Michelle Schroeder, Backpacking Instructor And Guide

By Bob Timmons
Star Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Bob Timmons of the Star Tribune sits down with Michelle Schroeder, who owns and operates “Backpack the Trails LLC.”  Schroeder guides and mentors first-time backpackers, and also helps plan longer hikes for more experienced backpackers. 

Star Tribune

I just finished “Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, And Why” by Laurence Gonzales. A friend of mine who is at McMurdo Station in Antarctica sent it. He is also a backpacking guide and thought it would be a good read for a fellow trail junkie. The book describes how, despite having extensive outdoor experience, people can suddenly find themselves in dangerous, intractable situations. Sometimes the cause is a person relying too much on prior patterns and missing critical cues, or their instinct compels them to do the opposite of what they should do. The book is a good reminder to always remain humble in the outdoors and to try to always see situations with fresh eyes.

A couple of weeks ago I finished the incredibly beautiful Border Route Trail, and I am completely smitten. At 65 miles, it is a perfectly manageable distance. The trail is marvelously remote, exquisitely quiet, and has killer views from atop stunning palisades. It is breathtaking. And it’s right here in Minnesota!

After my trip, I did some research and reached out to the Border Route Trail Association board to see if they could use my experience and insight. It’s Minnesota’s best-kept secret, and I can’t wait to go back.

I thrive on being social and adore the local arts and food scene here, but I have recently spent most of my time on the road and working to get my business off the ground. My travels included a trip to a crown jewel of the national park system: the Grand Canyon, which puts on nature’s best show at sunrise and sunset. I am looking forward to sharing the Grand Canyon with my clients this spring, as well as the astounding Lost Coast in California, a trail that requires tide charts to cross, and taking clients by floatplane to Isle Royale. At least my time on the road hasn’t been boring!

Guy Raz’s “How I Built This” podcast about entrepreneurs on National Public Radio is my go-to. As a new business owner, it can be an intense ride. There are lots of ups and downs, heaps of steep learning, with so much experience to gain on the road to success. I find it stressful but also all of it absolutely thrilling. I am grateful that I am able to normalize my experience by listening to this podcast. Thank you, Guy Raz.

I just finished a full bathroom remodel that I did myself, all the way down to the boards. It took me a year and a half, but I am very happy with the results.

As for travels, I have been on the road a lot this summer. I recently drove from Minnesota to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to cover the Hermit Loop Trail. Commercial operators are required to cover the same section of trail twice before applying for a permit, so it was a fun excuse to hit the trail and challenge myself again in a rugged, desert environment. I also am planning to scout out the Wind River Range and the Tetons in Wyoming next summer so that I can offer those trips in 2021. I am really looking forward to a fun season.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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