I researched for hours. I spent days thinking through all of the different scenarios. I made lists to check, and double check. I tested and verified that I would be able to communicate and send messages without cellular phone service or coverage. I gathered and documented contact information for local emergency personnel, just in case. I created a spreadsheet documenting dates, estimated miles to be hiked, daily starting, ending locations, and water sources – each with its respective latitude and longitude.
The estimated drive-time from my home in Troy to the designated trail head parking area located on Norwich Rd in Ontonagon was a mere eight and half hours, would take me through the center of Michigan’s lower peninsula, across the Mackinac Bridge into the UP (Upper Peninsula), through Marquette, and then West on MI 28 to Norwich Road. I would set off on my adventure at 3:00 PM on Friday June 29th – after my appointment with Dr. Muller at the Huntington Group to have the titanium dental implant in slot #30 uncovered in preparation for a new crown, to replace the tooth that had to be extracted back in January. (That’s an entirely different story that perhaps I’ll share on a rainy day, but suffice it to say, it was Obi-Juan’s fault!)
I would arrive at the designated trail head parking area located on Norwich Rd in Ontonagon around midnight, sleep as best as I could in the back seat of the Grand Caravan, and wake to begin hiking the morning of Saturday June 30th.
The start of my hike on the North Country Trail would begin at the trail entrance on Norwich Road, I would hike East from Norwich Road for 3.5 miles to the NCT Mile 100 Waypoint programmed in my Garmin inReach Explorer, turn around, and then hike the 3.5 miles West back to Norwich Road. The idea being, if needed I could make any weight adjustments to my pack, place those items in the Caravan, and then continue onward.
Over the next 2-3 days, I would continue hiking along the North Country Trail – stopping along the way to filter water and eat as needed, and to camp overnight – making my way to the half-way point, a back-pack campsite located just past the NCT Mile 50 marker and very near the Presque Isle State Campground.
Depending on how I felt, I would spend the following day or two relaxing a bit, exploring Presque Isle, the Porcupine Mountains, and the shores of Lake Superior.
Then I would set my sites eastward, hike the required 46.5 miles back along the North Country Trail returning to my origin, exit the NCT, walk back to the designated trail head parking area located on Norwich Rd in Ontonagon, place my pack and gear in the Grand Caravan, and begin the eight and half hour drive back home.
My plan was perfect!