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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cold Wet Magic

I put a few of the houseplants out on the porch for the summer. Told Om to bring them in if it was going to freeze while I was gone. But I sort of forgot that a couple of them really wouldn't like to be cold even if it wasn't freezing.

One of the ones I put outside was this unidentified member of the spiderwort family. It has reluctantly bloomed for me twice.

furry spiderwort

It was given to me as a succulent, but I learned this summer that it really prefers to be nice and moist. It flourished outside, getting watered every other day. The leaves were greenish-white and furry and happy looking.

When I got home Friday, not only were the leaves happy and huge, but even though it has been quite cold, the silly thing was blooming like crazy! Every stalk had two blossoms/buds on the end.

furry spiderwort

In other news: I chilled out and worked hard on the Midland to Mackinac Trail Guide today. I'm closing in on having it ready.

See Other Spiderworts
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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Back to Author Brain

Today I was selling books at a DeColores fundraiser event in Muskegon. Sold enough that it was worth doing. Made two new author friends, and got to chat with two I already knew.

It just happened that the women are the ones I knew- Barbara Kompik and Bonnie Jeanne-Marie

authors Barbara Kompik and Bonnie Jeanne-Marie

The men are my new friends- Ron Rowbotham and Glenn Wagner

authors Ron Rowbotham and Glenn Wagner

Ron had a vintage fruit box from Jebavy Orchards of Ludington!

Jebavy Orchards box

I'm just too tired to function. Curled up with a book. I know this is not nearly as exciting as a hiking post, but it was today, and I need to be selling a lot of books to continue doing what I wish to do. I'm sure I'll be rejuvenated by tomorrow.

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Day Twenty-Five - Midland to Mackinac

The joke's on me, once again, but it's OK. After giving Nancy the whole spiel about how terrible the roads were to get to the spot we needed to hike to today, here's what happened. Because Nancy was coming from the west, I went over that way to meet her and we drove in from that side. Sue and I had accessed the spot from the east, because we were east of there. It was the way Google sent us, and I had no local knowledge that told me otherwise.

Ha! From the west, the entire way except for the last two miles was paved.

With a little digital magic, I bring you Nancy and me, at the junction where the M2M joins the High Country Pathway for a couple of miles.

hikers at the High Country Pathway

After rain and snow while I was loading the car, the day proved to be wonderful. A bit chilly, but we were dressed for it, so that wasn't a problem at all.

Don't know if they knew I was coming but someone had just touched up the blazes along the High Country Pathway. Like- this week. See the paint on the ferns?

blue paint on ferns

Except for about 3 miles we were on back roads for the rest of the walk. Still, this can be a beautiful experience. I really like the shape of the white pine to the left of the road.

tall trees along a country road
Purple leaves! They really were this color. No digital magic.

purple leaves

And although it remained overcast, the sky was bright enough to set the leaves glowing.

yellow leaves in woods

The drive home was amazing. The trees are about at peak color north of Kalkaska. I had to stop and take some pictures along the way, but this is my favorite.

barn and maples with orange leaves

Nancy and I did about 7 miles. Perfect length for her, she said. And it was fun to have company for the day. No losing the trail, which did not break my heart.

I thought the remaining miles were all on roads of some description, so I attempted to drive through and check it out. They are indeed on roads, and the puddles that stopped Sue and me are drained or dried. Sort of "killed" me to come home with only 9 miles to go, but as of now, I'm planning to go back this next week and finish.

Home again. Had my first ice cream in nearly a month. Got one piece of mail in that whole time which is worth reading. Living room is trashed. I need to be out the door with my author brain on at 7 am tomorrow. Wow! That is a fast switch from hiker brain.

Miles hiked today: 7- which is the same number that count. I like that equation! Total trail miles hiked: 206.5. This means that my guesstimate for my hiking days has been pretty darn accurate. The total will come in at 215.5, and the official guesstimate (no one has actually GPSed this trail) is 210. Good stuff.

See Day Twenty-Four
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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day Twenty-Four - Midland to Mackinac

The proof! Here I am in Mackinaw City at the sign where the Midland to Mackinac Trail heads south. It was eight years ago that I stood in this spot (older signpost then), having reached it from the North Country Trail side and first thought about hiking this trail.

hiker at Midland to Mackinac Trail sign in Mackinaw City
Just go to the next sign, and you can keep going on the NCT- either direction you want! (toward New York or North Dakota)

North Country Trail sign in Mackinaw City
My timing was perfect- perfectly wrong! I sat indoors all day yesterday in warm and beautiful weather, and today I hiked in rain and wind, the entire day. Well, I'm not complaining. I wasn't too hot, and I really needed some rest. Gumby II did the job. And the water enhanced the colors of the leaves.

autumn oak leaves

Can't stop taking pictures of the beautiful stretches of autumn color along the trail.

autumn trees

It was pretty windy too. Look what came down from somewhere. Glad it's late enough in the year that the inhabitants have died off.

wasp nest

First view of the Mighty Mac from the trail! Made me realize that I've walked a long way!

Mackinac Bridge view from the Midland to Mackinac Trail

Today's trail angel that made these 12.5 miles possible in one day- Janice Dillaha, a new trail friend who is also interested in the North Country Trail. Thanks, Jan! And I hope our paths continue to cross.

hiker friends

Saw one other walker- a woman out with two Malamutes. They sure didn't mind the cold and wet, the dogs that is.

One other hilarious incident. As I was just coming into Mackinaw City there were some construction guys putting a roof on a new shuttle bus waiting pavilion. They had their radio playing loudly. Suddenly I heard the announcer say (you can't make this stuff up), "Is the trail calling to you?"
"Why, yes," I thought, "but I don't think they've perfected interactive radio yet."
"Do you wish you could hike, but you're just afraid to?"
"Not so afraid, but certainly curious what you have to offer."
"Visit our orthopedic clinic...."

Forward progress on the trail today: 12.5 miles, which is the same number of miles walked- Hooray! Total trail miles: 198.5

Tomorrow I'm hoping Nancy K and I can get to one of the places I need to connect, and that she won't have driven a bunch of miles to help me for nothing. We shall see- then home.

See Day Twenty-Three
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Midland to Mackinac Project

If you know me very well, you know there is always another big project in the wings. After the strategy for this hike changed several times, I decided to use what I'm learning to perhaps help other people to find the trail.

I've been spending my evenings and days off working on maps and a guide. It's not going to be perfect. I didn't even think of doing this until about day four so the early sections have sketchy descriptions. Nevertheless, I know it's going to be better than just trying to follow the blazes, and the official map (which is approximate, but the scale is just too small to be helpful on the ground).

I can't finish it till I come back to pick up the 17 missing miles in the middle. Some places where I lost the trail have already been fixed. Other places, I'll suggest an alternate route.

There are 30 maps with USGS maps as the base. Here's a sample. This will be able to be printed on regular 8.5x11" paper or looked at digitally as an ebook.

And a sample of text that goes with part of this map.

These samples don't include introductory info, legends, etc.

I'm thinking of charging about $3.00 for this. It certainly should be worth the price of a cup of coffee.

Finishing it shouldn't be too big of a mouthful to chew. I've been keeping up with it as I go along. The maps take longer, but they are getting done.

Today's good news is that I rested, which I kind of needed. The bad news is that is was a beautiful day outside, and the only walking I did was a stroll through the local park and to the grocery store to buy a salad.

Tomorrow, a lady from Michigan Hiking and Backpacking is spotting me so I can go all the way into Mackinaw City, and on Friday another friend will spot me in the middle. That will leave me only one day's hike with no overnight to come back for. That should be possible to work out.

See Day Twenty-Three
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