Sleepy Hollow Trail Hike – Day 2

[From my Journal] April 7, 2019 10:00 PM

I woke to the sounds of geese calling out … 7:30 AM. My first thought was “it’s so warm inside this sleeping bag, maybe I can just lay here for another half-hour”?

Ten minutes later, I was standing in my trail runners and Smartwool bottoms, next to a very large and secluded Pine tree, peeing in the wind and establishing what I guess is to become my morning routine on trail.

I slept well and although not a back-sleeper, I did manage to begin my sleep while laying on my back. Even though the temperature was forecast to drop down into the low 40’s, I decided to sleep with the front fly door open – allowing the breeze to blow into the tent, and the opportunity to experience cooler weather while in my shelter.

My hands and fingers got a bit chilled, but I quickly figured out the perfect way to lay on my side and wrap my sleeping bag up, around me, and allow my hands and fingers to be covered. I’m certain that I’ll need to have a light pair of gloves in cases where the temperatures are under 40 degrees F.

Once up and moving about, I quickly gathered my stove kit and retrieved my bear/food bag hanging from the tree – the only goal being a hot cup of coffee! The MSR Pocket Rocket II fired right up, and water for coffee was boiling in a couple of minutes. I opened a packet of Starbucks VIA Instant and poured it into my mug, added the hot water, and …. AHHHhhhh, so tasty!

As I enjoyed my morning coffee, I decided that I will carry a stove & mug on any/every hike if for no other reason than moments like this one.

I finished my coffee along with a Kind Bar for breakfast, cleaned my mug and set off to break down camp and start my day.

With everything packed away in “it’s place” in my pack, I was off. Beginning with a short road walk back to Marker 1, then Marker 2 and onward to continue my hike from where I left off the day before.

It was another beautiful day, with the sun peaking in and out of the clouds, and temperatures absolutely perfect for hiking – so much so, I was able to shed my hiking shirt and just hike in my Nike Pro running shirt. And even with my last trail mile before this hike taken place in late November last year, my legs were a little stiff, but seemed to quickly remember they were built for this. A quick right turn at Marker 2, and I was on my way in search of Marker 15.

Just as I had mentally broken this hike down into a number of smaller hikes or goals, I like to refer to them as challenges, Marker 15 would become Marker 14,  …

Marker 14 would become Marker 13, …

then 12 to 11 and, …

and I found myself thinking of hiking the 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail, not as a single ominous 2200 mile hike, but rather as 22 smaller hikes or goals of 100 miles. In turn, breaking down each 100 mile segment into five 20-mile days, with a Zero on day 6 or 7 as needed.

In Zach Davis’s “Appalachian Trials” he points out how important it is to be mentally prepared for a Thru-Hike, with mental preparedness being more important than being physically fit or prepared.

I’ve always taken things apart, broken them down, mapped the path from point a to point z, and even in the short time I’ve been dreaming of Thru-Hiking, I have done the same with my plans to date.

But at some point, all the planning, all the research, all the details have to give way, break into existence becoming ‘reality’, and I honestly feel as if my time to ramble afoot is approaching.

 

 

Hike Data

  • Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail
  • Start: Marker 1
  • End: Marker 8
  • Garmin InReach: Avg 2.7 mph, 8.33 Miles
  • FitBit: 26426 Steps, 19 Floors, 11.66 Miles

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

Sleepy Hollow Trail Hike – Day 1

[From my Journal] April 6, 2019 7:00 PM

 

Even though it’s early in the season, the warmer temperatures and pleasant weather have provided the park with many visitors, most camping eloquently in their RVs and campers. After all, this is Michigan and the weather can always change, and quickly.

When planning for this two day adventure and my first hike of the 2019 season, I thought for sure I would be the only person rustic camping and sleeping in a tent. Alas I was mistaken; I actually have neighbors next to me on Campsite A!

I started my hike today, just North of the rustic campsite area and up a multi-use trail , at Marker 8, worked my way clockwise around the park, ticking the markers off one by one, until I reached Marker 1. From there, it was about half-mile road walk back to the multi-use trail head, and a short distance to reach Campsite B.

In addition to mowed sections to pitch your tent on, the Park has welcomed the advent of the hammock and provides multiple 4″x4″ wooden posts with eye-bolts or hooks to which one can secure their mattress -in-the-air if desired. The campsite has a nice cement fire ring, but no water, although Lake OVID is a short 300 yards away, if needed.

I used a new carabiner & hook combo called the HeroClip (https://myheroclip.com/products/heroclip) to securely hang my backpack to an eye-bolt on one of the hammock posts, which kept the backpack off the ground, and allowed for easy access into the pack while setting up camp. I like it!

After dinner, instead of the well known PCT Method for hanging a bear/food bag, I used a new method called the 2CR Method (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9L4ORK62oM) for hanging my bear/food bag from a tree branch; it was really easy to hang the bag and took no time at all, once I found a rock big enough to toss the rock bag over the tree limb.

Many sounds from birds and geese can be heard, and I’m guessing there is a nest of sorts located in the giant pine tree next to my tent.

The sun is setting behind the clouds now and the sky begins to glow along the horizon – all beyond me and through the trees to the West.

I can only imagine what it will look and feel like when I watch the sunset along the ‘Big Trails’.

 

 

Hike Data

  • Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail
  • Start: Marker 8
  • End: Marker 1
  • Garmin InReach: Avg 2.6 mph, 5.1 Miles
  • FitBit: 24584 Steps, 17 Floors, 10.59 Miles

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

 

Where Have We Been? What’s next …

On September 1, 2018 I will return to the North Country Trail!

… to finish what I began almost 2 months ago. Those details and more can be viewed in the video:

 

Also, my pack and gear list have been completely revised, and now only weighs 34 lbs, including (2) 1-Lt filled bottles of water and meals for 5 days. You can view my complete revised NCT gear list at the following URL:

Revised NCT Gear List

 

And of course, I will journal my upcoming adventure here and on my other social media platforms.

I’ll see you down the way …

 

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

Reflections on the North Country Trail

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It’s been twenty-eight days since I dropped my pack and trekking poles next to the road at the trail entrance and walked that mile along Norwich Road back to the parking area to retrieve the Grand Caravan. That last half-mile I spent hiking on the North Country Trail still feels as if it was the toughest thing I have ever mentally done. Disappointed in myself, it was certainly one of my most emotional experiences, and some part of me has felt lost since then.

I suppose feeling as if I left a part of me there, in that small clearing, sitting on the giant piece of tree trunk cut to be a stool, is normal. Perhaps it isn’t normal at all? All I know is – it just is.

Reflecting back to those first steps taken on the NCT, I find myself thinking about the final ‘takeaway’ from Zach Davis’ Appalachian Trials. To paraphrase Davis, hiking a trail is to be enjoyed. It isn’t about just reaching your destination. Rather hiking is about each and every step you take along the way. If these words are taken to heart, adopted as a hiker’s mantra so to speak, then no step along the way is more important than that first step you take on the trail. The first step is most important, and I took it!

 

I do know that with 9 miles behind me, that small clearing will be the perfect spot to return too, to stop, take my pack off, give myself a quick break, and filter water from the stream to replenish my Smart Water bottles if needed, before I continue hiking the next 47 miles west to Presque Isle and the shores of Lake Superior. I’ll grab my Garmin inReach Explorer, unlock the screen, and select ‘Send’

I’m continuing from here.

Kelly Williams sent this message Sun 9/1/2018 1:00 PM                                                      from: Lat 46.68529 Lon -89.41568

Do not reply directly to this message. This message was sent to you using the inReach two-way satellite communicator with GPS. To learn more, visit http://explore.garmin.com/inreach.

 

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– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

#Hike100NCT #FindYourTrail

Five things I will differently next time on the North Country Trail

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… “Five things I will differently next time on the North Country Trail”:

  1. The first thing I will do differently next time on the North Country Trail is make the 9-hour drive the day before I start my hike, stay the night in a local hotel, and start my hike the following day.
  2. Without question, the second thing I will do differently next time on the North Country Trail is pack a lighter pack!
  3. The third thing I will do differently next time on the North Country Trail is pack more water, or perhaps pack two 1.5-L Smart Water bottles for a larger water carry, and ensure that I hydrate myself much more often.
  4. The fourth thing I will do differently is to take extra time to capture more photographs, record more video, and of course continue writing while on the NCT.
  5. Finally, the fifth and last thing I will absolutely do differently next time is: I will finish my 100-Mile hike on the North Country Trail and get that NCTA Patch!

 

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– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

#Hike100NCT #FindYourTrail

Five lessons I learned on the North Country Trail

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… “Five lessons I learned while on the North Country Trail”:

1. In his ‘Appalachian Trials’, Zach Davis shares the following descriptive commentary when explaining lightning storms: “For those who have never scurried … through a lightning storm, you can’t fully empathize with how distressing this is. Each (flash of bright light) followed by an explosion of thunder causes your heart to jump into the back of your throat, only to quickly drop back down into the depths of your anus”. The first lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail was that if a lightning storm is going to occur, it will do so when most inconvenient and when you’re hiking in the middle of the woods. And that Davis’ description is pretty accurate.

2. The second lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail was that not only is it very easy to push yourself past your limits, it is also very common for novice hikers to do so. Even with extensive training, not only are you most fragile at the beginning of any hike, your muscles and joints take the brunt of it all. As I experienced first-hand, the last thing you want to do is fall victim to the trail because you’re simply impatient.

3. “The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain” – Lord Byron, the third lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail.

4. According to Davis, “Although the trail (offers) a unique opportunity to ‘unplug’ from … society, the ultimate goal … is to finish and enjoy the trail”. The fourth lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail was that for me, being ‘unplugged but tethered’ gave me an added sense of security, knowing I could contact and communicate with society in case of an emergency, and allowed me to enjoy my time on the trail. Additionally, having my iPhone 6S provided the ability to capture photographs and record video to document my adventure.

5. Whether it is about pre-trail feelings and nervous energy, an experience or event that occurred on the trail, or simply looking back in reflection, writing about it allows you the opportunity to gauge the significance and impact each had overall. In my case, and the fifth lesson I learned while on the North Country Trail, was that writing it down allowed me to also share those thoughts and feelings with you.

 

It is my sincere hope that in sharing the words written, photographs captured, and the video recorded you have been able to find some small part of yourself – on the North Country Trail.

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– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter

#Hike100NCT #FindYourTrail