Wanna help me hike?

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Best So Far

The trail between St. Ignace and the coast of Lake Superior is solid woods. And solid bugs. Taquamenon Falls offered a short break because they had a restaurant so I could go inside and the falls themselves were beautiful but still, solid woods and solid bugs. As I hiked north, the woods turned into a charred shadow of a forest. There had been a huge fire up here last August and all that remained were the burnt trunks of the largest trees. It was simultaneously eerie and beautiful. Finally, after climbing a high ridge, I could see the mighty Lake Superior. The trail ran parallel to the shore on a fifty foot high bluff. As soon as I found a spot that wasn't too steep, I made my way down to the water. There was a steady cold wind and there were finally NO BUGS!  I removed my mosquito netting for the first time in a week and felt the cool air on my face. I was overcome with joy.  

I decided then and there to call it a day. I put up my tent and spent the afternoon washing my body (skinny dipping in the freezing water) and my gear. It felt so good to rinse off the layers of dirt, DEET and sunscreen. The sun was warm and the wind was strong. Perfect for drying out all my clothes. I built a nice fire and watched the sun set over the lake instead of diving into my tent and swatting at bugs all night, as I had been doing for the past week. 

Hiking along the coast has been the best part of the trail so far. I kind of abandoned the actual North Country Trail and just stick to the shoreline. It's flat and the hard-packed sand is great to hike on. There are bald eagles soaring above and salmon swimming at the mouth of the Two Hearted River. I don't ever have to carry water and I've been able to stop at state campgrounds along the way to use the restrooms and charge up the phone. The girls at the Muskallonge State Park were especially helpful, providing me with maps, information and good company. Thanks, girls!

I have another 20 miles of coastline to hike before I get to Grand Marais and resupply at the post office. From there, I'll also stop at Marquette, L'Anse and Ontonagon before finishing at Ironwood.  Seems like a long ways away but if any of it is half as sweet as the Lake Superior coast has been, then I'll enjoy every step. 

Have you ever been to the northern coast of Michigan's Upper Peninsula? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Selfie in the burned out forest. 

I've been camping on the beach every night. 

The sun setting over Lake Superior is worth staying up for. 


  1. The Two Hearted River? No shit?! Great post and great pics! Love you!

  2. I've since learned that it was called the Duck Lake Fire and it burned last May and June. It engulfed more than 21,000 acres. Brave volunteers from the Superior Shoreline Chapter of the NCTA went in and re-routed and re-blazed the NCT as soon as they were allowed back in. Huge thanks to Tim Hass and his crew on behalf of all the hikers.

  3. Chris, after reading the portion of your blog entitled, "The Best So Far," Pastor Kathy and I decided to put a print version in the bulletin for this Sunday! There are many in our congregation who are not internet-savvy, but who are praying for you, so this way, they can read a bit about your travels! You are also on the back of our communications cards this week, a reminder to pray for you as you near the end of your travels! Pictures and videos are wonderful, but I am worried that you ate all the white fish from Lake Superior!! See you on the flip side!! Marti

    1. To Marti, PK and all my friends at GSUMC: Thank you for all your support and prayers! The hike is going really well and I feel like I'm coming down the home stretch. I have two more stops in L'Anse and Rockland and then I'll finish in Ironwood. I still have PK's bible with me and I read it every night. I can't wait to come home and tell all of you about my adventures. Love to all! Chris