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Monday, February 3, 2020

Familiar NCT Section- Endurance Edition

Yesterday I stayed home and was good while the weather was gorgeous. Not happening today. I had to go out. Went to the closest section of North Country Trail near me. I've done it so much it's almost boring. However, today had its own challenges.

The sky was BLUE! It was wonderful.

blue sky through trees

The trail started out being well-walked, but with frozen footprints. Really tough walking. I would slide with every step and then jar my hips or knees as I found footing. However, the previously walked trail ended about two miles in. I had already spent an hour. Usually, I'd be at the next road, my turn-around point, at that time. The snow was about 5 inches deep, soft and unbroken. How badly did I want to go on?

I had passed this broken aspen tree, all torn apart. I'm thinking pileated woodpecker because there was no evidence that any critter with feet on the ground had been at it. The other possible culprit would be a porcupine, but I don't think it would crawl up the log and balance there to tear it apart.

woodpecker work on aspen

A skunk had been using the trail too. See those patterns of prints- four feet angling off then doing it again?

skunk tracks

Nothing special, just some polypore fungus on the ends of logs, but I liked them.

polypore fungus

So, I reached the end of any previous human tracks, and I still wasn't at the old logging railroad bed, so I knew I had as much as a mile to go yet to reach 8th St. Wow. But I wanted my six miles. So I went on. Here's a piece of the railbed where it has been bermed. The unbroken snow was easier walking but stressed the calves and the hips. So at least I was making different places hurt! Yes, there are tracks there- mine. I took this picture on the way back.

old railroad berm

Made it to the road. It took me 1 hour and 35 minutes, instead of the usual 1 hour.

Talked myself all the way back with milestones:
1. Make it to the rail bed
2. Make it off the rail bed
3. Make it to the skunk tracks
4. Make it to the 2-track crossing (this was the longest stretch with no goals)
5. Make it to the motor trail crossing
6. Make it to the big dog tracks
7. Make it to the turnoff to a small loop you can do (usually very hard to find, but I did find it today)
8. Make it to the spur to the parking
9. Make it to the car.

I also counted all the little ridges. There are 8 of them that you cross in this section. None is really big, but it's nice to have a little topography.

Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes. I think there is a good chance I'll be sore tomorrow. But I got my 6 miles! Homemade tomato soup from the freezer for dinner. Comfort food.

Hike 100 Challenge total for 2020 is at 14 miles.

North Country Trail, Lake County, MI, Timber Creek at US 10 to 8th St and back, 6 miles

In other news: I spent the morning on formatting NCC for ebook. Also chatted with someone about a possible podcast. Stay tuned.

See What a Weather Treat for the last time I hiked this section


Ann said...

Love that sky through the trees. Good for you getting in the whole 6 miles.

Secondary Roads said...

Well done. I remember times in myh life where I would set goals in little steps like that to make sure it got done.

Lin said...

I like the skunk tracks! I don't think I have ever seen those before.