[VIDEO] Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Day 2

 

My journey continues with my second hike of the year …
May 26, 2019, Day 2 on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

After a great first day on trail and deciding to get back in my sleeping bag for awhile, I change my plan and hike back to the Munising Falls Visitor Center from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Cliff’s Backcountry Camp Site, all to lighten my pack and leap-frog the vehicle forward along the trail. Two hours into the trek back, I pass back by a hidden waterfall, and then things got interesting (You’ll have view Day 3 to find out what happens!)

 

 

– 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 2

May 26, 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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I woke at first light, to the sound of a bell buoy ringing in the near distance, and although the temperature didn’t feel necessarily chilly outside, the warmth and comfort offered by my Thermorest Parsec sleeping bag was enticing enough to convince me to just roll over, snuggle in, and drift back off for awhile.

When I did finally start my day, I easily broke down and packed-up camp, in between bites of a Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Clif Bar while sipping Starbucks VIA Pike Place Roast Instant Coffee.

Day 2 on the NCT would bring a number of challenges, beginning with my decision to change my itinerary, and ‘section-hike’ the portion of the trail between the Munising Falls Visitor Center and The Cliff’s. Everything was packed, in its place, and I was on the trail – it was 8:05 AM.

In his book “Appalachian Trials”, Zach Davis states:

In no uncertain terms, the psychological and emotional struggle is what drives people off the … Trail. It’s the unpredictable and daunting psychological impact of your … Trials. It’s the homesickness, redundancy, and loneliness. It’s the thick, sweltering heat while scaling a shadeless, rock-face mountain. It’s trying to sleep through sub-freezing temperatures, hoping that wearing every damn article of clothing in your pack and wrapping your sleeping bag over your head will provide enough warmth to grant a few hours of sleep. It’s the constant swarm of mosquitoes, flies, and gnats. It’s the boredom that comes from another day of walking through lackluster terrain. It’s the pain that strangleholds every muscle of your body upon waking. It’s putting on sweat soaked clothes for the fifth morning in a row. It’s trying to sleep next to that snoring asshole six inches from your face. It’s waking up in a shelter to sound of a mouse eating his way through your backpack. It’s pooping in the rain; have fun trying to wipe. It’s drinking discolored stream water. It’s wandering a mile off trail before realizing you have no idea where you are. It’s checking your nether regions for parasitic and disease carrying ticks at the end of an exhausting day. It’s living in a constant coat of filth. It’s walking consecutive days with a set of throbbing blisters between your toes and on the sides of your heals. It’s veering off trail to go to the bathroom, only to look down and notice that you’re standing in poison ivy. It’s rocks eating through your boots and insoles, making it feel as though you’re hiking barefoot. It’s running through a storm while hearing lighting crash down on every side of you. It’s the rustling of an animal prowling outside of your tent just moments before you were going to fall asleep. These are the reasons people throw in the towel, not because a climb is too daunting.

Appilachian Trials

Of the thru-hike trail ‘Trials” that Davis lists, I have experienced: “putting on sweat soaked clothes for the fifth morning in a row.”, being in “a storm while hearing lighting crash down on every side of you”, “the rustling of an animal prowling outside of your tent just moments before (I was) going to fall asleep” and pooping in the woods, albeit not while it was raining. I suppose I have so much more to look forward too!

My sole reason for changing my itinerary and section-hiking back to the Munising Falls Visitor Center was simply to lighten my pack. No more. No less. Even though my pack weight with all my gear, my food for six days, and my water carry was under 45 pounds, I made the mistake (again) of under-estimating the effects of carrying the additional weight and of over-estimating my physical preparedness and the shape I was in (or not in!).

 

I began the day with an easy pace, felt comfortable overall, but my pack just felt like dead-weight on my back. Approaching the four-mile mark with almost two hours lapsed since I started hiking, I stopped to take a quick break, hydrate, and vlog for the first (and what would turn out to be the last) time that day. My break from hiking was made even more peaceful by the sound of a nearby waterfall.

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I reworked my pack, rearranged a few items, and tightened up the cinch straps (side straps on your pack used to tighten the pack contents overall, making the pack smaller, more dense, and more centered on your back). I re-laced my boots, lifted my pack up and on to my back, fastened my belt strap, adjusted my shoulder straps and load-lifters, grabbed my poles, and I was on my way again.

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Just before the junction for Sand Point, I stepped up and onto a log with my right foot, forward, and then placed my left foot in front of me to support my next step. As I proceeded in motion, transferring all of my weight from my right leg to my left, my sensory network kicked in and signaled to my brain ‘something was wrong!’ before I ever realized it. Within the next second, the ground between the log which I was standing on and the tree trunk in front of me, the ground which I was now transferring all 250 lbs. of me and my pack to, suddenly gave way – forming an abyss into which my entire left leg disappeared. As my entire body continued forward and down in motion, I was able to reach out and place my hands in front of me, helping break my fall, the impact, and pending face-plant with the tree trunk in front of me. I came to an unexpected, sudden, and abrupt stop!

This event, in general hiking terms, is known as ‘post-holing’ and is actually a very common occurrence when hiking snow covered trails in the Sierra Nevada, like the PCT, and others. It certainly is not listed as one of Davis’ Appalachian Trials! and I would think a much more rare occurrence in the woods or forest. However, yes I manged to do it, and even though no one was there to witness this amazing event, I am sure I did so with ‘swagger’ and it was immediately followed by a verbal burst containing a number of expletives and asking the all to familiar question.

I managed to quickly free my left leg from it’s underground clutches, regain my balance, and with the aid of my trekking poles, carefully stand back up. I have read that in events like this, you need to let the adrenaline pulsing through your veins subside a little, stop and take the time to carefully assess your situation before continuing:

  • Physically – are you bleeding, are any bones broken, are you injured in any way?
  • Mentally – are you aware of your surroundings, are you thinking clearly, what is the last thing you remember, what is the next thing you were suppose to do?
  • Emotionally – do you feel safe? are you comfortable enough to continue?
  • Gear/Equipment – did anything get damaged, did anything come loose, did you lose any items?

I did precisely that.

  • No broken bones, no injuries.
  • I’m standing on the NCT in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
  • I am hiking from the Cliffs back to Munising Falls.
  • I feel OK, my pride is a little hurt, but I guess I’m better for the experience.
  • All my gear seems to be in working order
  • I have everything, and my poles straps never left my wrists.
  • Gosh was that crazy!

Slowly I put one foot in front of the next, took a step, followed by another, then two, and I was carefully on my way, again. A short while later, just as I had the day before, I found myself standing on the trail, looking up in awe, completely unaware of the event that had just occurred an hour ago.  I believe Bill Bryson got it right:

There comes a moment when I look up and notice , with a kind of first-time astonishment, the amazing complex delicacy of the woods, the casual case with which elemental things come together to form a composition that is — whatever the season, wherever I put my besotted gaze — perfect. Not just very fine or splendid, but perfect, unimprovable.

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I ended the small trail detour and road-walk, rounded the corner left to the Munising Falls Vistors Center parking lot, and returned back to my vehicle.

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Hike Data – Day 2

  • North Country Trail 8.5 miles
  • Start: Marker 334.5 End: Marker 327.5
  • Additional 1.0 miles to and from North Country Trail Headquarters
  • Garmin InReach:
    • Start 8:05 AM
    • Trip Time 5:15:18
    • Distance Traveled 6.8 miles
    • Average Speed 1.29 mph
    • Max. Speed 3.57 mph
    • Max. Elevation 1151 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 1

My journey continues with my second hike of the year …

May 25, 2019, Day 1 on the North Country Trail in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

After a small detour and road-walk, I hike from the Munising Falls Visitor Center to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Cliff’s Backcountry Camp Site, set up camp for the night, and then day-hike to the North Country Trail Headquarters picnic area for dinner and to take in the view from Miners Castle Scenic Overlook.

 

Music Used:

“Gymnopedie No. 1”

“Relaxing Piano Music”

Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

 

 

– 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 1

May 25, 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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My itinerary for Day 1 of a planned 6-day trek is to hike a short 5.1 miles from the Munising Falls Visitor Center to my permitted back country campsite located in the Cliff’s. After a small trail detour and road-walk, I finally find my way to ‘back’ to the North Country Trail.

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It felt good to be back, to be connected with the North Country Trail again . Seeing the NCT emblem marking the path, a blue blaze reaching out from a distant tree trunk guiding me onward, or just knowing that my boots and I are standing on a portion of the 4,600 mile footpath stretching from Crown Point in eastern New York to Lake Sakakawea State Park in central North Dakota – will always feel like home.

For many, I’m sure reading such a thought seems odd, out of place, even contradictory. After all, how can you feel at home when you’re in the middle of the woods?

As Bryson concludes his “A Walk in the Woods”, he shares this thought: “there comes a moment when I look up and notice , with a kind of first-time astonishment, the amazing complex delicacy of the woods, the casual case with which elemental things come together to form a composition that is — whatever the season, wherever I put my besotted gaze — perfect. Not just very fine or splendid, but perfect, unimprovable”.

For me, and as I have previously written,

I feel as if all goes back some 45 years to that summer vacation when my family traveled to the Smokey Mountains for the first time. … In many ways I feel as if a small part of me was left in the mountains, which at times has felt unsettled, left undone, waiting for my return. In other ways I feel an even bigger part of the mountains was left inside me, for this moment, for now, beckoning me onward, to return to the woods, to be one again not just with the Pigeon River, or the many overlooks and landscapes from my past, but with more, so much more, more of the paths and trails, the streams and rivers, the mountains and valleys – the many wonders just waiting for me to go and explore. … Many of those who have done so before me will tell you “Hike Your Hike”. For me, it’s time. It’s time for me to “Hike My Hike”.

My Life’s Hike began Saturday, June 30, 2018 5:52 PM, at Latitude 46.68123 Longitude -89.38983, the entry to North Country Trail from Norwich Road (shown below), and it was in that moment, when I looked up and noticed, with a kind of first-time astonishment, the absolutely daunting yet amazing feat — not just a hike but a thru-hike — I was now committed too.

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The North Country Trail is where it all began just over a year ago, and my preparation continues – gaining experience, finding my legs, shaking down gear, discovering what works and what doesn’t, repeating tasks and processes over and over so that they become not just second-nature, but ingrained in my being, simply repeatable from memory, and learning how to be best prepared for whatever the trail and mother nature can throw at me – all while doing so as minimalisticly as possible.

The portion of the North Country Trail I was now hiking is located in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where it essentially winds its way along the shoreline of Lake Superior, and in general presents a gradual climb in elevation as it makes its way up to a section known as the ‘Cliffs’. The trail is very well maintained, nicely groomed, and very easy to follow.

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I stopped at the NCT – Sand Point Junction to take advantage of the steps built there, which allow visitors to walk down to better view the local water fall. I on the other hand, was there to simply rest a bit, hydrate myself, and fuel my body. It sounds funny to me in a way – the phrase “fuel my body” – but I use it to remind myself that not only do I need to do so, and often when hiking, I also need to use the 91 Octane brand of fuel!

The Cliff’s Back Country Camp Site was difficult to locate. In fact, I couldn’t locate it at all and it was only when I reached the North Country Trail Headquarters at Miner’s Castle I realized I had completely passed it. I back-tracked about a half-mile or so, and found an amazing spot to set up camp for the night. How I missed it on my original approach I’ll never understand, but gosh am I glad I discovered it on my way back.

After I set up camp for the night, I hiked back to the North Country Trail Headquarters picnic area to make dinner – Mountain House Beef Stew – and to take in yet another amazing view the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has to offer, this time from the Miners Castle Scenic Overlook.

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I returned to my campsite shortly before sunset. As I sat on the edge of the cliff overlooking the bay in front and some 200 feet below me, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of wonder and accomplishment. I was “Hiking My Hike” and it was simply — perfect. Not just very fine or splendid, but perfect, unimprovable.

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Hike Data – Day 1

  • North Country Trail 8.5 miles
  • Start: Marker 327.5 End: Marker 334.5
  • Additional 1.5 miles to and from North Country Trail Headquarters
  • Garmin InReach:
    • Start 11:21 AM
    • Trip Time 7:47:49
    • Distance Traveled 9.1 miles
    • Average Speed 1.17 mph
    • Max. Speed 3.11 mph
    • Max. Elevation 987 ft
  • Camp Site: The Cliff’s  (* no 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] Sleepy Hollow Trail Hike – Day 2

Day 2 of 2 hiking on the Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail

My journey continues with my first hike of 2019 on the Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail, located in Laingsburg, MI, along Lake Ovid. The weather was fantastic for early April in Michigan and I was able to shake down some new gear & ‘my legs’ after spending much of the late Winter months cooped up inside recovering from walking-pneumonia. Gosh, I still have so far yet to go …

Music used:

  • “On My Way” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

  • “Pepper’s Theme” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

 

– 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] Sleepy Hollow Trail Hike – Day 1

Day 1 of 2 hiking on the Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail

My journey continues with my first hike of 2019 on the Sleepy Hollow State Park Trail, located in Laingsburg, MI, along Lake Ovid. The weather was fantastic for early April in Michigan and I was able to shake down some new gear & ‘my legs’ after spending much of the late Winter months cooped up inside recovering from walking-pneumonia. Gosh, I still have so far yet to go …

Mentioned in this video …

2019 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers:

Gear Items:

Music used:

  • “On My Way” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

  • “Pepper’s Theme” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…

 

– 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

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
Appalachian Trail Conservancy Member #22027626
Pacific Crest Trail Association Member #98397
North Country Trail Association Member since 11-28-2018