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Kekekabic Trail Guide Needs Revision

Reviewing: Martin Kubik Kekekabic Trail Guide  |  Rating:
Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Travel Gear & Planning Expertise:
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This is the only printed guide to the Kekekabic Trail, but it was written before the big blowdown of 2000, and before the Ham Lake Fire. It is better than no information, but it is not a reliable guide at all any more.

This past spring, three friends and I hiked the northern Minnesota Arrowhead on the North Country National Scenic Trail. This includes the northern end of the Superior Hiking Trail, the Border Route and the Kekekabic Trail through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Affectionately known as “the Kek, ” a lot of people seriously avoid hiking this section because between the huge blowdown in 2000, the Cavity Lake fire, and the Ham Lake fire in 2007, it has become a serious challenge to negotiate. There has been a lot of work done by volunteers to reopen the trail. In fact, I went on one such trip, and you can read about that under Adventure Travel in American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacations.

Anyway, this guide was written in 1996 by Martin Kubik. It describes the 38-mile Kekekabic Trail that runs roughly from the Gunflint Trail (a road) west to Fernberg Road, 19 miles east of Ely, Minnesota.

The guide includes sections of 1:24000 topo maps with the trail marked on it. Despite the many natural disasters and the changes that can happen to any trail, it is still fairly accurate. We did find that a few of the campsites are not in the same places as noted in the book.

Several people have gotten badly lost in recent years on this trail. Our experience was pretty good. We never got lost at all. We used both the maps from this guide, and the Mackenzie maps of the BWCAW. In fact there were a number of other people hiking the trail this year. And of course the more people who hike it, the easier it will be to follow.

I would say that this book is worth having, in light of the fact that there isn’t any other, as a base reference. However, in addition, one should be sure to check the recently begun NCT Wiki Trail Guide. This can be updated by anyone who has current information about the trail.

A revision of the Kekekabic Trail Guide is really needed for those who are not experienced hikers and are not comfortable with guides that may contain outdated information.

It can also be purchased from the Kekekabic Trail Club