New Novel Set on SHT Benefits the Trail

Erin Soderberg Downing and son Henry on the Superior Hiking Trail in 2021 in the Temperance River gorge. Photo courtesy of Erin Soderberg Downing.
January 25th, 2024

The Superior Hiking Trail is often sought out by artists, photographers, and writers hoping to be inspired by the incredible beauty of the North Shore. Today, we’re excited to announce a new novel for middle-grade readers (ages 8 and older) inspired by a real-life hike on the SHT. Just Keep Walking releases February 6th and benefits the SHTA.

To research her novel, local author Erin Soderberg Downing hiked all 300 miles of the SHT during section and day hikes, and even wrote some of the novel while on the Trail.

Her novel is based on a section hike Erin and her then-13-year-old son, Henry, completed in 2021 – a 100-mile, 2-week hike full of adventure, learning, and bonding. Erin is a member of the SHTA, and is generously contributing 10 percent of the book’s proceeds back to the Trail. Thank you, Erin!

The story

Just Keep Walking is a story of resilience and the restorative power of wilderness and nature.

Two years after her parents’ surprising and painful split, twelve-year-old Jo and her mom set out on a 100-mile hike along Lake Superior’s North Shore – a journey that Jo had always looked forward to experiencing with her dad. It’s not a situation that either of them ever expected to find themselves in, yet here they are with their entire lives stuffed into a pair of thirty-pound packs.

Along the trail, Jo and her mom suffer through aches and pains, scorching heat, and crippling self-doubt. They encounter bears, moose, and other wildlife and meet and collect an assortment of trail friends. Day after day, Jo must battle the incessant worries and doubts that come in and out of her head. But as one obstacle after the next continue to test her strength and ultimate survival, Jo will have to confront her greatest fears head on and learn how to be alone.

What begins as a journey to prove to her father that she and her mom can make it on their own turns into a quest to rediscover their strength, build resilience, and prove that they can survive – both for themselves and for each other. Just Keep Walking can be purchased from Zenith Bookstore, Bookstore at Fitger’s, Red Balloon Bookshop, Wild Rumpus Books, and more. Just Keep Walking is also available online at erinsoderberg.com.

Author Bio

Erin Soderberg Downing grew up exploring the forests, lakes, and trails of Northern Minnesota, and to this day, her best ideas for stories often come to her deep in the woods where she can find plenty of creative space to explore and imagine. She has written more than seventy-five books, including Controlled Burn and The Great Peach Experiment series. Erin currently lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three adventure-loving kids, and two very fluffy dogs.

Interested in attending a reading by Erin? Check out one of these book launch events coming up during February:

Red Balloon Bookshop
Saturday, February 24th 3 p.m.

891 Grand Ave.
St Paul, MN 55105

Ely Folk School hosted by Piragis Books
Monday, February 26th 6-8 p.m.

209 E Sheridan St.
Ely, MN 55731

Bent Paddle Brewing Co. with Zenith Bookstore
Tuesday, February 27th 5-7 p.m.
1832 W Michigan St.
Duluth, MN 55806

For more information, visit erinsoderberg.com.