Since our Slovenia trip last year, there has been a lot of time devoted to healing. 2022 was a rough year for our knees, and we took a lot of time off from hiking (even just day hiking) to let our knees recover. For SweetPea, who apparently has knees like a 70 year old, that has meant taking time off and then slowly building back to normal hiking. For Beardoh, who had a torn meniscus, that meant having surgery and physical therapy before getting back on the trails. We have both been doing strengthening exercises for our legs to better help support our knees and also taking supplements which should help our joints. The idea that our bodies are aging and getting more fragile is a hard pill for us to swallow. We want to be able to keep hiking for decades to come, so we are trying to put in the work now to make sure that can happen.
In thinking about our plans for 2023, we consciously decided not to plan any big trips. We had thoughts of bike trips or other international hikes, but figured it would be best for us this year, to keep things simple and short.
We did have one trip scheduled for this summer that we did not want to miss. One of our oldest friends, Frank – who was SweetPea’s site mate during Peace Corps, is turning 50 this year and he wanted to do a big trip to celebrate.
The original plan was to hike the JMT, but as the massive amounts of snow accumulated in the Sierras and several key bridges got heavily damaged, we had to scrap that plan. Instead, we decided to hike the Tahoe Rim Trail…definitely a stellar back-up choice.
So, we will be hiking the TRT in August with Frank, his wife (Sonja) and their daughter (Annika). We have been looking forward to this trip, as we love spending time with these folks.
This trip will be our third time on the Tahoe Rim Trail, but our first going in the clock-wise direction (Sometimes a directional change can make a big difference in the feel of a trail). We will also be taking a slightly more relaxed pace, which is always nice on this trail, where there are lots of picturesque vistas to enjoy while taking a break.
We will then make our way to the mid-west for a September hike on the Superior Hiking Trail with our friends, Qball and JJ.
We had always figured that we would end up hiking the SHT at some point, since it is pretty close to where Beardoh’s mom lives. The four of us wanted to do a hike together this summer, and again our Plan A of hiking the Sierras was cancelled. We came up with some alternate options and ended up deciding on the Superior Hiking Trail…just based on length of trail and ease of logistics.
The general vibe of this summer’s plans are “simple and social”. Whenever we spend a good chunk of time with friends on hiking trips, we feel really rejuvenated. There is always a lot of laughter and good stories, and this is something we really cherish. We also want to keep the hikes fairly short this summer, as we get a sense for how our bodies will do back on the trail with full packs. As we do day hikes in preparation for the summer, we are feeling good and hope that our bodies will continue to respond well as our miles increase. We feel like these smaller trails this summer will inform us for what kinds of trips we can take on next year.
Tahoe Rim Trail Stats:
Highest Point on the Trail: 10,338 feet
Concurrent with Pacific Crest Trail for 50 miles
Superior Hiking Trail Stats:
Total of 300 Miles, but most hikers do just 260 to avoid a long walk through the city of Duluth (We’ll do the 260 Miles)
Highest Point on the Trail: 1,829 feet
The trail is marked with blue blazes
Hikers are required to stay at one of the 94 campsites along the trail.