Monday May 02, 2005

Update 3 from a AT through hiker

The latest update from my friend through hiking the AT

Update 3:

Camping in snow is not. For those of you who thought I was crazy before I left for this trip, just wait, you'll have to increase the craziness factor just a bit! Oh where to start this tale, I guess at the beginning, a magical little town called Hot Springs, North Carolina. It seems like so long ago when I was there, but it's been awhile since i've found internet access. Anyway, I was camped somewhere on the way to the top of Bluff mtn, with about 10 miles to go to Hot Springs. So the next day I wake up and start hiking, the weather is nice, a little cloudy, but not too bad. I get about 2 miles from town (i can see the town as i'm hiking down the mtn) and the clouds get a little darker, then the thunder starts booming and lightning starts a crackling, so i'm thinking that i'd better hurry up and get into town. A few minutes later it starts raining, not a big deal, i've certainly hiked in rain before, it's annoying being that close to town when it starts, but i can manage. Well, mother nature wasn't done with me yet, a little while later, it comes... hail. Dime to nickel sized hail. It hurt! I was going to stop and take a picture, but i was too busy sprinting down the hill, i don't think you've ever seen a white boy run down a mountain as fast as I did. If i was a local i would've been sitting on my porch with a pair of binoculars just watching the hikers go. Now that would've been entertainment! If i'd only left camp 30 minutes earlier i could've been sitting in a bar, holding a drink, going "Oh, those poor bastards, hiking through a hail storm". Instead I was one of those poor bastards. Of course, as soon as i get to the bottom of the mtn, it all stops. Grrrrrrrr, anyway, so i get into town and find a place to camp for the night, run a few errands (just normal town stuff) and then head over to the bar for a much needed drink. I pull up and ask for a rum and coke. "Sorry, we don't serve liquor, if y'all want that you'll have to go to Tennessee." Oh the pain. No rum, no vodka, no gin, no tequila. It was a sad, sad day in Hot Springs. Luckily it wasn't a dry county, they still sold beer, but rather annoyed, I left the bar and went to the local convenience store with a couple of buddies to get some beer. Well, they got beer, i went to the good stuff... Boone's. Oh yes, i have no shame, i drank Boone's and loved it. It's like drinking candy! Yes, it certainly was a high-class night, sitting around a tent, drinking Boone's straight out of the bottle. And that was friday. This was TrailFest weekend, and saturday was suppose to be the big day, so I woke up all excited, and how to put this mildly... it sucked. a lot. It rained all day, so the hikers who were lucky enough to get hotel rooms were hidden away waiting for the the rain to leave and the rest of us were just trying to find warm places to hang out in. They did have music, different bands played every 45 mins or so, but it was all bluegrass and old-time country stuff. Kinda interesting, but not stuff that i'd like to listen to for 8 hours. The only saving grace of the day was that i got free socks. 2 pairs of free socks!! i guess someone called Columbia and asked for socks to give away as prizes to hikers and they ended up sending a few boxes, so there were plenty to go around. I got an extra pair cause i have big feet =) So that was saturday. I decided to leave the next morning, but when I woke up, Mother Nature had another surprise waiting for me... snow. Yup, on april 24, it was snowing in hot springs, north carolina. I guess it's not that unusual, but a normal person would see the snow and think, wow, it's snowing down here, must be really bad up in the mountains, think i'll wait a day or two for the weather to improve. Well not me! I was all excited and ready to go. So i packed up my stuff and headed off for the trail. I actually enjoyed it, it was a really wet, heavy snow so it stuck to everything and it was so pretty! Probably my favorite day of hiking so far, every time i turned a corner it just got better and better. I was thinking that as long as i didn't die that night, it was worth it to start hiking that day. Well, obviously i didn't die, unless this is my hell, to hike the Appalachian Trail forever and ever. Scary thought. So what do you think, am i crazy or just stupid? It's probably a little from column A, and a little from column B. Well, that's my story about that, i got the crap beat out of me by hail on the way in, frustrated by silly southern liquor laws while there, and nearly froze to death in the snow on the way out. Hot Springs, it really is a magical place.

And now for the second part of this email... Marilyn was right! (Michigan Marilyn, not Seattle, just in case there's any confusion). Marilyn thought a couple of things would happen to me on the trail, that i would starve to death, get mauled by a bear, and that a pack of stray dogs would follow me. Well, i haven't starved to death or been attacked by a bear yet, but the stray dogs part actually happened. I was walked down the trail about 40 miles after Hot Springs, and this kid is walking towards me. He's probably about 20, with shorts on and he's carrying a garbage bag. He also has a dog following him, the dog's around 2 years old, a golden retriever/lab mix, a really cute dog. Anyway, i'm thinking that the kid is a local, just on a day hike or using the trail to get somewhere, or whatever. We eventually get to each other and stop to chat, turns out he's hiking the trail and trying to get to hot springs, but after a while, he turns to me and says: "Do y'all want a dog? This one's a stray, been following me for a couple of days, but i can't take care of her, i'll give you her leash if you want her." I'm trying to figure out if this kid is crazy or just stupid, but i politely say no and start walking away. I get to the next shelter and the people there are talking about him, apparently his story changes every time he meets someone, but all we know for sure is that he isn't carrying any food, a tent, or extra clothes. I was really curious what was in his garbage bag that was more important than food, shelter and clothes, but i'm kinda glad i didn't ask. I also wonder how he got a leash, if the dog really is a stray, i doubt she came with a leash in her mouth. Sketchy. Sketchy locals had to happen eventually, but wait, there's more! A couple of days later, i was walking down the trail and there was a beagle up ahead. I called him over and tried to pet him (he was a little skiddish around people) and eventually he let me pet him and then i took off and started walking again. Well, i turned around and the dog was following me, and he kept following me for 2 days. Nice little beagle too, i think he got tired of the miles though, about halfway through the day he would lay down and try to rest, but i kept going. eventually he'd get up and follow me, the little trooper. I'd heard stories about a stray beagle on the trail, so i'm assuming that was it, hopefully he found someone with a little more food and fewer miles/day on their boots. I do kinda miss the little guy, every once-in-a-while i'll turn around to see if he's still following me. He hasn't come back yet, maybe he will down the road. Anyway, if anybody wants a dog, i'm sure one will follow me again soon, just let me know! ;-)

Wow, this email turned out a lot longer than i thought it would, oh well, hopefully it's entertaining to read! I'm in Damascus, Virginia at the moment. Yup, i made it to Virginia, 460 miles down the trail. 460 miles!! wow, let's say it one more time, 460 miles! Coming up on 4 weeks on the trail too, who would've thought i'd make it this far? You know what, i think i'm actually starting to like life on the trail. Shocking! i think it just took those first 2 weeks for the trail to break me, but now i don't hurt nearly as bad, my legs and feet feel better, and mentally i'm doing much better. You never know, if things keep up like this, i just might make it to Maine after all. Alright kids, that's it for this week's story time, but come back next week to find out what happens. Will i get mauled by a bear? Will I starve to death? Or will i simply get lost in the woods? It's all possible, tune in next time to find out!!

Thursday Apr 21, 2005

Update 2 from a AT through hiker

Since I am a little tied up at the moment with learning how to be a father I thought I would share the email updates that I am getting from a friend through hiking the AT.

Update 2:

Howdy all, it's been 2 weeks for me out here, woooo hoooo!!! I can't believe i'm still hiking, i came so close to quiting, it's a miracle i'm still here. Fontana Dam (the entrance to the smokies), that's where it happened, i had a little mini-breakdown after a tough, tough day, and i walked to the visitor center (which was closed) on the verge of tears, and there i was, huddled in a corner, clutching my cell phone going "why can't i get a signal, just wanna go home, just wanna go home..." that was a bad day, but luckily i decided to take a zero day after that (where you don't hike any miles on the AT) and just rest, relax, and recover. it made a huge difference, so here are the lessons i learned in fontana dam:


1) a day off is good for the soul.
2) after a few minutes in a swing, the world doesn't seem so bad.

anyway, i just made it through the smokies today, right now i'm in a funky little hiker hostel for the night, just trying to make it to Hot Springs, which is only 2 days away and i picked the best weekend for it, this weekend is TrailFest, lots of food, people, music, just plain old good times. But back to the smokies... they were pretty, but not all the much different than any other mountains i walked over to get to them, but the trail through the smokies did follow a ridge line for most of the way, so there were some really nice views. perfect weather through the entire smokies, sunny and no rain the entire time, very rare, apparently. the wild flowers were in bloom when i got there, i climbed over a hill and i thought it had snowed, even though it was 70 and sunny, because there was a blanket of little white flowers on the ground, and they were all along the trail for miles, not too shabby. Oh oh oh, the best was clingman's dome, the highest point on the AT and a real tourist mecca in the smokies, we walked up there and it's not obvious that the AT goes right by it, so we come storming out of the woods all dirty, smelly, and hairy and the tourists have no idea what to make of us, then a couple of guys have the brilliant idea to have lunch right there in the middle of this tourist area, so there they are, shoveling trail mix as fast as they can and pouring squeezy cheese directly into their mouths while the tourists watch. it was like feeding time at the zoo. i could just picture a mother saying to her son: "now don't get too close to the thru-hiker, they're dirty, smelly, and they might try to eat you. just watch from a distance and try not to spook them". ahhhh tourists, it was fun. i did get some wonderful, wonderful trail magic in the smokies, a couple was parked in a lot and they had this beautiful spread, bologna sandwiches, fruit, twinkies, and coke. i'd forgotten how cold a nice ice cold coke could be, and oh man, the sugar high. sugar, sugar, SUGAR!!!! it was awesome! well, i should probably get going... only 2 more days to hot springs. i can make it.

Monday Mar 21, 2005

Simply Beautiful

If you are looking for some simple beauty that is helpging to clean up the environment then head over to Bells From Everest. While there read the history about the story of Jeff Clapp and how is helping to keep trash off the top of the world.

For what it's worth

Tuesday Nov 16, 2004

More on hiking

So as I mentioned yesterday I had a chance to use my new poles out on this trek. So here goes on my first public review of backpacking equipment.

The LEKI Super Makalu Cor-Tec Positive Angle trekking poles offer all of the features that I was looking for in a trekking pole plus some of the added bonuses that I did not know that I would like. First of I would highly recommend the use of pole that has an anti-shock system, this saves on the added wear of your arms. This set of poles offers three settings in the anti-shock system, locked (virtually no play), and then a soft and hard settings. With the setting on soft you will feel added travel in the poles when you press on them but this does offer the most shock absorbtion. I find this setting to be a little uncomfortable to use. The hard setting still gives you the anti-shock setting to reduce the strain but it does not allow for the added travel that you would see on the soft setting. I spent most of my time on this setting and was most comfortable using this. I did try out all three settings just to see what they all felt like.

So the extra added features that I fell in love with where the COR-TEC grip and the positive angle on the grips. Since Dave happen to have a different pair of Leki poles with I switched up one of mine with one of his to get side by side difference in the grips. First on the COR-TEC, this really did not come into play until the day started to warm up and the hands would get a little sweaty. With the COR-TEC grip my hands felt dry the entire time and the grip was a consistent feel all day. On the soft rubber grip my hand would start to feel sweaty and the grip would get a little slippery. So go w/ the COR-TEC. Now on the positive angle setting of grips, this you really needed to do the side by side comparison to get the real feel. Both Dave and I found that with non-positive angle grips ones wrist had to flex and move through the standard stride motion where as on the positive angle grip the wrist had very little to no movement thus keeping down on strain.

No onto the downfalls of the poles, I only have one at this time. I found that while hiking the pole would move from hard spring to the lock spring position. This was rather anoying and I could feel on the next planting of the pole when the change had taken place. From what I have been able to figure out is that when I am planting the pole and the spring is in the compressed state, I must be turning my wrist and thus the portion of the pole that handles the spring setting. Now I really started to see this on the second day, and I don't know if that was because I just did not notice it the first day or if it only started happening the second day. Anyways, with the quick twist of the pole it would snap back into hard spring. More time on the trail w/ the poles will determine if it is the way I was hiking of if there is something wrong with the set of poles that I have.

Overall, the LEKI Super Makalu Cor-Tec Positive Angle is a great set of trekking poles and I would recommend them to anyone that is going to be trekking on flat land or in the nations back country.

One last item, after reading 'Common Lacing Techniques' on the Backpacker's website I put a couple of the techniques into practice on this trip and was very happy with the results. Give them a try for a more comfortable trek.

For what it's worth.

Monday Nov 15, 2004

Jordan River Pathway Trek

So what did you do this weekend? I spent the weekend out in the middle of no where and loved it.

Day One:
Joe, Dave, Dan, and myself set out Saturday morning around 5 am to leave from home and head up the trail. We made a stop in Gaylord to get some breakfast before actually getting to the trail head.

After arriving at the trail head, we spent a few minutes taking in the scene from the Dead Man's Hill overlook. Back to the vehicle to get our packs and head out. We were on the trail by 9 that morning. The hike starts out with a modest decent down Deadman's Hill (DMH) . The slope complexity was added to with having to trek over frost covered fallen leaves and tree roots. At the bottom of DMH we took the wrong fork in the trail under the direction of the one with the map... only to stop about 10 minutes later and actually look at the map and realized that we where headed in the wrong direction.

No worries it was just a nice chance to get the body temperature up to operational status. The outside temperature was around 30 ° F that morning. Now that we are on the trail going in the right direction we started moving along at a clip of 2 to 2.5 miles per hour. The trail slowly descends down from the base of DMH to the river bottom where the views are of small streams and pools flowing over some beaver dams into the river. There was one section where the stream was running right down the trail and then dumping into the river... so that was a little tricky maneuvering for a while. Then some of the best views of the trip appeared out of now where. There was the flock of Canadian Geese that flew over our heads so close that you could see the individual feathers shortly followed by an opening on to a large pool of water that was partially frozen over with small islands of earth just large enough for a small evergreen to take root and start growing. It was at this point where we all realized that we did not pack a camera along on the trip... I know we were all kicking ourselves. After crossing over a couple large pools where the water was so crystal clear that we could see the fish swimming around we crossed the river.

After crossing over the river we headed back into the woods for a while. This was a very calm and quiet portion of the hike. The tree tops where at about 80 feet and you could see for a long ways along the trail since all the leaves where down and the sunlight could stream in. It was amazing to think the entire area that we were hiking in was once clear cut and all of the trees that we were viewing was new growth since it had been clear cut. As we looped through the forest we swept back down towards the river where you could see the fish hatchery. Turning a bend on the river I decided I was going to head off the trial a bit and walk down to the rivers edge for a moment and enjoy the moment... while that was until my foot sunk into the now softening mud. While the boot was looking a little dirty now but the foot and clothing was still dry so I figure no harm no fool.. or is that no harm no foul. A little further a long we found a nice place right on the river to stop and have a mid morning snack and enjoy the river some more. Morning snack consisted of some beef jerky, cheese stick, and some gorp, that is good ol' raisins and peanuts (with M&M as well). Someday I might give out my gorp recipe... but I am sure that you could guess it.

After the mid morning break the trail lead us back into the forest and away from the river. We ended up hiking on what was an old railway line that the loggers used. We knew that we where going to have to be headed up a hill soon to gain elevation for the scenic overlook that we had read was coming, when out of now where we were headed all most straight up (no switch backs) this massive hill... only to see a fabulous view that opened up over the whole valley. From this vantage point one could not see a single man made object on the horizon. It was a majestic view and the best part was the only way to get this view is to hike in to it.

Shortly after leaving the overlook we found ourselves at the Piney Bridge Campgrounds. To our amazement it was only 1 in the afternoon. So after scouting out the 20 or so camp sites we picked one that seems to have some good wind shelter and was large enough that we would not be cramped in camp. After lunch, Dave and I headed down the trail a bit to look around and see what tomorrow morning would bring. Just a short jont from our camp was the Piney River Bridge and the Jordan River. This little river is so clear and flows so smoothly that I just wanted to sit and watch the water flow for hours.

Back in camp we rounded up more then enough wood to have fuel for a fire that night and the next morning. After setting up camp and getting the fire going we all just sat around and enjoyed the day. The eight miles in did not seem to have a strain on the system.

For dinner we whipped out the stove to start boiling water for our Mountain House Beef Stroganoff. One of the guys on the trip was not sure he was going to like the freeze dried meals so he packed in some brauts. Shortly after dinner the sun head set (5:30 pm) and it was rapidly getting rapidly getting dark and the temperature was dropping off.

The weather forecast for the night was suppose to be 29 ° F. We quickly realized that the forecast was wrong as the temps bottomed out at 20 ° F. It was a very good thing that we had a fire going or it would have been a very long evening and night in the sleeping bags. About 6:30 we noticed a light jumping around in the forest every once and a while... ends up being to hikers that got a late start and were just getting into the campground then... they had some trouble following the trail in the dark. They headed to the other side of the campgrounds and setup camp there.

The sky was so crystal clear that night that I was overwhelmed with the number of stars that we could see. The sky was so clear that we could see the milky way, that was amazing. To get the best views of the stars we would walk out away from camp a bit to remove the light of the fire from our view. Simply amazing.

As we kept feeding the fire and keeping warm we all started to get a little tired. So after feeding the long sections of some logs into the fire we all headed into bead about 10:30 that evening. Initially getting into my bag I was relatively warm and ready for a good nights sleep. Well that did not last for long, I found myself not really able to get comfortable this night and then my feet started to get cold, then my nose. I had the mummy bag synched up right around my face and would turn my whole head into the bag to keep my nose warm. After curling up a bit and rubbing my feet together got them warm enough and I did catch a few hours of sleep... in between the two bathroom breaks... I mean come on man, can't you hold it until morning.

Day Two:
I heard Dan up and about and I thought I could hear the fire going. So after confirming w/ him that the fire was going I put on the cloths that I wanted for the day and emerged from the tent. Everything was covered in a nice layer of frost, it was still 20 ° F so I quickly moved over to the fire to take in some of it's heat and started thinking about breakfast. It did not take long and all four of us were up and about discussing how we slept. All of use now feeling hungry we each made out breakfasts up. I had two packets of instant oatmeal, cheese, granola bar, and some coffee. Turns out that there were left over brauts from last night so we shared them and added a little hot meat to the breakfast experience as well.

After packing up camp and making sure our fire was out we headed out for the day. Even by this point (9:45 AM) the temp had come up to 30 ° F and we could tell that today was going to be a nice day. We had a 10 mile hike ahead of us. Reading from 50 Hikes in Michigan we knew that we were going to be in for a long day. The DNR sign post were not matching up w/ where they said they were suppose to be and it stated that the trail was poorly marked. Side note to the DNR or the Jordan Valley Pathway Association, MARK THE TRAIL BETTER and put the numbered markers in the correct locations.

Wow this post is getting long, good thing is day two was pretty much the same thing repeated a few times over. The start of the day was a fast ascent (no switch backs again) up the ridge where we basically stayed all day. As we traversed the trail we would come up and down the small ravines that the streams feeding in the river had formed. Twice along here we somehow got off the trail (missed a blase) and did a little back tracking to get back on course. All of the stream crossings were wonderful. To pause for a moment and be caught up the the roaring of the water over the rocks and logs that were helping to form the stream was wonderful. We had lunch at one such stream where Dan and I sat on a log that was spanning the stream. It was totally enjoyable to be almost deafened by the sound of the water while we relaxed and enjoyed some nourishment.

At Landside overlook the Jordan Valley Pathway and the North Country Trial split. This is a major place where unless you are following a map very carefully you will end up on the NCT headed the wrong direction. The Jordan Valley Pathway is marked with blue circular blase marks instead of the rectangular ones that mark the NCT. The bad part was there were no circular ones to be found so we trek on in faith that we knew we were suppose to follow the ridge line... well 200 yards off the split in the trails we ended up finding the blase marks we needed again.

After a nice (chilly) stroll along the ridge the trail lead us back into the forest for a couple more gorgeous stream crossings and then back to DMH. Time check. We are now two miles out and right on pace. The final two miles of the hike take you through a section of new growth pine trees and then you meet up with the day hike loop for the last mile of the hike. 30 minutes to go and we are going to make it. We are all feeling a little fatigue but we knew we were close so we pressed on. About this point I am also feeling a little chill since I had removed my fleece outer layer but I just bucked it up and headed on (hind sight, should have put the fleece on). Arriving back at the top of Deadman's Hill we had reached our destination. 5 1/2 hours and we had covered at least 10 miles, I say at least due to the off trail misadventures.

We did it!

After a quick prayer of thanksgiving that we all packed up the gear in the vehicle and headed into town for dinner. If you are ever in Gaylord we must stop at Gobblers to have one of their famous turkey dinners. It is a great family run place with food that is wonderful.

Well that is it for the adventure. We drove home to be back with our families. I know for myself that I took a nice hot shower when I got home and then relaxed with my wife and dog. The main points from the trip were this... 1) The memory of the views 2) I am not ready for winter camping, 3) gear review for my new poles will be coming in a few days.

For what it's worth.

Wednesday Nov 10, 2004

Preparing for a quick hike

Well this coming weekend I will be heading out w/ three other fellas for a quick two day hike on the Jordan Valley Pathway. The weather outlook has us hiking in 35 to 40 ° F during the day and the one night is suppose to be around 29 ° F. So that should be interesting, this will be my first hike in weather that cold... but I am trying to talk the others into another hike later this year, either in December or January... maybe I should wait until I see how cold I am going to be on this hike.

Anyways, have all the gear for the weekend gathered but I have not packed it up yet to see how much I will be treking in. I am going to try to keep the weight of the pack under 40 lbs. and hopefully right about 35 lbs. I will let everyone know how the trek goes and what the final weight of the pack comes out to be.

For what it's worth.

Other links about Jordan Valley Pathway:

Tuesday Aug 24, 2004

New trekking poles

I have heard people jeer backpacker about the use or trekking poles but a well planted pole can take about 15 lbs. of preasure off your knees while hiking. I will take that. I finally broke down and purchases a pair. I just order the LEKI Super Makalu Cor-Tec Positive Angle

Aren't they beautiful? Now just to find some more vacation time to get out into the backwoods... Michigan this year... and beyond next year.

For what it's worth.

Update 08.27.2004: They have arrived!!! Yesterday FedEx showed up w/ my poles... now just to get out on the trail.

Monday Jul 26, 2004

Manistee River Trail / North Country Trail Loop

With a weekend full of beautiful vistas of the Michigan country side filled with tall lush trees that seemed to sweep on endlessly topped with amazing views of the bending Manistee River... oh what a weekend it was.

I headed out last Friday (July 23, 2004) with some friends from town on a three day trek on the Manistee River Trail / North Country Trail Loop [pdf] in the North Eastern part of lower Michigan. What an amazing time.

To start, this was my first overnight / multi-day backpacking trip. I have done some nice day hikes before but there is nothing like camping in the middle of no where and enjoying the wonder of God's creation. I spent a few days before packing what I 'thought' I needed and preparing meals/snacks for the trail. After all was packed (including 4 liters of water) the pack as at 35 lbs. Not bad, but now I understand what triming a few pounds can do to the overall hike.

Day 1:
We headed out late on Friday from the Seaton Creek Campground and headed from North to South on the NCT. After a 8 mile trek we made camp for the night around 21:00 (still an amazing amount of daylight). Mmmm... the joys of freeze dried meals from a pouch. Had to carry extra water this section of the hike since we won't have access to water until tomorrow mid-day.

Day 2:
Up early the next morning (08:00) for a breakfast of instant oatmeal and coffee... so I carried a little extra weight to bring along the French Press and grounds but I like coffee. Off down the back side of the NCT to the Red Bridge access point and cross over on the connector trail to the Manistee River Trail. Lunch time around 11:00 with a few handfuls of GORP and some beef jerky. Time to fill up on some water, no need to carry extra now since we have access to water sources where we can filter what we need. Back on the trail for a three hour trek into a camp site somewhere between sites 7 and 6, we called it 6.5. That bring us up to 9 miles for the day and it is only 15:00. What a site, right on the bend in a river w/ a low point so we had access to the water for a dip and some fishing. We all sat around and did a little relaxing, fishing, wading, napping, and playing Eucher. Scott and I won the best two out of three rounds, thanks Scott. The late evening came with a little campfire and some frisbee (okay, maybe this was some extra weight that was not needed). They day was filled with wonderful view of the hardwoods and pines on the decent from the ridge followed by sweeping views of the river the second half of the day... it was a good day.

Day 3:
Up late today (08:30) and time for breakfast and packing up the site. Off on the trail for a short hike (5 miles) back to the Jeep and the on to home. This short hike was when we encountered the majority of the people, a mix of day hikers on the short side of the loop and some heading in the opposite direction as us. I would like to add that I feel if you are going to do this loop, make the NCT side your first day(s), it has the harder terrain so it nice to have fresher legs on that side. More sweeping view of the Manistee river as it would bend in and out of the trail. Right as I hit the end of my water supply I was 1.3 miles from the end so I just kept up the trek w/ the knowledge that there was some wonderful ice cold well water waiting at the end for me... I figure I finished up the last 1.3 miles at a pace of about 4 miles and hour.

Victory

Well we all made it back successfully w/ a couple blisters here and there and some sore muscles... but were all ready to do it again. Time to find another free weekend and this time bring along my wife and dog. As I described the views to my wife when I got back she asked if I had taken a camera with... of course I had not. I mean come on, my extra weight was in the java press and the frisbee :)

Well until my next adventure, trek safe and if you are coming to Mid-Michigan let me know and we will see if we can trek together.

For what it's worth.

P.S. Special thanks to Dave, Dan, and Scott for a wonderful weekend of treking.

Links to other sites about the Manistee River Trail / North Country Trail Loop:

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