1438204
Pete RyanBPL Member
Full report located here: http://www.peteryan.com/2008/06/sht.html
The 3-6" of rain made it a little more of an adventure! :DJun 14, 2008 at 6:59 pm #1438409
Pete, thanks for the awesome read!Jun 15, 2008 at 5:48 am #1438442
I can't think of a 6-7 day stretch of the SHT that would not be very enjoyable. If this were a once in a lifetime SHT trip I might suggest a stretch that included the best of the best but your locale is Mpls so you'll probably get there more than once.
In many (most?) years the Trail Assn posts low water advisories covering August so you might want to avoid stretches that don't include at least one reliable water source per day (I'd prefer more than one). The guide book provides that kind of info … you'll want to use it for planning other trip details anyway.Jun 15, 2008 at 9:52 am #1438461
Richard NisleyBPL Member
@richard295Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Thank you for sharing your excellent trip report with us!
I think one addition would enhance your report as well as other trip reports submitted to this forum. Put your route and campsite waypoints in a shared Google Map. This would allow us to put your pictures and narrative into location perspective. We could zoom into or out of areas of interest. We could also switch back and forth between the topo, satellite, or map views of your trip.
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