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Superior Hiking Trail Summit Challenge takes hikers to new heights

Oct 09, 2020 06:01AM ● By Editor

Photo: KBJR-TV

By Bonney Bowman of KBJR-TV - October 8, 2020

Since the start of the pandemic, many of us have been spending more time outdoors.

The Superior Hiking Trail Association started a new challenge, taking people to some of their most scenic spots.

"More than ever, folks are looking for something to do outdoors," said Lisa Luokkala, the Executive Director of the Superior Hiking Trail Association.

The SHTA normally does guided hikes, but scrapped those this year due to the pandemic. Instead, the Summit Challenge was born. The SHTA challenged people to hike to 12 different summits, scattered across 300 miles of trail.

"Sometimes having a goal in mind inspires people and connects people," said Luokkala.

And connect people, it did. I'm doing the Summit Challenge, and on my first hike I met Zach Johns.

Then, weeks later, I bumped into him twice on two separate hikes in Grand Marais.

"It was so cool when we ran into you three times in three different places," said Johns.

He's an avid hiker who says this challenge took him to parts of the trail he hadn't visited in decades.

"I really enjoyed the fact of getting out to places that I haven't been in a long time and remembering how cool they were," said Johns. "I wouldn't have gone back to Railroad Vista if that wouldn't have been part of the challenge."

Railroad Vista is one of the summits on the trail, which stretches from the border with Wisconsin to the border with Canada. You can find guide maps to the summits online and look for blue marks on the trees leading the way.

"Look for the blue blaze," said Luokkala. "We've worked really, really hard to mark the trail and keep people safe."

Dogs are allowed on the Superior Hiking Trail, but they must be leashed.

You have until October 31st to complete the Summit Challenge.

For more information on the challenge, click here.

To watch a video version of this report and see more outdoors reporting, follow this link to the KBJR-TV website.

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