Today was a lovely hike, but the mileage was disappointing, only 7.4 according to the maps. Something seems wrong about that. If I hiked 12.8 miles in 4 hours and 10 minutes yesterday, and only 7.4 in 3 hours and 40 minutes today, when my pace felt about the same, either something drastically changed with me or one of those mileages is off. I could have walked farther before turning around, but didn't want to be out more than four hours, so I could be home in time to do some things.
Anyway... I won't be finishing the North Country Trail Hike 100 tomorrow because I'm not going to try to do 14+ miles and get home in time to clean up and go to bell practice. We'll see what the weather is. Now they are saying rain in the morning. I was hoping to hang out laundry. Options not looking so good right now. Maybe I can do a short walk close to home which would leave me with one do-able piece for another day.
I drove an hour each way to do this hike. Long, yes, but I "killed two birds." I had a box of stuff that needed to be delivered to someone, and I got that done, and hiked, seeing trail I hadn't been on for quite a while.
I started at Hodenpyl Dam, the northern end of the section our chapter maintains, and hiked south (and then back) more or less along the Manistee River. To put this in context, here's the view east. The shiny spot in the lower middle is the Manistee River below the dam. The big flat plain area across the middle of the picture is the dam. The bright line above that is Hodenpyl Dam Pond. The trail continues east and north from there. Most recently I hiked that with Dan and Ruth Dorrough. See Two Awesome Days.
Just below this is the Little Mac, the second largest suspension bridge in Michigan, which spans the river. It's not actually on the North Country Trail, but is on the connector with the Manistee River Trail. I didn't cross it today.
I'm not sure I'd actually ever done all of the first mile of trail I was on today. This section was completely re-routed since my hike that counted for my NCT E2E, and I think perhaps I hadn't seen this piece. It's on the rail bed of the former Manistee and North Eastern RR.
As soon as you leave the rail bed, the trail drops to Eddington Creek and Eddington Bridge, a lovely spot, and one of the first hikes I ever took on the NCT.
Then begins a long climb along the side of a valley, until you reach the bluffs above the Manistee River.
I pulled this view in with the telephoto to try to capture the colors on the far bank of the Manistee, and the blue hazy hill top beyond. It looks much farther away when you are there. On the far side is the Manistee River Trail which forms a 20 mile loop with the NCT. This is one of the most popular weekend hikes in the state, which is why I went on a Monday, not the weekend. I didn't see a single person. Yay!
This section of trail is characterized by several long gentle climbs and descents. Even with these hills, I can't account for my apparent lack of speed. The trail yesterday was rolling hilly, so I was going up and down all the time, just not for such long stretches.
Here are some fun finds. A really large red oak leaf.
The sun came out toward the end of my walk. That always perks up the fall colors.
I end with a question. Did you ever wonder why so many aspen leaves keep one streak of green in the next to the lowest space between veins? I see this all the time. I made a whole collection of them. I have no guesses as to why this happens.
Total miles on the Hike 100 Challenge 85.7, with 14.3 to go. Chance of finishing tomorrow- zero. I'm just not going to push that hard. But today was a great hike!
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