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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The North Country Trail

First of all, let's call it by it's proper name: The North Country National Scenic Trail. It's a congressionally designated National Scenic Trail just like the AT, the PCT, and the CDT.  It runs 4,600 miles from North Dakota to New York. That's way longer than any of the aforementioned trails and 1,150 miles of it runs right through my home state.

Truth be told, I started dreaming about hiking the NCT as it passes through Michigan while I was still on the PCT. Ask Martha - she was already investigating the mileage and re-supply points. But then Susie told me about my trail (that's what I'm calling it until someone names it) and the lure of being the first to thru-hike a big trail was overwhelming. I changed my plans.

The only part of the NCT I have hiked before is a short section that coincides with the Shore To Shore Trail. I could tell it was a special trail. It takes the blood and sweat of about 1500 people who make up the 12 Chapters of volunteers that blaze and maintain the NCT in Michigan. In 2012 alone, they put in almost half a million bucks and 21,000 hours of work on the trail.

The HQ for the North Country Trail Association is only a couple hours away in Lowell, MI so the housemates and I checked it out. Very cool place. Bruce Matthews and his crew were super-helpful, providing info, maps and advice. They told me that as of January, 2012, a total of ELEVEN people have hiked the NCT. Only THREE have thru-hiked it. Only ONE brave soul is trying it this year. His name is Luke 'Strider' Jordan and I applaud his effort.

What if I hiked my trail north from Belle Isle to Wisconsin, then came back on the NCT? The return trip would be the same through the Upper Peninsula (which would be fine with me!) but the Lower Peninsula would be a completely different route. I could highlight and blog about each chapter as I hiked through their section of trail. Finish my hike at the Ohio border near Osseo, MI. Be a total of 2,104 miles for the season. Now that would be a hike.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

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