It is with both gratitude and well wishes that we say Happy Trails to our friend and colleague, Jaron Cramer (Development and Communications Director: 2018-2021).
Jaron was a transplant to Duluth, MN from his native home in the foothills of the Cascades in Seattle, WA when he joined the SHTA in 2018. While he wasn’t a Minnesota native, he embodied Minnesota Nice and was committed since day one to the enhancement and protection of the Trail. While he was dedicated to ensuring trail users would Leave No Trace, it’s apparent that he’s left an impact on the Trail and the Association - and like many of you, the Trail and North Shore has left its mark on him as well. For Jaron’s last day we decided to have a little fun and put Jaron through a “very public exit interview.” Here are a few of the highlights.
What is the most “Minnesota” thing about you now? How have you been changed?
"Resilience. It’s an art I’ve learned from fellow Minnesotans, and it has defined my time Up North. It’s a thread woven into the fabric of the culture, and, at least from my perspective, it is derived from the reality of living in such close contact with the rugged, diverse, and remarkable lands and waters. To endure the harshness of winter (and second and third winters), to withstand the two-month barrage of mosquitos, to ski uphill and climb a mountain’s worth of elevation between 600 and 1800 feet above sea level -- it all requires a certain level of fortitude."
What part of the Trail did you particularly connect with?
"Ely’s Peak was my very first hike in Northern Minnesota, when I came to visit my girlfriend before I was hired. From Grand Portage Trailhead (near Jay Cooke State Park) to the Lakewalk is special to me, as it was host to several trail races that pushed me to my limits, but rewarded me with the long descent from Enger Tower to give that finish line boost. I also had the pleasure of joining the NMTC folks on Wednesday nights each June to weed whip a few of those sections, so I developed a pretty clear mental image of every root, rock, and piece of rebar exposed in those miles."
While Jaron certainly left his trace on the Trail, his final request was to encourage you not to! To learn more about how you can Leave No Trace on the Trail, please visit the following page: LNT on the SHT