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New Book: The Superior Hiking Trail Story

Jun 07, 2020 10:49AM ● By Editor
The Book Cover.  Image:

By C.L. Sill from The Country Messenger - [email protected] - June 7, 2920

Local author and wildlife photographer Rudi Hargesheimer held a COVID-19 approved seminar the evening of April 30 to speak about his newly published book, ‘The Superior Hiking Trail Story.’ 

Hargesheimer was originally planning on hosting an in-person event to speak about the book, but resorted to a Zoom conference seminar in light of the current pandemic. A longtime Marine resident, Hargesheimer spoke about what inspired him to write the book as well as a brief history of the Superior Hiking trail. 

The 310-mile long trail parallels U.S. Highway 61 from Duluth, Minn., to the Canadian border. It generally follows the high ground above Lake Superior, providing some spectacular views of Northen Minnesota along the way. 

The trail was originally proposed in 1986. 

“This small group of people had formed a group called the Superior Hiking Trail Association,” he said. “It consisted of parks people, forest service people, resort people and just common interest hikers that wanted to see the best of the North Shore.” 

The association asked for and received just over $400,000 from the legislative commission on Minnesota resources to get the trail started. When Hargesheimer stumbled across a sign for the trail the same year the association began, he’d already hiked most every trail in Northern Minnesota. He owned a cabin near Split Rock lighthouse on the North Shore and spent extensive time expoloring the area. 

“I wandered every trail, every shoreline, every river and every ridgetop taking nature photos,” he said. “(The sign) intrigued me, because I thought I had really known everything and was the expert on the North Shore, but this was new.” 

Hargesheimer became an active member of the Superior Hiking Trail Association and has worked with them to build and improve the trail for over 30 years. 

The book is much more of a love letter to the trail than an informational guide, although there is very detailed information on the trail included in the text. 

“It tries to tell the story of the trail through multiple tales and photos,” he said. “And what we in the trail association members call ‘sentiments from the heart.’” 

He was inspired to write the book in part by a vistors’ logbook he found on the trail during a hike. He sat down on a rock and read the book cover-to-cover, sifting through notes and memories left by those on the trail. 

“Last week a friend asked me why I enjoy the outdoors so much,” read one entry. “I was surprised and did not know how to respond. A large black bear had shared the trail with me and I spent an hour last night watching two butterflies on my boots while sipping a cup of hot tea near the Poplar River — The answer lies in there somewhere.” 

Hargesheimer selected the best quotes from this logbook, as well as numerous others that reside along the Superior Trail, and collected them over time. He intertwined those quotes with 400 photographs he took on the trail to complete the book. 

“The quotes became the glue that held the book together,” he said. 

Hargesheimer had enough quotes and photographs to finish the book by the early 00s, but it wasn’t until two years ago that his longtime partner Judy Stern urged him to actually put the book together. 

“She encouraged me, nay, pushed me to get off my butt and put those quotes to work,” he said. “My book’s been in the making for 30-some years, and this spring I finally had it done and ready for print.” 

The book was printed just as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Coronavirus has thrown a wrench in pretty much all of Hargesheimer’s plans for the release of the book. 

“All of my introductory book signing events at bookstores, parks and through the Superior Hiking Trail Association have been cancelled,” he said. 

The book will eventually be available at various small bookstores and other local retail outlets in Minnesota, but will not be for sale on Amazon or any other ‘big box’ stores. As of now, the Marine General Store is the only retail location carrying the book. 

The seminar comes at a time when many Minnesotans are looking for any excuse to get outside. But Hargesheimer said as much as local residents may want to make the journey to the Superior Hiking Trail, it’s not wise right now. COVID-19 has put that kind of trip — just like Hargesheimer’s book release and so many other things — on hold indefinitely. 

“The locals don’t want us up there,” he said. “So far there’s zero COVID-19 cases in Lake and Cook County, and they want to keep it that way.” 

The Superior Hiking Trail Story, by Rudi Hargesheimer (2020). 

From no Trail at all in 1986 to 310 miles in length now; this is the story of the "second best long trail in the nation" told with tales from volunteers, original trail blazers and dreamers of grandeur. Hikers' "Sentiments from the Heart" quotes and photos by Rudi Hargesheimer, a former Superior Hiking Trail Association Board President, fill the pages with beauty. 

The stories include triumphs and failures - many of which are unknown to today's hikers. Written for anyone who loves the Lake Superior North Shore and the Superior Hiking Trail.

Hardcover, 12 X 10, 160 pages, hundreds of four color photos.

About the author (2020)

Rudi Hargesheimer is a nature photographer and longtime Superior Hiking Trail enthusiast. He served twelve years on the Superior Hiking Trail Association BOD, six of those as President. His travels throughout the world have led him to the conclusion that the Minnesota Lake Superior North Shore is the best and most beautiful place on earth. Rudi's business is North Shore Photo Art. He also writes for MN Trails Magazine and is an award winning art fair photographer.

Visit Rudi's website at:

To read the orignal review and see related stories, follow this link to The Country Messenger website.

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