[VIDEO] Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Day 6

 

My journey continues with my second hike of the year …
May 30, 2019 Day 6 on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

 

It’s Day 6, my last day on the trail for this trek, and it starts with some crazy bed-head and a hot cup of coffee.
I spent most of the morning reflecting on my overall experience in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – it was nothing short of spectacular.
Today I will hike the 3.5 mile section of the North Country Trail from Mosquito River to Chapel Beach – some of the most “picturesque, most beautiful, it’s crazy amazing” views I have ever seen.

 

Music:
“On My Way”
“Pepper’s Theme”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Day 6

May 30, 2019

My journey continues with my second hike of the year. I am hiking on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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It’s Day 6, my last day on the trail for this trek, and it starts with some crazy bed-head and a hot cup of coffee – reaffirming my decision that I am without question going to carry a stove and coffee with me when I thru-hike! Today I would hike the 3.5 mile section of the North Country Trail from Mosquito River to Chapel Beach.

I spent most of the morning reflecting on my overall experience in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and concluded it was nothing short of spectacular. Once I decided to get moving, I was able to break-down camp in what seemed like record time, put everything into its proper place in my pack, hoisted my pack up and on to my shoulders, grabbed my trekking poles and I was off.

Along the 3.5 mile stretch of trail between Mosquito River to Chapel Beach, the trail and the Lake Superior shoreline present some of the most “picturesque, most beautiful, it’s crazy amazing” views I have ever seen.

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I arrive at Chapel Beach, hike up the sand dune, and exit the North Country Trail stage right.

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I hike my last miles on the access trail back to the Mosquito River / Chapel Beach Trail head, trekking through more bogs of slush.

My trek hasn’t even officially ended yet and I miss it already? Perhaps a cream soda is in order. I can state that unlike Bryson “I have no regrets” from this hike. Sure, I didn’t hike the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore end-to-end, or even according to my original plan. But I feel I did reinforce a couple of even more valuable “mental lessons” – namely, the ability to remain mentally flexible when I had to, and to overcome the obstacles the trail presented – and provided myself the opportunity to grow in the process.

 

 

Hike Data – Day 6

  • North Country Trail 4.5 miles
  • Start: Marker 339.5 End: Marker 344
  • Garmin InReach:
    • Start 11:43 AM
    • Trip Time 4:38:02
    • Distance Traveled 7.84 miles
    • Average Speed 1.69 mph
    • Max. Speed 5.59 mph
    • Max. Elevation 961 ft

 

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018

[VIDEO] Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Day 5

 

My journey continues with my second hike of the year …
May 29, 2019 Day 5 on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

I start my day having breakfast and enjoying my coffee on the beach, taking in the morning sunshine and the beauty of Lake Superior. Even when immersed in the moment, it is difficult to believe that tomorrow will be my last day in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I break down camp, pack up all my gear, and get an early start on the day.
My itinerary for Day 5 is to hike back to the Little Beaver Lake Trail Head, drive to the Mosquito River/Chapel Beach Trail Head, and then hike in from there to the Mosquito River Back Country Camp site.

 

Music:
“Relaxing Piano Music”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Day 5

May 29, 2019

My journey continues with my second hike of the year. I am hiking on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

e9b6c70fd60ae7b0-photo

I started my day having breakfast and enjoying my coffee on the beach, taking in the morning sunshine and the beauty of Lake Superior.

I break down camp, pack up all my gear, and get an early start on the day. My itinerary for Day 5 is to hike back to the Little Beaver Lake Trail Head, drive to the Mosquito River / Chapel Beach Trail Head, and then hike in from there to the Mosquito River Back Country Camp site.

It’s another perfect day for hiking – blue skies, cooler temperatures, and I seem to quickly arrive at the Beaver Creek back Country Camp site. I spend a few minutes exploring the area and inevitably end up on the shoreline of Lake Superior.

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On my return from the beach, while hiking back along the Beaver Creek, I come across one of the biggest log-jams I have ever seen. I am unsure if the log-jam is created by trees falling and being washed downstream to the lake, or if the log-jam is created by Winter’s ice pushing all of the debris upstream into the mouth of the creek?

A short distance later I cross over the creek on one of the most interestingly constructed wooden bridges. Basically, the bridge is built out of sections of logs, split in half and placed with the flat-side of the log face-down so that you actually walk on the round edges of the logs.

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I commented that “you never know what kind of treasures you’re gonna find on the trail”.

As I get closer to the trail head, the trail becomes increasingly more rocky in sections, wet as the rain finds its way to the trail and uses the trail as a path for run-off.

I return to the Little Beaver Lake Trail Head and parking area, unload my pack into the vehicle, and drive into Munising for a quick lunch and a cup of hot coffee. While off trail, I review the weather forecast and trail options for hiking into Mosquito River and hiking back out on Day 6.

 

I depart from the Mosquito River / Chapel Beach Trail head around 5:00 PM, and I as work my way down the trail, it immediately becomes more wet and muddy. I hike the next mile literally hopping from one bog to the next, up and over, zig-zagging left to right and back again, using any dry patch of trail I can find. And just as quickly as the bogs of slush appeared, they gave way to the dry, firm, packed trail I had been hiking on over the last four days. Even when immersed in the moment, it is difficult to believe that tomorrow will be my last day in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

I arrive at the Mosquito River Back Country Campsite, and set-up on, yep, campsite #1 again. The routine of pitching my tent, blowing up my air mattress, retrieving items from my pack and placing them inside my shelter – it all seems to be increasingly easier each time I do it. I make a quick cup of coffee, store my stove and food bag in the painted brown steel enclosure, then I make my way down to the beach just in time for sunset.

 

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Hike Data – Day 5 Part 1

  • North Country Trail 5 miles
  • Start: Marker 345.5 End: Marker 350.5
  • Garmin InReach:
    • Start 9:44 AM
    • Trip Time 2:25:15
    • Distance Traveled 3.18 miles
    • Average Speed 1.58 mph
    • Max. Speed 2.8 mph
    • Max. Elevation 777 ft

Hike Data – Day 5 Part 2

  • North Country Trail 5 miles
  • Start: Marker 345.5 End: Marker 350.5
  • Garmin InReach:
    • Start 4:49 PM
    • Trip Time 1:24:30
    • Distance Traveled 2.02 miles
    • Average Speed 1.43 mph
    • Max. Speed 2.95 mph
    • Max. Elevation 826 ft
  • Camp Site: Mosquito River  (food storage, water, no  fire ring)

 

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018

[VIDEO] Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Days 3 & 4

 

 

My journey continues with my second hike of the year …

May 27-28, 2019, Days 3 and 4 on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

After ‘postholing’ at the end of Day 2, I decide to Zero on Day 3 and stay in Munising, MI, then I drive to the Little Beaver Lake Trail Head on Day 4 to continue my adventure. I hike in 1.5 miles to the North Country Trail junction, discover that it stays really cold in some parts of the forest, have the entire beach and Lake Superior all to myself, and then hike to the Pine Bluff Back Country Camp Site. I setup camp for the evening, go exploring, share the campfire with my camp mates – Katie and Andrew, and take my first attempt at capturing the Milky Way!

 

Locations:
The ROAM Inn https://roam-inn.com/
EH! Burger https://www.facebook.com/ehburger906/

Music:
“Concentration”
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

 

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Day 4

May 28, 2019

My journey continues with my second hike of the year. I am hiking on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

e9b6c70fd60ae7b0-photo

My original itinerary for Day 4 changed, and I would now spend Day 4 of a planned 6-day trek section-hiking from the Little Beaver Lake Trail Head to the Pine Bluff Back Country Camp site.

I checked out of the ROAM Inn, piled all of my gear into the vehicle, opened the Google Maps App on my iPhone, typed “Little Beaver Lake Trail Head” into the search box, pressed the Directions button, pressed the Go button and as the voice behind the map instructed me to turn right onto Munising Avenue, I backed out of the hotel parking lot and turned right. The drive to the trail head would take me roughly 43 minutes, down Michigan Highway 28, to Highway 58 to Adams Trail and then the trail head parking area.

I arrived at the trail head, parked and secured the vehicle, cameled-up (hiker slang for drinking as much water as you can, filling up like a camel), strapped on my back, grabbed my poles, and I was on my way for the next installment of whatever the trail had in store for me.

The weather was the complete opposite of yesterday, it was spectacular today with blue skies and puffy clouds floating by, temperatures in the low 60’s – perfect weather for hiking. I hiked in 1.5 miles to the junction with the North Country Trail and discovered that parts of the forest floor still had frozen snow pack on them – difficult to believe with it being late in May, but then again this is Michigan’s UP.

I trek a short distance to the shoreline, up and over a small sand dune, and am able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Lake Superior – all to myself.

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I return to the NCT, turn left and continue East – my destination for the day being the Pine Bluff Back Country Camp site. I’m anxious and without reason feel hurried to arrive, set-up camp and scout the area in order to best prepare for my first attempt at photographing the Milky Way.

In doing my research, I know the settings to use on my camera, I know the Moon will only be 3% from a New Moon tonight, and I know the Galactic Center will become visible above the horizon at 1:30 AM tomorrow morning. I only have two real unknowns – the weather and the area. The weather, could always change, but indicators and forecasts are predicting clear to partly cloudy skies. The area, the shoreline along Beaver Lake looking southeast over the tree tops, should meet the requirements nicely, but then again, I won’t know until I scout the area. I tell myself “I’ll have more than enough time”.

The trail continues to be maintained and well groomed, but has changed from dirt and the occasional mud bog to more of packed sand and is soft under foot. As I make my way, my pack feels very comfortable, almost as if it’s an extension of my body, and I am able to easily maneuver up, down, and through the turns, bends, and out-coves along the trail. This is how it’s supposed to feel!

Time just seems to fade and I find my way to the Pine Bluff Back Country Camp site. Site 1 is to the right of the entry trail, just past the painted brown steel enclosure which allows hikers to securely store their rations from the animals, in particular the bears. I hang and secure my pack from a near-by tree branch using a strap and my Hero-Clip, making it easy to access the pack contents as needed. I unpack items from my backpack and begin to set-up camp, in order – tent and ground cover, followed by air mattress, sleeping bag, clothing bag, toiletries bag, electronics bag, and last but not least, my F-Stop camera ICU. I place my food bag in the painted brown steel enclosure and twist the eye of the clasp to ensure it’s securely closed.

With camp completely set-up, I set of on my next task of gathering wood for a fire and I am quickly able to find enough downed branches and twigs to allow for a nice fire after sunset. I haul all of  my finds back to the fire-ring, and proceed to methodically construct a Tee-Pee of kindling, twigs, small branches, followed by bigger branches, until I think I have erected the perfect structure to make a fire. It will be dark soon and only then will I know for sure.

I grab my Garmin inReach and head off to explore the area around Beaver Lake. The lake is located just short of a mile’s distance from the campsite, and will be easy to night-hike to later. Upon returning to camp, I find that I have camp mates and they’ve set-up camp on site 5 just across from the fire ring from me.

As the sun begans to drop lower toward the horizon, the colors of the evening sky change from blues, to oranges, to pinks and I find myself walking toward the shoreline – to watch the sunset, listen the sounds of the waves making their way on land, and soak in all the wonder Lake Superior, the North Country Trail, and Mother Nature have to offer.

 

I return to camp well after sunset, gather my journal, pen, mini BIC lighter, and work my way to the camp fire ring. Moments later I find myself sharing the warmth and glow of the camp fire with my camp mates – Andrew and Katie.

 

We casually share our adventures and dreams, connecting instinctively, as our ancestors before us have done for millions of years – unknowingly giving this moment even more meaning and purpose.

I learn Andrew and Katie have hiked in Glacier, Denali and that Andrew has actually summited Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Katahdin

I am a mere mortal in the presence of a God.

 

 

Hike Data – Day 4

  • North Country Trail 5 miles
  • Start: Marker 345.5 End: Marker 350.5
  • Additional 1.5 miles to and from North Country Trail Headquarters
  • Garmin InReach:
    • Start 11:21 AM
    • Trip Time 4:18:30
    • Distance Traveled 5.15 miles
    • Average Speed 1.20 mph
    • Max. Speed 4.19 mph
    • Max. Elevation 833 ft
  • Camp Site: Pine Bluff  (food storage, water, fire ring and outdoor toilet)

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Day 3

May 27, 2019

My journey continues with my second hike of the year. I am hiking on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

e9b6c70fd60ae7b0-photo

In his masterpiece “Appalachian Trials”, Zach Davis titles Chapter 6 “When Shit Hits The Fan” and he defines Thru-Hiker Fact #1 as: “there will come a time during your thru-hike when shit hits the fan”. He continues to describe a time, when on trail, you will hit a mental road-block, paired with physical, environmental, and logistical obstacles. He concludes his chapter opening paragraph by stating “the trail (just) has a way of testing a person”.

Not a 2200 mile 6-month thru-hike, rather a 70 mile 6-day hike out and back, and the North Country Trail found a way to test me!

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend Day 3 of my planned 6-day trek, ‘Zeroing’ at the ROAM Inn in Munising, MI – allowing myself and my body to recover from the epic post-holing event and hike out, back to the Munising Falls Visitor Center on Day 2 – all while the weather turned for the worse, temperatures dropped to the low 40’s and it rained for the entire day.

RoamInn

I took advantage of my downtime and revisited every single item in my pack, removing anything and everything I felt was not absolutely necessary, with the biggest weight reduction coming from removing additional camera and photography items that were more ‘nice-to-have’ as opposed to ‘must-have’.

I also revised my itinerary – changing the remainder of my 6-day trek into three individual section-hikes instead of trying to catch-up to my original planned hike and miles. This also allowed me to change the amount of food I was required to carry (basically a pound for each day on the trail), lightening my pack an additional 2-3 lbs.

 

 

Hike Data – Day 3

  • North Country Trail 0 miles

 

– Kelly

blog: Ramble Afoot
vlog: YouTube Channel
fb: Facebook
ig: Instagram
tw: Twitter
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018