Reflections on the North Country Trail



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





– Kelly

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Author: rambleafoot

Blogging my journey and adventures as I prepare for and attempt to thru-hike three of the most challenging long-distance hikes in the contiguous United States.

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