Superior Hiking Trail’s 30th B-Day Party


SHT logo

SHT- along the N. Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota
Superior Hiking Trail logo- credit to


This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT). A special celebration, dubbed Hike Fest 2016 was held last weekend, May 13-15 at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (WRELC) near Finland, Minnesota, and was attended by over 300 SHT members. Total membership now exceeds 4,600.

The Anniversary/B-Day party was a great get-together of young and old, and offered eight hikes and numerous informative workshops to keep folks busy. A big old-time dance Saturday night, with music provided by Wild Thyme, kept folks on their toes throughout the evening. There was a Silent Auction that helped raise funds for trail maintenance, and the SHT store was open for business. On Sunday afternoon there was opportunity for some exercise for those willing to work on a trail maintenance project to clear a section of nearby trail after winter storms.

I spent time touring the Wolf Ridge ELC, meeting staff and volunteers, and seeing many old SHT friends, while meeting new ones! My grand-kids and their parents have visited WRELC in recent years to participate in multi-day learning stints, so I was looking forward to this first visit. I even had the opportunity to successfully complete the ropes course and fly down the zip line!

The WRELC offers an amazing array of educational learning opportunities for young and old, in areas of energy conservation, renewable energy resources and conversion-technologies, environmental stewardship, outdoor adventures, challenges and teambuilding. If you’re an educator or a business looking for challenging learning opportunities combined with live-in facilities and meeting space, be sure to check out Wolf Ridge ELC. Likewise, if you’re a Scouting organization, or just a large family looking for a get-away opportunity/reunion that will challenge the mind and body, the WRELC just might fill the bill! Check them out?

After driving up to the WRELC facility (located high on a hilltop), one of the first things you’ll see (and probably hear if it’s a windy day) is the 10 kw wind-generator system mounted on a tower about 60′ high, surrounded by a tracking photovoltaic array and an impressive array of stationary photovoltaic panels. There was a flat-plate domestic hot water solar panel system on one of the dorms, and numerous less-conspicuous energy and water conservation innovations scattered throughout the development. If you have an interest in such options the folks at WRELC can help you learn and evaluate your potential options from both a technical and an economic perspective.

And now for a few photos:


Wolf Ridge ELC Science Center

Wolf Ridge ELC Science Center


wind generator and photovoltaic array

10kw wind generator and fixed photovoltaic array


Tracking photovoltaic array

Tracking photovoltaic array



SHT 30 Year Anniversary

SHT 30 Year Anniversary


Wolf Ridge East Dorm

Wolf Ridge ELC East Dorm


Wolf Ridge ELC West Dorm

Wolf Ridge ELC West Dorm


Wolf Ridge Classroom Bldg.

Wolf Ridge ELC Classroom Bldg.



Wolf Ridge Office

Wolf Ridge ELC Office


Wolf Ridge Dining Hall

Wolf Ridge ELC Dining Hall


WRELC Ropes Course

WRELC Ropes Course


WRELC zip line

WRELC zip line


The Superior Hiking Trail’s last short section is currently being completed on the south end near the Minnesota border with Wisconsin, where it will connect with the North Country Trail.

Note- I have no affiliation with any organizations mentioned herein, except for my annual membership with the Superior Hiking Trail Association, and I receive no pecuniary gain, real or in-kind, from any organizations mentioned above.


About Mike Hohmann

I did lots of camping/hiking as a kid in the Scouts, and I still strive to 'be prepared.' After high school, I got bored with more school and enlisted in the Army Corps. of Engineers, doing two tours in Vietnam. Post military, I completed BS and MBA degrees and spent several decades with Corporate America, working mostly in the areas of conventional and renewable energy. I also spent over a decade as a self-employed small business consultant in marketing and finance. As a young family man with a wife and two kids, we spent many vacations camping and hiking in northern Minnesota. I spent additional long weekends fishing the rivers and camping/hiking along the North Shore of Lake Superior. I retired early and hit the trails hard-- in the lower-48, Alaska, and western Canada. These days I backpack, car-camp and day-hike, go snowshoeing, and try to get the grand-kids out to teach them the ways of the trail. Other interests include American Revolutionary War and Civil War history, 19th and 20th century firearms, Native American history; business and macroeconomics. I'm a recently-licensed amateur (Ham) radio operator, and I look forward to many radio-related adventures in coming months. Life is good! Member, Superior Hiking Trail Association; Member, Appalachian Mountain Club; Member, REI; Member, ARRL- Amateur Radio Relay League, the National Assoc. for Amateur Radio; Twin Cities Metro Skywarn Spotter; Twin City FM Club; Richfield Amateur Radio Club; QRP ARCI, Low-Power Amateur Radio Club International; Honorary Member, Toronto QRP Society; Life Member, National Rifle Association
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2 Responses to Superior Hiking Trail’s 30th B-Day Party

  1. Chris Warren says:

    Looks like a great road trip! I particularly like the solar farm and zip line.

    • Mike Hohmann says:

      Just a 4-day weekend on the Superior North Shore, Chris. But it was definitely fun, and I did enjoy touring the Wolf-Ridge ELC. They have quite a facility. I also enjoyed the ropes/wires and zip line… but found my knees a bit shaky for ten minutes afterward… not as agile as I once was… maybe all I needed was to do it again a few times… but I didn’t!

      Surprisingly, I looked up at the wind generator and pegged it correctly at 10 kw. Decades ago I helped rebuild some old Jacobs wind generators out in Michigan- I think they were 3.5 kws. I also led a team designing and building an on-farm methane digestor from available parts in the local, rural hardware/farm supply shop. It produced methane gas from ag. wastes in a single-stage 300-400 gallon plastic fertilizer tank, plumbing was off the shelf, and we built a wind system out of several length-wise halves of 55 gallon drums fitted on a pole to slowly agitate the slurry mixture. The gas was stored under an inverted tank in a nearby pond and was used to heat hot water in the barn. The digested slurry went on the fields. Wolf-Ridge didn’t have anything like that, but I suggested they consider a modern version for their facility.

      Good to hear from you. Don’t be a stranger. 😉

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