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Friday, August 16, 2013

The Next Big Hike

My return trip to Ironwood, MI was amazing. I have developed a sincere fondness for this city and I was excited to be invited back for the Governor of Michigan to dedicate the trailhead of what I refer to as The Ironwood Trail; he called it the Pure Michigan Trail.  There were marching bands and TV interviews and good vibes all around. Some of the crowd had specific messages they were trying to convey to our leadership:

Even the drive up to Ironwood was great. Ten hours with Roger and Sue Storm went by like ten minutes. These two are a wealth of information about hiking in Michigan and Roger did, after all, design the trail that I just hiked.

During my visit, I gave a presentation about my hike at the Maplewood Steakhouse. It was nice to talk trail with an enthusiastic audience and enjoy some Michigan craft beer.

My hosts for this incredible trip were Bob and Annette Burchell at the Classic Motor Inn and my dear friend Lee-Ann Garske from the Downtown Ironwood Development Authority.  She made this entire trip possible, including a ride from Ironwood to Traverse City with my new best friends Denise and Rachel Stephens.

Bob Burchell, Me, Annette Burchell, Lee-Ann Garske

Not only did they get me back downstate, they let me stay at their BEAUTIFUL home right on Long Lake in Traverse City. This was the view out of my window when I woke up in the morning:

I really hope to make it back to Ironwood this winter for the SISU Ski Fest. This part of the state really has a grip on me. Find out why here.

Why? Because up here, even the statues wear a Kromer

Okay, let's get to the reason you clicked on this stupid blog: To see what's next. One project I'm really excited about is called A Sight To Remember. These are visually impaired folks who want to taste the sweet life of the long distance hiker and I want to help them. I'm also working with the MTGA planning a hike of the Great Lake to Lake Trail but my main focus, the thing that leaves me tossing and turning at night, is the mighty Continental Divide Trail. The King of the Trails. Three thousand miles of no-joke hiking. I'll confess right now - I'm intimidated as hell.  Better hikers than I have attempted this trail and been turned away. Come next April, I'd like to give it a shot.

If I made it, I'd forever be known as a 'Triple Crowner'

Think I can do it? Leave me a comment!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Return To Ironwood!

On April 25th of this year, I had the chance to meet Governor Rick Snyder at the capitol in Lansing as part of being nominated for a Governor's Fitness Award. I only had a brief second to shake his hand and say something so I thanked him for proposing the trail from Detroit to Ironwood and said that I intended to be the first one to thru-hike it. He responded politely but probably had more important things on his mind. He'd better! He is, after all, the Governor.

Thanks, Dude!

Now, it looks like I might get the chance to shake his hand again and tell him that I was, indeed, the first person to thru-hike his trail. The good people of Ironwood have worked very hard on a beautiful park and trailhead and Governor Snyder is going to be there on Monday, August 12th to dedicate it. I'm honored to have been invited to return to Ironwood to participate in this event.

I love Ironwood!

Better still, I was offered a ride up there by Roger Storm. Roger is a Trailway Acquisition Specialist  for the DNR and he is actually the man who came up with a rough outline of the trail the Governor proposed. That outline became the graphic that the Free Press printed as the 'proposed trail' and that's the trail that I stuck to. We have many questions for each other so I'm really looking forward to the ride up there.

This  is the trail that Roger came up with...
...that became this graphic printed in the Free Press.

Not sure where I'm going to stay up there or how I'm going to get home. I'll figure that out later. In the meantime, I'm really excited to be returning to Ironwood and seeing the good friends I've made up there. Special thanks to Lee-Ann Garske for making all this happen.

Me and Lee-Ann at the trailhead the Governor is going to dedicate.

I posed this question before and I received some really interesting answers: If I get to see the Governor again, if only for a second, what should I say to him? Leave me a comment!