After a ten-hour drive traversing some 550 miles through the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan, the start of my hike on the North Country Trail began at the trail entrance on Norwich Road – located at Latitude 46.68123 and Longitude -89.38983. It was almost 6:00 PM, and knowing I had about 3.5 hours of daylight left to work with, I decided not to hike East from Norwich Road for 3.5 miles to the NCT Mile 100 Waypoint, turn around, and then hike the 3.5 miles West back to Norwich Road. Instead, I just put one foot in front of the other, and headed West on the NCT.
I managed to put in three good miles in about two and a half hours, averaging about 1.25 mph, and after deciding to stop for the evening, I found a dry, flat area about 10 yards off the trail to set up camp for the night.
I unpacked the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 2 tent, laid out the ground cover, and staked it to the ground using four stakes and four carabiner-shock cord extensions I made to help make staking the ground cover, the tent, and the fly easier. I continued with the tent and then the fly, and in a matter of two minutes or so, my tent was completely setup and ready to call home for the evening.
Next came the Thermarest NeoAir® XLite™ air mattress, Thermarest Air Head™ Pillow, and the Sea to Summit Silk Travel Liner from my pack. After inflating the air mattress and the pillow, I placed the mattress inside the silk liner and then slid them all into the tent. With camp set up and ready for the night, I walked another 20 steps or so away from the trail, and stopped to try and empty my bladder. Honestly, the t-shirt and shorts I was wearing were so completely soaked, I was surprised I was able to go at all. Returning to camp, I pulled my dry sack with my sleep wear from my pack, along with the zip-lock bag containing my meals for Day 1 and a full Smart Water bottle, and then placed my pack all the way inside my tent, so that it would be at my feet. I flipped over, sat down, my head and body inside the tent with my feet still outside, so that I could remove my wet muddy trail runners and place them under the fly vestibule to dry, if possible. With my trail runners off, I slithered into my olive green cocoon, adjusted the zipper window on the fly to allow for a breeze to enter the tent, and then zipped the tent door closed.
I gathered my dry sleep wear and socks from the dry sack, and somehow managed to get out of my wet clothes. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty! And, I wasn’t really hungry, in fact surprisingly I wasn’t hungry at all, but I did drink almost half a liter of water. I strategically placed the water bottle next to my other belongings, and located the Garmin inReach Explorer. Unlocking the screen, I selected ‘Messages’, and sent a message to Andrew and my email account:
Camping here for the night. Good Night!
Kelly Williams sent this message Sat 6/30/2018 7:48 PM from: Lat 46.681659 Lon -89.411631
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.
I locked the screen and placed the inReach in my chest pack, put the chest pack next to me within arm’s reach, laid back to relax a moment and I was out.