The SHT has two non-section hikes: The traditional one starts at Martin Road Trailhead and is about 260 miles long. The total thru-hike starts at Wild Valley Road Trailhead and is about 310 miles long.
Whether northbound or southbound (NOBO/SOBO) makes no difference, I’m a NOBO total thru-hiker.
Backpackers often chose the traditional option because the total thru-hike goes through Duluth, and backcountry campsites are strictly prohibited inside city limits.
Unlike the PCT, people along the SHT aren’t familiar with trail angels (trail angels help hikers along their way).
I have met many SHT trail angels who have helped me in various ways:
- Meeting me on the trail
- Taking me to the store
- Dropping me off at the trailhead
- Showing up to ensure safe passage through a non-friendly private section
- Teaching me how to interpret the multiuse trail signs
- Making me dinner, and
- Allowing me to camp out in their yard
But my trail angels have also been social justice advocates. They have been educating themselves on my hike. They scouted my route beforehand, demonstrated alongside me, and used social media to promote my journey and make others aware.
A plethora of people organized for me to hike the 50 miles thru Duluth.
What would it take to bring a community together to help get young people to the same trailhead for a day hike? Or for a neighbor to set up a few tents in their yard for a backyard camp out?
I made it out of the city of Duluth!