Superior Hiking Trail Day 16: The End

The end is just the beginning. 

Day 16

Wednesday June 1, 2016
Jay Cooke State Park to The End
5.9 Superior Hiking Trail Miles

jay cooke state park swinging bridge
Swinging Bridge

I’ve crossed the Jay Cooke State Park Swinging Bridge many times, but today is different. For two weeks, I’ve used the Swinging Bridge to visual the end of my journey. But today it marks the beginning of the end. 

It is a cool, foggy, and quiet morning at Jay Cooke State Park. It’s hard to believe that in just six miles I will have accomplished something that I have wanted to do for nearly a decade. 

I’m about a mile, mile and a half from the end of my two week, 300+ mile journey. It was not by design, but having a short six mile day at the end my trek has provided an opportunity to reflect. I’ve experienced the range of emotions on this thru-hike. I wrote about being in hell. I wrote about being in paradise. There have been easy days. There have been hard days. 

I’ve found myself thinking about my mom a lot. While this hike doesn’t make up for her not being here anymore, it has helped me. 

And finally, I’m feeling an immense satisfaction. This is after all, my trail. This is where I took my wife on her first backpacking trek, and where I went on my first solo overnighter. This is where I became an ultralight backpacker. This is where I ran my first ultra marathon. This is where I went from a casual hiker to a…whatever I am now. 

I wish I had a great epiphany to end on, but I don’t. All I know is that I love this trail more now than I did before.

This adventure will come to a close within the hour, but right now, I hike on. 

The Superior Hiking Trail

The Superior Hiking Trail follows the rocky ridge line of Lake Superior’s North Shore in Minnesota. The trail stretches over 300 miles from the Canadian border to the Wisconsin border south of Duluth. The Superior Hiking Trail is known for sweeping views of Lake Superior, excellent trail and camp conditions, ample wildlife, and majestic waterfalls.

The Superior Hiking Trail has been lauded by many, including National Geographic, who called it, “The best long hike in the country between the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail.”

SHT Thru-Hike Field Journals

Field journals from my May 2016 thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail. Join me for the fun and misery!



Dave is a nomad, avid hiker, and ultralight backpacker. He covers thousands of miles each year on foot, primarily in North America. You can find him traversing the desert, backpacking in the mountains, or running your local trails.