Today I picked up (by arrangement) two North Country Trail hikers and took them to Ludington to ride the ferry back to Wisconsin.
What's so unusual about that, you ask? Not much, except that the hikers are from Belgium. Their names are Neils and Anake, young people just starting out on their professional lives. She recently finished her first year teaching kindergarten, and he's got one more year of college and then will be teaching high school history.
Dutch is their native language, but Neils does very well in English. I wasn't sure if Anake wasn't as fluent, or if she was just shy.
They came to the U.S. for a visit because his sister lives in Wisconsin and just had a baby. Neils said he's trying to get used to being an uncle, and that it makes him feel old. For some reason they decided to try a backpacking trip while they were here. I say "for some reason" because they explained this was their first hike ever. They weren't previously hikers in Europe. But they said they liked it a lot and hope to begin to check out trails at home. They also thought they'd do more of the NCT when they come to visit family again.
They hiked about 80 miles of trail in the Manistee National Forest, and were pleased with the maintenance and marking. Whew! Glad to hear that.
Probably not the first internationals on the NCT, but definitely the first I've encountered. I'm really happy it was a positive experience for everyone.
|if you like this blog, click the +1 |