| See Finishing Calhoun County
See On the Road
a personal list of elements that help me remember that any day will have some redeeming quality
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Monday, August 31, 2020
It Was a Round Trip
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Finishing Calhoun County
Total NCT miles hiked 2020: 234
North Country Trail from Bedford Road in Battle Creek to Augusta, Michigan. 8 miles
|See Truth is Stranger|
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Truth is Stranger
Total NCT miles hiked in 2020: 226
North Country Trail, Ott Biological Preserve to Battle Creek Bedford Road parking, 8 miles
| See Four NCT End to Enders
See Meet James
See Luke Jordan
See Dan & Ruth Dorrough
Friday, August 28, 2020
Stillwell Passenger Car
This is a passenger car, known as a Stillwell Car. Of hundreds that were in service, about 15 are known to still exist. These were designed by a man named Arthur Stillwell, who was something of a manic genius. He heard voices in his head and built railroad empires and designed equipment in response. He died of an "apoplecitc fit" when he was 69. He founded what became the Kansas City Southern RR, and established over 40 towns and cities. He invented the car we usually call a Pullman, because that was the company that manufactured them. He also designed a car for transporting oysters, which was a huge moneymaker beccause rich people who lived far from the coasts still demanded oysters. Despite his successes, he died a poor man.
Now, of the few remaining passenger cars of this design, the interiors are badly damaged. Most were converted to "camp cars," cars for workmen to sleep in after passenger service declined. The railroad club is working to strip the interior to see what repairs must be made before they attempt to restore it. One of the reasons for the great success of these cars is that the frame of the car is built like a truss bridge, making them very sturdy. You can see the triangular framing where the interior walls have been removed. If you look at the first picture again, you can see curved archways above the windows. These were covered with sheet metal when they were made into camp cars, but when they were new, these had beautiful glass panels. The club discovered that nine of them were still in place behind the metal. They hope to be able to acquire two more, which will give them enough to put them back on one side of the car. Here's what those moon shaped pieces look like, stacked on a table. Really beautiful.
Tomorrow, I have plans to be back out checking out some trail sections.
|See R & GV Rail Club|
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Historic Bridge Park to Ott
North Country Trail miles hiked in 2020: 218
North Country Trail, Calhoun County, MI, Historic Bridge Park, through Kimball Pines, to Ott Biological Preserve and back, 7 miles
|See Softshell Turtle|
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Two Trails and a New Friend
This morning, we had time to catch a couple of short hikes. One of the trails is the Juliet Gordon Low Trail. She is the lady who started the American Girl Scouts in 1912. In 1917, Toledo, Ohio, was chartered as the very first Girl Scout Council.
|See On the Road Again|
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
On the Road Again
|See Catching Up|
Monday, August 24, 2020
Three days with no electricity (not so much of a problem). Three days with almost no internet service (impossible to blog).
Anyway, what I did was go to the Adirondacks to particpate in a trail work day. The North Country Trail didn't have a route across the Adirondack Park for almost 30 years. Little by little, now, agreements are being made which is giving the trail an actual treadway. It has been a dream of mine to help build that, even in some small way. But I live 15 hours away.
So when Mary Coffin, who has spearheaded this effort, posted that there was a work day this past Saturday, I had to go. It was a few hours drive back to the east, but nothing near 15. I camped near Mason Lake. A rainbow welcomed me that first evening. Next morning, I drove to town and met the other people who also came to volunteer. Of course, I knew Mary, but I also knew one other woman who came. Mary's husband Bill was there as well, but he isn't able to do the physical work any more.
A ski resort named Oak Mountain has given permission to build trail across their property, which will eliminate a road walk. A tentative route had been flagged. We checked and adjusted that, and began defining the treadway. We raked, cut branches and some roots, and put up blazes. We completed almost a mile. "Completed" isn't really the correct word, because there is a lot of benching to do to level the trail and remove rocks. But it is able to be walked and followed by a hiker. Going back to the campsite that afternoon, a mother bear and three cubs crossed the road in front of us. I was only fast enough with the camera to catch the last cub scooting under the guardrail. Mary and I went out again the next morning. Our goal was to follow a snowmobile route which would connect the trail we built on Saturday with the next road. This is not ideal, but for right now, our trail has been given permission to use that established route. We crossed Whiskey Brook near where we began our walk. Despite many junctions, we managed to make all the correct decisions, and connected with the work we'd already done. Mary took GPS readings, and we flagged it with tape. Hopefully we'll soon have permission to put up the blue blazes. When we got back to Oak Mountain, we did do some more of the blazing. In most places, the NCT blazes are painted. However, within the Adirondacks, they requested the nail-up style, so that is what is being used. this four-mile reroute which can now be followed eliminates a seven mile road walk! After Mary and Bill left, I had a mission. Two of them. I wanted to get a few pictures that were "real" Adirondacks. This scenic view comes cheaply, as it's seen from a roadside turnout. You don't have to work to be rewarded. But it's pretty neat anyway. This is not the High Peaks, but is a view to the southeast. This panorama made so small isn't nearly as spectacular as it is in real life. And the other part of my mission was to find one of my best friends. He and his wife live only 20 miles from where we were working, but I hadn't been able to get in touch with him. I decided to just drive there. I knew he wasn't in the same house as the last time I visited, but I had hopes that I could locate him. And I did! This is Paul, one of my very best friends in the world. In fact, he introduced me to the Adirondack Mountains, 55 years ago. Did you ever have a friend that just resonates with your soul? Nothing romantic between us, ever. But we just seem to "know" each other. We had a great visit, prayed together, and they fed me. What a perfect ending to this Adirondack visit. I suppose we look a little older than that week we climbed Haystack and Skylight so long ago, but we don't care. Now, I'm beginning to work my way back west. I'm with Irene again tonight.
Miles of NCT hiked- a total of about 6. Total for 2020: 211
North Country Trail near Speculator, NY, from Oak Mountain Resort to NY 30
|See R&GV Rail Club|