Researchers Discover “Fountain of Youth” on the SHT

April 1, 2020

(Two Harbors, Minn.) Last fall, a group of researchers from the College of Trail Medicine launched a major study on the Superior Hiking Trail, a world-class natural footpath along Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, to explore why so many users of the Trail appear to remain so youthful and healthy compared to non-trail users. 

Initially, researchers hypothesized that these hikers, runners, and backpackers were benefiting from the well-documented health effects of time spent in nature, vigorous exercise, and moments of “awe” when visiting the many natural wonders along the Trail. But several months into the study, researchers discovered a surprising cause of the age-defying results observed by SHT users: drinking beaver pond water. 

Beaver ponds are a’plenty on the popular SHT. 

Described by one scientist as a veritable “Fountain of Youth” tonic, trail users have long enjoyed drinking water from beaver ponds along the SHT, which are a common source of hydration for users of the Trail’s 94 backcountry campsites. 

“We’ve always known enjoying the SHT kept people looking young and feeling great,” said SHTA trail development director Jo Swanson. “But we never thought it was from drinking gallons of beaver pond water over the course of many years of trail use.” 

Beaver Pond Campsite, near Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, features, you guessed it, a beaver pond for its water source. 

While the Association was initially shocked by the study’s results, their team quickly began to develop production capacities to share the incredible, age-defying drink with the world.

“We’ve already contracted with Beaver Bottling Bros. out of Beaver Bay to begin to bring this beneficial beverage to the masses.” said SHTA development and communications director Jaron Cramer. “We’re calling it ‘Hydra-pond’, and we’re confident sales will boost the Association’s funding to power trail renewal and maintenance for decades to come.” Cramer indicated that production of the new drink was “a watershed moment for the SHTA.”

How exactly beaver pond water turns back the aging clock remains a mystery to authors of the study, who suggested more studies are needed to ensure the safety and efficacy of the miracle tonic. Local officials, commenting off the record, made clear that all trail users should continue to filter and treat any water sourced from the rivers, lakes, and, yes, beaver ponds along the Trail to ensure it is safe to drink. 

Happy April 1st from the SHTA team!