Today, friend Andrea and I went out to add some flagging tape to the section that Loren and I had so much trouble finding. We started from the next road access and worked our way back toward where Loren and I had lost the blazes. We did add some flagging tape, but the trail was easy to follow. We did quite a bit of work dragging away trees that the ice had pulled down. We also broke the frozen snow off live trees that were hanging in the trail so they could begin springing back. Most of them should be OK.
We kept hiking and hiking, and the trail was still easy to follow. None of the real mess I expected based on what Loren and I had seen. We went through an area where there are quite a few really big white pine. They must have been small and not harvested by the loggers 120 years ago.
This red pine plantation is filling in with beech trees in the understory. Very pretty.
Then we walked some more. Finally, I pulled out the trail app and got our location. We were past where Loren and I had gone on Thursday, and the trail was still fine. What the heck?
A little farther and I was positive we were now overlapping what Loren and I had walked. So we turned around. Well, here's the solution to the mystery. With all the branches weighted down with snow on Thursday, making everything look so different, and even sticking to and covering good blazes, Loren and I missed a turn and got on an abandoned section of trail. No wonder we couldn't find any good markers. There shouldn't have been any good ones there!
There were several small re-routes done in this section about 15 years ago to better get around wetlands, and one place where the trail had been accidentally run across a corner of private property. I have no idea which re-route this was. However, we think we found the exact place where Loren and I went astray. In the snow, the path we took on Thursday does still look trail-like, and then since we did find those really old blazes, we kept going! So, now I'm embarrassed for a different reason. Missing the actual turn.
Here's the road crossing where we started, and later finished today's adventure. We are happy to assure you the trail can be followed, and it's much more free of debris than it was a few hours ago.
The lesson here, boys and girls, is that when you change a trail, work extra, extra hard to obliterate the old route. If the branches hadn't been so bowed, hiding treadway and blazes, I'm sure Loren and I wouldn't have had any trouble at all, (I've hiked this section several times and never made this mistake) but things can look very different in different seasons. It's a little amazing that when we walked back on Thursday that we didn't discover our mistake that day.
Andrea and I did a total of 5 miles. With trail work in the snow, it was plenty.
North Country Trail miles this year: 263
In other news: I worked on editing.
North Country Trail, Lake County MI, 5 Mile Road north for 2.5 miles and back.
|See Embarrassing Trail|