MINNEAPOLIS - If we are talking epic backpack trips, people say Glacier or Yellowstone or Yosemite, maybe the Rockies. And why not? It’s all stunning America. But one Minnesota mountaineer is wondering why Minnesota isn't thrown into that convo a little more?
“You don't have to go somewhere big like out West or to the arctic or the Himalayas to do a massive expedition,” said Steve Schreader. “You can do one right here in Minnesota.”
Now one might think ‘Is he getting paid to say that? Is he a secret weapon for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce or what?’
Steve Schreader happens to be A: in love with outdoor travel B: in love with Minnesota and C: just a smidge crazy.
“To do a grand expedition like this I think you have to be a little nuts,” said Schreader.
Starting Monday, August 6th, he will embark on a bucket list travel expedition he calls the “Ode to Minnesota.”
It’s a trip in the making for the last eight years.
Here’s the route:
Starting at his St. Paul house, Shreader, a friend, and his dog, Cinna, will bike (Cinna has a trailer) to International Falls (340 miles).
They will continue by canoe from International Falls along the US-Canada border down what’s known as the Voyager’s Highway until they reach grand Portage at Lake Superior (about 250 miles)
Backpack the Superior Hiking Trail to Duluth (303 miles).
Switch back over to bikes and travel from Duluth back to Schreader’s house in St. Paul (about 200 miles).
More than 1100 miles, in about 2 months by peddle, by canoe or on foot.
Word of Schreader’s personal Iliad has spread. Magazine articles, Minnesota-made biking, hiking and portaging equipment sponsors have backed him with gear, and Adventure Minnesota Films will be shooting a documentary of the trip.
“I think this trip in particular highlights what makes Minnesota, Minnesota,” said Schreader.
Again, he's not trying to market Minnesota, as much as he is trying to inspire Minnesotans.
Because sometimes you got to go out—and or some people, way out—to see what you got within.
“I go on this grand expedition. I have all these plans. But things are going to change. I just have to roll with them and persevere, otherwise I'm not going to persevere at the end.
You can follow Schreader’s journey through his Facebook page “Ode 2 Minnesota.”