Remembering Bob Johnson, the “Minnesota Hiking Viking”

Bob “Minnesota Hiking Viking” Johnson passed away on May 22, 2021. Bob’s love of the trail ran deep. His fervent wish was to share the joy he found on the trail and to make it as accessible as possible to everyone.

Bob Johnson on the trail. Photo courtesy of the Johnson family.

He gave generously to a variety of projects that benefited, and will continue to benefit, trail users for years to come. Bob liked to work quietly in the background. He believed in “paying it forward,” knowing that his generosity would in turn inspire similar actions.

In 2018, Bob sponsored a renovation of the PCT Welcome Center at Big Lake Youth Camp in Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. During Bob’s 2015 southbound section hike of Oregon, he received a little unexpected trail magic from a camp staffer during a difficult dry section on a hot day. Bob wanted to give back for the trail magic he received, donating much of the money that it took to renovate the welcome center at the summer camp. Camp director Les Zollbrecht said the inspiration and energy Bob put into the center was a great asset to both the camp and the PCT.

Bob called the PCT a national treasure and the experience of hiking it character building and spirit renewing. His generosity and kindness benefited many, and we’ll miss him.

Note: Big Lake Youth Camp made the difficult decision to close the camp to PCT hikers during the 2021 season. They will also not be accepting any resupply packages. The decision was made to prioritize the health and safety of the campers. We hope the PCT Welcome Center will be back in 2022.

Author: PCTA Staff

The mission of the Pacific Crest Trail Association is to protect, preserve and promote the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail as a world-class experience for hikers and equestrians, and for all the values provided by wild and scenic lands.