North Star Vol. 37, No. 4 (2018)

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October-December, 2018

The Magazine of the North Country Trail Association

Volume 37, No. 4

north star

Two New Yorkers Loved the Superior Hiking Trail Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter Undertakes Monster Boardwalk Rachel and Merv Sample Wisconsin


Bob Courtois

North Country National Scenic Trail Day. “Following our group hike, John and Dove hosted a potluck at their barn (complete with NCT logo) in the background. I love the trail angel's box in the foreground; they live on the Trail. There are no better ambassadors for the NCT.” —Bob Courtois

In This Issue North Country National Scenic Trail Day......................6 Troop 402 Shakedown Hike..................9 Maintaining in Faith...........................11 Ninth Annual Allegheny 100.................13 Welcome Lisa Senneker..........................14 Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Puncheon......15 Trail Work in N.Y.’s Adirondacks...........16 Wisconsin and Rain .............................17 Walking and Talking...............................20 Long Distance Hiking Awards ...........22 Happy 50th Anniversary, National Trail System!.............................23 Gail Glendon Memorial Bench .............23 Harbor Springs Chapter News...............24 Crew Leader Training in Minnesota ......26 New Support Swells................................27 Farewell from Mark Weaver ...................28 Superior Hiking Trail ..............................29

Columns

Staff

Valerie Bader Director of Trail Development vbader@northcountrytrail.org David Cowles Director of Development dcowles@northcountrytrail.org Matt Davis Regional Trail Coordinator, Minnesota/North Dakota mdavis@northcountrytrail.org Tarin Hasper Annual Fund Coordinator thasper@northcountrytrail.org Andrea Ketchmark Executive Director aketchmark@northcountrytrail.org Kate Lemon Marketing and Communications Coordinator klemon@northcountrytrail.org Nicole Murphy Administrative Assistant nmurphy@northcountrytrail.org Bill Menke Regional Trail Coordinator, Wisconsin bmenke@northcountrytrail.org Alison Myers Administrative Assistant amyers@northcountrytrail.org Matt Rowbotham GIS Coordinator mrowbotham@northcountrytrail.org Lisa Senneker Financial Administrator lsenneker@northcountrytrail.org Kenny Wawsczyk Regional Trail Coordinator, Michigan kwawsczyk@northcountrytrail.org

National Board of Directors

Tim Mowbray, President (715) 378-4320 · tmowbray@earthlink.net Jaron Nyhof, VP, At Large Rep. (616) 786-3804 · jnyhof1@gmail.com

Larry Pio, Secretary (269) 327-3589 · ncta.secretary@gmail.com Ruth Dorrough, Immediate Past President (585) 354-4147 · dorroughcm@gmail.com Josh Berlo, Minnesota Rep. (574) 532-4183 · joshberlo@gmail.com Mike Chapple, Treasurer (574) 274-0151 · mike@chapple.org Jack Cohen, Pennsylvania Rep. (724) 234-4619 · jcohen@zoominternet.net Jerry Fennell, At Large Rep. (262) 787-0966 · jeroldvfennell@hotmail.com Dennis Garrett, VP East (724) 827-2350 · dcgcag@gmail.com Cheryl Kreindler, At Large Rep. (313) 850-8731 · ckreindl@ch2m.com Derrick Passe, Minnesota Rep. (651) 470-0432 · derrickpasse@gmail.com Jan Ulferts Stewart, North Dakota Rep. (701) 318-5180 · janustewart@gmail.com Mark VanHornweder, VP West (218) 390-0858 · mvanhorn74@yahoo.com Jeff Van Winkle, Michigan Rep. (616) 540-2693 · rvanwink@gmail.com Steve Walker, Ohio Rep. (330) 652-5623 · nilesprinting@gmail.com Quinn Wright, New York Rep. (716) 826-1939 · wrightquinn4@gmail.com

Trailhead ............................................3 From the Executive Director ..............4 NPS Corner .......................................5

Departments Hiking Shorts ...................................10 Where in the Blue Blazes?.................25 Next Deadline for Submissions ..........4

About the Cover: Copper Falls State Park—Bad River Vista from trail extension through the park completed in 2016. Photo by Bill Menke.

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North Star Staff Irene Szabo, Mostly Volunteer Editor, (585) 494-0307 or treeweenie@aol.com Peggy Falk, Graphic Design Lorana Jinkerson, Becky Heise, Joan Young, Tom Gilbert, Duane Lawton, Kate Lemon, Editorial Advisory Committee The North Star, Fall issue, Vol. 37, Issue 4, is published by the North Country Trail Association, a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, 229 East Main Street, Lowell, MI 49331. The North Star is published quarterly for promotional and educational purposes and as a benefit of membership in the Association. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the North Country Trail Association.


Sue Mowbray

Trailhead

Tim Mowbray President

2018

has been a great year for the North Country Trail and the Trail Association (NCTA) that supports the efforts of all the great volunteers who provide the work and activity that keep Trail development moving ahead. As a Chapter member, regional board representative and committee member over the years I have personally witnessed the growth and progression of the NCTA toward a mature and operationally sound organization. I am extremely pleased to be involved with the board and I look forward to my time as President of the Board of Directors.

I am following in the footsteps of two great board facilitators, Ruth Dorrough and Tom Moberg. Both Ruth and Tom helped grow the capacity of the organization and energized the board, staff and volunteers to take on the charge to complete and maintain the Trail. The completion of the Trail entails many differing skills so it is an especially challenging effort to steer the Association toward the steps needed to raise funds, promote advocacy, set policy, and coordinate thousands of volunteer hours. I think we are ready to accept this challenge and with our staff in Lowell and along the Trail we will keep moving ahead making the North Country Trail the premier hiking path across the northern tier of the United States, our mission. As we move into our new year of work my focus will be on supporting the staff and volunteers to accomplish the organization’s strategic plan by growing our fundraising efforts, completing our legislative objectives, and making improvements in all our relationships with Chapters, Partners, Affiliates and supporters. As Ruth stated in her last article, we need to keep a laser focus on our mission and goals and work as a cohesive team. Looking back, my time in the NCTA has passed by very quickly and the challenges ahead will continue to come and go, but the constant for me has been the work of the

www.northcountrytrail.org

Tim in Deschutes National Forest, Bend, Oregon.

volunteers who turn out to support the organization and the work that makes the North Country Trail a great place to be! My wife Sue and I have some favorite spots on the Trail we like to visit while we are working to cut fallen trees, trim brush and do other chores keeping our section open. We love to read the comments in the notebooks at the campground and look at how visitors from afar have commented on their great times on the Trail. I am looking forward to keeping up the great work that has been done to date, then advancing the Trail toward completion.

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From the Executive Director Andrea Ketchmark

Volunteers Needed

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rom its early years, the dream of the North Country National Scenic Trail has been fueled by volunteers and our volunteers keep us going today. We’re currently tallying the volunteer hours that have been reporting for the past year. By the time you read this, we’ll know how many tens of thousands of hours our volunteers have put in on the Trail, at events, in meeting rooms and sitting at a computer working to give the world a Trail. We watch as they accomplish amazing feats of engineering and personal strength, and do it with humanity and humility. You are our lifeblood. You make the Trail a reality. If you already give your time, I say thank you. A thousand times thank you. The Trail is what it is because of you and we will never forget it. But today I’d like to speak to those of you who might be reading this for the first time. You may not know that volunteers build and maintain the Trail, that these same volunteers also design newsletters, plan and attend events, lead hikes and pitch stories to the local paper. They negotiate with landowners, draft easements, work with land managers to pull off complex projects and communicate with elected

North Star Submission Guidelines Without your material, we cannot have a magazine, so we eagerly request your submission of pictures and text for every issue. Please send both to Irene Szabo at treeweenie@aol.com, or 7639 Swamp Rd, Bergen N.Y. 14416. Please do not embed pictures within your article, but send them separately as .jpg attachments. We will no longer accept embedded pictures. In all cases, please supply photographer's name. Front cover photo candidates: prefer vertical format, and if digital, at least 300 dpi or greater than 3000 pixels, AND we are always looking for great cover photos! Inside pictures look much better with one dimension over 1000 pixels, too, preferably 2000. Next deadline for Vol. 38, No. 1, is 1 January 2019. Remember that 900 words equal approximately one page of dense text, so very few articles should exceed 1800 words in this size of magazine. Thank you! Your editor, Irene (585) 494-0307

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officials. The belief that our agency partners manage and fund the Trail alone is all too prevalent among trail users. The reality is that the Trail and the NCTA rely on thousands of individuals to carry out our mission and our agency partners depend on us to manage the Trail. We have an incredible group of volunteers and although the numbers are growing every year, so has the work load. As the Trail gains popularity, we also gain more users. And as our volunteers build more miles, we have more to maintain. The need continues to grow and we must make sure it doesn’t outpace us. The Number 1 reason people don’t volunteer is because they aren’t asked. So I’m asking you: Please join us.

There are so many ways to get involved. Whether you want to use your professional skills or simply dig in the dirt, we have work for you. In return, you’ll feel good knowing you are helping provide an incredible recreation experience for millions of Americans. You will earn cool stuff from the National Park Service if you report your hours, like water bottles, park passes and jackets. And above all, one sentiment seems to be shared by all of our volunteers. They come for the Trail. They stay for the people. We are a community of trail lovers who support each other and we’d like to see that community grow. One of the best lessons I learned when I was trained as a Trail Crew Leader years ago was that the wealth of the crew is in the knowledge of the volunteers, not the knowledge of the leader alone. A good leader finds a way to bring out the best in their crew. In order to do that, we must be sure there is a crew to lead so if you haven’t volunteered with us yet or if it’s been a while, consider sharing a little bit of yourself with us so we can find the best place for you to have an impact. You won’t regret it. https://northcountrytrail.org/volunteers/new-volunteer/


National Park Service

Corner

Telling Our Story The nature and purposes of the North Country National Scenic Trail are to provide a non-motorized trail offering world-class walking and hiking experiences within a protected trailway and landscape through the northern heartlands of America. The Trail reflects a tapestry of people both past and present, woven together with the places and stories that define them. The grandeur of rugged mountains, vast prairies, deep woods and placid lakes, the tranquility of rural farms, the variety of working landscapes, the boundless horizons of the Great Lakes, the splendor of true wilderness, and the nostalgia of historic canal towpaths and communities intertwine to create a natural and cultural tapestry of great breadth and depth.

Mark Weaver Superintendent, NCT

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Archival Photo

reating a “tapestry of people both past and present” has begun with the completion of The North Country National Scenic Trail: From East to West, the Peoples and the Stories. This document of almost 1600 pages, definitely not a one evening by the fireplace kind of read, can help those of you interested in telling the story of the Trail where you live. You may already know what story needs to be told along a particular segment of Trail. You may not. This resource will assist you regardless where you start with your story-telling adventure. It consists of nine geographically-based sections from Linked by common commitment, the trail engages and the Adirondacks to North Dakota. Each section contains a supports a multitude of public and private partners and number of narrative topics pertinent to the section, followed volunteers working to create a continuous pathway telling by an extensive bibliography, and dozens of quotations and this story. graphics. For example, “Section IV, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern and Southern Ohio” provides introductory narratives on Native Americans, Moonshine and the Whiskey Rebellion, Canals, Oil Industry, Lumber Industry and Forest Conservation, and Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad. These narratives are not necessarily comprehensive. Rather, we hope they will inspire you to seek more information on a storytelling topic. In fact, the accompanying bibliography will keep you busy for months if you’re so inclined to delve into a particular subject. Once you’re ready to tell the story, say, in the form of an interpretive wayside panel, we provide dozens of graphics and quotations pertinent to each narrative. Between the narrative, expanding it via the bibliography, selecting the right graphics and quotations, you have the makings of an engaging interpretive wayside. Now, this document will never be completed, since more and more stories will be discovered over time. In fact, we expanded the original document this fall with the inclusion of three more narratives. We welcome your suggestions Dayton Flood: An example of an historic photo available via the Historical for additional ones. Research document. So where do you find this tome? By the time you read this it should be uploaded to the National Park Service NCT website: nps.gov/noco/learn/index.htm We encourage you to check it out and see how it can help you tell the story of a Trail segment near you. As usual, feel free to contact me with your questions or comments: mark_ weaver@nps.gov or (616) 319-7906 extension 3.

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Brandon Mulnix

www.northcountrytrail.org


North Country National Scenic Trail Day 2018 By Mary Coffin

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Tracy Hager

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his year we had three trail events to celebrate: NCNST Day (our Trail), National Public Lands Day (hosts much of our Trail) and 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act (created our Trail). We NCTA members and volunteers have so much for which to be thankful and have shown it with many celebration events across the seven (soon to be eight) states. The purpose of this special day is to promote North Country National Scenic Trail and concurrently National Public Lands Day. Many outdoor organizations compete for our participation on the American Hiking Society National Trails Day in June, so the Board established our own trail celebration. We have reports in from six states and many Chapters and Affiliates. From east to west members participated in a variety of events, hikes, paddles, trail work, exhibits, trail dedications, potlucks and picnics to raise the public profile of the NCNST, the 4600+ mile trail we collectively support. NCTA members also exhibit wonderful camaraderie and social inclusiveness through these events. In New York, there were four events. Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Schenectady Chapter worked on clearing blowdown in its adopted section of NCNST in Hoffman Notch Wilderness (five volunteers, 10 miles of Trail). Also, the ADK Onondaga Chapter led a six-mile hike on the Pillsbury Lake NCNST section in West Canada Lakes Wilderness. Outside the Adirondacks, nine ADK Onondaga Chapter members hiked four miles of the NCT/Finger Lakes Onondaga Trail near New Woodstock, while nine NCTA CNY Chapter members also hike four miles of NCNST along a former rail bed near Cazenovia. In Pennsylvania, the Wampum Chapter celebrated by participating in the annual McConnells Mill Heritage Festival which is held along one section of Chapter sponsorship. Artisans, vendors, crafts people and a Civil War encampment attract participants to the event and NCNST also gets exposure. Lots was happening in Michigan on NCNST Day. The Jordan Valley 45 Chapter offered both long (12 mi.) and short (~4 mi.) hikes that ran the crest of a high ridge south of Petoskey with lots of old growth sections. The hikes were followed by a potluck meal hosted by John and Dove Day. The Western Michigan Chapter helped to sponsor a Trail Town Celebration in White Cloud with a display booth, hikes and runs in the NCNST. Meanwhile The Spirit of the Woods Chapter is taking Invasive Species Training and will be making improvements to the trail tread and performing some invasive species remediation based on surveys by the U.S. Forest Service within the Manistee National Forest. This is an important topic for all trail maintainers and trail users as well as waterway users. Grand Traverse Hiking Club dedicated its final Tuesday Night Trek of the summer to celebrate with a 4.8-mile hike along the High Bank Ridge with its beautiful overlook, dropping down to a valley of hardwoods, crossing a stream to a grove of cedars and finally topped the evening off with refreshments and camaraderie. The Lost Nation State Game Area was the venue for the Chief Baw Beese Chapter’s 3-mile hike to celebrate the day and once again the

While we have seen pictures before of Wampum Chapter’s demonstration of creating hiking sticks with old-style hand tools, this is the first time we’ve seen Abe Lincoln’s participation. This was part of Wampum’s display at the Heritage Festival in McConnells Mill State Park, Pennsylvania.

friendly NCTA members provided refreshments. Such après trail work or après hiking gatherings help build the friendly, inclusive atmosphere of NCTA Chapters. In the UP of Michigan, the NCT Hikers Chapter held their annual “Celebrate Walking in Marquette” with a table/booth at the Mattson Lower Harbor right along the Trail. They talked to walkers, runners and bikers who were using the NCNST and gained one new member as well as some donations. The Tahquamenon Falls State Park has become the annual focus of the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter’s celebration of NCNST Day and Public Lands Day, so is looked forward to by both NCTA members and local folks, drawing huge numbers of participants. Hikers walk the most popular trail in the park, The River Trail, which parallels the picturesque Tahquamenon River, five miles between the spectacular Upper and Lower Falls. Shuttles are provided to the beginning and participants walk back to their cars. As we keep moving west folks from Wisconsin’s Brule-St. Croix Chapter had a wonderful turnout of 19 members who first paddled the St. Croix River adjacent to the NCNST and hiked back. No mention was made of how the canoes/kayaks


Mary Rebert

Chief Noonday Chapter gathers for their hike, described below.

were returned! Bill Menke spoke about Gaylord Nelson’s role as author of the National Trails System Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (St. Croix is a Wild and Scenic River), both signed into law on October 2, 1968. One of the participants was Donna Newman, who had paddled in the future Riverway as part of a group with Senator Nelson in the mid 1960s, when he was developing the legislation. This was truly an historic hike/ paddle to celebrate all of these monumental events to support outdoor recreation. In the land of lakes, Minnesota, the Laurentian Lakes Chapter offered a 3-mile hike in the Detroit Lakes area (Greenwater) to dedicate a section of the NCNST to the memory of Ruth Bergquist, long-time member and inspirational naturalist. Finally, in our most western state, the Dakota Prairie Chapter shuttled hikers to a newly constructed 5-mile section of NCNST near Walcott, North Dakota. Door prizes were offered as incentive and participants were asked to wear NCT logo wear, bandana, or a pin-on sign to show their “joy and express appreciation for this wonderful National Scenic Trail!” Once again participants were invited to gather for some food and beverages at a local establishment. The Chapter will continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act with events throughout October. What spirit! This demonstrates once again the friendly inclusiveness of North Country folks. Thanks to all for your participation and promotion of the NCNST. Please join an NCTA group for NCNST Day or any day, any time and become part of this diverse and friendly group. You might just meet your new best friend on the Trail. Reports Which Came to The Editor Directly from the Chapters Follow:

Chief Noonday Chapter celebrated North Country National Scenic Trail Day by sponsoring two hikes on the Trail starting at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. The short hike went to the Robotic Dairy and back, while the long hike went north to the Kellogg Forest, experiencing the reroute along M-89 and in the Kellogg Forest. It was a perfect sunny fall day after a hot and humid September.

www.northcountrytrail.org

Before the hikes began, a drawing was held for gifts from NCTA headquarters in Lowell, Michigan, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. Five excited hikers received a gift and each hiker received an NCT sticker. Among our 28 hikers were a Sierra Club hike leader, warming up for a hike he was leading in October on Isle Royale, a lady training for the Moose Count on Isle Royale in May with a brand new backpack, another gentleman who has hiked in Peru and Spain (potential Chapter speaker) a very happy dog, a news reporter who had seen an article about the hike and wanted to experience the Trail, some members who haven’t been on a hike for a while, and a visiting professor from Michigan State University who saw the brochure at the Biological Station and wanted to try it out. He has hiked the Appalachian Trail but was not familiar with the NCT. It continues to amaze the hike committee the variety of hikers whom we meet on the Trail. Thanks to all the members who helped on this celebratory hike. —Jane Norton North Country National Scenic Trail Day Fun Hike The Chequamegon Chapter celebrated North Country National Scenic Trail Day with a fun hike on Saturday, September 22, in the Rainbow Lake Wilderness. This hike was led by Mel Baughman, a retired forestry professor from the University of Minnesota and a Chapter Trail Adopter for part of this section of the Trail. The hike started at the northern entrance to the Rainbow Lake Wilderness and ended at the western trailhead of Anderson Grade in the Chequamegon National Forest. Shuttle service was provided for this approximately 6.5mile hike. We had great weather and Mel did an excellent job of interpretation with a focus on forest ecology and trail design. Arranging this hike ran into a little difficulty because of forest road closings and a new lake in the originally planned Rainbow Lake Wilderness due to flash flooding in June. Alternate plans included using the western part of Anderson Grade, a section of trail usually not maintained by the Chapter because it is not North Country National Scenic Trail. The NCT Navigators, a October-December 2018

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group of women who frequently hike the NCT and are now Trail Adopters, came to the rescue along with Chequamegon Chapter volunteers to maintain this section of Anderson Grade before the planned fun hike. The Chequamegon Chapter is working with the USFS on having trail reroutes approved that were marked by the Regional Trail Manager, Bill Menke. The Rainbow Lake Wilderness hike was the fifth “Explore A National Scenic Trail” event held this year by the Chapter. —Marty Swank Vickie Swank

Vickie Swank

One of many interpretive stops along the NCT in the Rainbow Lake Wilderness. Mel focused on forest ecology and trail building, as well as maintaining.

Amy Yohe

Swans on Tower Lake! There were several more to the right in the picture.

Beth Keloneva

Wild orchid, along Hemlock Run, just inches off the Trail. Very proud of the NCT hikers that it is undisturbed.

Amy Yohe

The Western Michigan Chapter had displays at White Cloud for National Scenic Trails Day. Next to their display was this one by the Huron-Manistee National Forest staff, featuring Smokey Bear.

Wild violets on the NCT.

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Amy Yohe Amy Yohe

Troop 402 finishes their shakedown hike at Chappel Bay.

Troop 402 Shakedown Hike

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often can a Scout eat Spam without… You get the idea. This hike helped the Scouts reach several milestones. Some reached the final requirements to build an outdoor emergency shelter and sleep in it all night for the Wilderness Survival merit badge. Others worked on their skills with map and compass, while some were impressed with the remarkable native plants of pink lady slipper, pad leaf orchis, and the wild violets we were treated to along the route. Of course there are always the people you meet along the Trail who keep things interesting. There are those who walk past with a nod, and others who announce “on the left,” and by the time you turn around they are already speeding up the Trail and out of sight. Then there is the hiker from out of state who didn’t realize Pennsylvania has

hills and the miles take twice as long as planned to complete. He needs a ride 80 miles south to where he left the car, because he can’t get there in the time he allotted, and he forgot the charging cord and his cell has been dead for three days. Then there is always the unplanned stop to revel in the awesome beauty the NCT passes. The shakedown hike reveals to each hiker his very own experience. Some will continue on to the 50 mile trek, others will be happy to day hike, and others will see the Trail as an endless opportunity to commune with nature and the people who enjoy it most. With the 50 mile patch as the goal, the shakedown has been successful and Scoutmaster Dave can rest easy knowing his Scouts are prepared. Amy Yohe

very other year Scout Troop 402 of Bradford, Pennsylvania, embarks on a classic 50 mile hike in the beautiful Allegheny National Forest. This spring, Scoutmaster Dave’s focus was to ensure his troop would “be prepared” for the long week of hiking, cooking, camping and fun, since the summer of 2018 was slated for their next big hike. What to pack is of the highest importance. Many Scout meetings are devoted to the art of backpacking, what to wear, the lightest food, and how much money you don’t have to spend to have the best experience. There is always a recounting of how the scoutmaster found his hiking cook pot on the trail at the expense of someone else’s lost dog dish. Remember, “thrifty” is one of the Scout Laws. Each young Scout working on the Backpacking merit badge is required to bring his pack to the meeting for review, prior to the shakedown hike. What is a shakedown hike you might ask? It is a two day adventure that starts at a trailhead. A Scout hikes to an approved camp site, sets up camp, cooks, and sleeps overnight. Then, cooks breakfast and hikes out to the next trail head. This is the best way to learn your lesson on what you didn’t pack, and/or what you didn’t need, without the week long agony with or without it. Is the chair or stool really worth the weight after day two? How large a cell phone charger do I need or did I forget the cord that attaches it to the phone? To use trekking poles for stability, or wear hiking boots with rugged tread? Or, how

Troop 402 Scoutmaster, David Graves, brings up the rear on a railroad grade near Chappel Bay trailhead on route 321, in northern Pennsylvania.

Amy Yohe, writer and photographer of this article, with one of the many markers in northern Pennsylvania.

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Hiking Shorts

Our Next Generation Members

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The Clarion Chapter has received an award for creating a loop trail with a connector to the North Country Trail. Layne Giering, Susan Giering and Ed Scurry designed, organized and built the trail. The award is from the Pennsylvania Council on Greenways and Trails. The Loop Trail starts on the Clarion University campus and goes to the Clarion River through deep woods, and is being well-used by both students and local residents. —Dave Galbreath

Trail Register Notes from N.Y.’s Finger Lakes Trail

The following are a selection from log book entries from the Virgil Mt. Loop trail (FLT Map M19). MJ looked at some of the entries in it and thought everyone might enjoy these: In child’s handwriting: “I want to see a turkey in a top hat.” “Just me and the little voice inside my head.” “Hiking alone. Have to get out of the house and away from parents. Thank God for the FLT!” “Alone at last!” “One guy. One dumb dog.” "Walking the trail naked!” —Chuck and MJ Uttech Sponsors on M19 Dave Galbreath

Luc Albert, an NCTA 2018 Rising Star Award winner and highly dedicated member of the Sheyenne River Valley Chapter, has again been spreading the word and improving the North Country Trail! The Albert family adopted the five mile segment of the North Country Trail between the village of Sibley and the Karnak Wildlife Management Area along the north end of Lake Ashtabula. While hiking the segment last year Luc decided that the remote campsite could use a sign directing Trail users to the privy site, which is necessarily hidden from view from both campers and hikers. He also thought it would be a good location for a trail log box with brochures and a geocache, which may serve to bring more hikers to the Trail. Luc entered his privy sign combined with trail log box at the Cass County 4-H Achievement Days at the Red River Valley Fair in Fargo in the Outdoor Skills Division, which is a subdivision of Environment and Earth Sciences. The item or display can be on camping, hiking, or other outdoor adventures for exhibitors age 8-12. The projects are judged on general appearance, workmanship, appropriate project materials, originality and/or creativity, and knowledge of project.

Clarion Loop Trail Award

Marilyn Beckley

Catherine Albert

Luc Albert improved the Trail with this privy sign combined with a trail log box near Lake Ashtabula. He included a geocache too!

His project won him an Honorable Mention and allowed him to advance to the North Dakota State Fair in Minot. His project was presented there with an Award of Excellence! Luc is a member of the Heartland Equestrians 4-H Club of Cass County and has been a 4-H member for six years. The family installed the privy sign/ trail box/geocache at the Sibley remote campsite during the Labor Day weekend. Cat Albert, Luc’s mom, reported that the geocache has already brought hikers onto the Trail and has received recognition on the North Dakota Geocaching Association Facebook site. Members commented that a two mile hike (four mile round trip) sounded just about right for a geocaching excursion! —Becky Heise

Left to right: Layne Giering, Susan Giering and Ed Scurry. All three of them designed, organized and built the trail. The award is from the Pennsylvania Council on Greenways and Trails.


Maintaining In Faith or, Is It The Trail Or The Hiker First? Story and photos by Dave Brewer, Wampum Chapter

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en years ago, as I first became involved in the North Country National Scenic Trail as a maintainer, I was following a discussion thread on a backpacking website in which the participants were debating the merits of maintaining a hiking trail if “nobody” was using it. That particular section of a trail, name of which I’ve forgotten at this point, was out in the bright sunlight which allowed a discouraging amount of weeds to grow quickly, and it wasn’t very easy or fun to hike on so it wasn’t getting much use. Should time and effort be expended to keep it open so that people would hike on it, or should usage determine the amount of work to dedicate to it? I had that thread and those thoughts in my mind as we took on trying to reopen a few miles of woods and fields Trail in Beaver County that looked like nobody ever walked there. Those miles of NCT, built years previously and shown on the official map, were covered by weeds, multiflora rose, and fallen trees. Blazes were sparse and signing was minimal. Trailhead parking was nonexistent. Neighbors, when questioned about how many hikers they encountered, were basically unaware that a national scenic trail abutted their properties. “North County Trail? I’ve never heard of it and I’ve never seen a hiker.” With reservations we pitched into those neglected miles of NCT. The group worked several years in the heat and occasional thunderstorm, pushing back the overgrowth incrementally season to season, lopping, weed whacking, and mowing. Cold winters were spent walking to clear blowdowns and scout out opportunities for route improvement. Each spring the weeds and olive trees would try to take over again and unless we worked diligently to keep the pathway open we’d have a trail that couldn’t be hiked or followed. Blazes were painted, sidehill sections were rebenched, and deadfalls were cut out and removed while the mosquitos and spider webs across the face were endured. Still, although we encountered a few people a year out using this trail section and they were very enthusiastic, it didn’t seem like it was catching on. How much effort should the group continue to expend on this? Over the next several years landowner permission was obtained to extend that short trail section another six miles and that was exciting! The Chapter worked hard to build those new miles while continuing to maintain the old section, with new volunteers joining the effort while a few of the “old hands” moved on to other concerns and causes. Importantly, friendships, associations, and partnerships developed through those years that serve us well today and will into the future. We added signing, refreshed paint blazing, carved out parking areas, and constructed a hiker shelter in the woods. Although the Wampum Chapter’s numbers and capabilities continued to grow, it remained a struggle to maintain the older section to the standard we thought that hikers expected while working on all that new. We had no evidence of usage, just a vision in our minds of what it could potentially be.

On the Trail at Booth Hill near the Ohio state line.

Hikers on the North Country Trail at Pennsylvania Game Lands 285.

…Continued on page 12 www.northcountrytrail.org

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becoming a rarity not to meet a hiker or runner while out working on the Trail. Advertising, outreach, and word of mouth of an enjoyable hiking experience had evidently started to drive the numbers of Trail users. In the late spring of this year a maintenance trip was made to that old section of Trail and we discovered that despite this being our first visit of this season, the pathway has been used frequently enough that it was easy to follow and enjoyable to hike, with just a few ambitious multiflora stems making the attempt to grow out over the Trail. Three runners, a day hiker, and a family of four enjoying an overnight backpack trip were out on that old section of Trail, experiencing the woods and expressing their thanks to the volunteers as we passed on the Trail. Ten years ago it looked pretty bleak, but we kept the faith that if we built it, told people it was there, and kept it there in good shape that people would Wampum Trail Crew completing a bridge installation along the NCT. come to experience the North Country Trail. That Continued from page 11‌ internet debate is settled in my mind (it only took 10 years or Then a couple of years ago we noticed the beginning of so). Is there more to do? Of course. When it comes to working the change. The journal books located along the Trail began with a hiking trail there’s always something more to do, but to be filled with writing, with comments posted every week. I have faith in the mission. My thanks to the dozens, maybe There were over 350 entries in one of the books from each of hundreds, over the years who maintained their faith in the the years 2016 and 2017. Whereas in the past we’d encounter vision and the mission too and contributed their time, talents, a person or two over the course of an entire year, it was now and hard work to this achievement.

Maintaining a tough section of North Country Trail.

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Katarzyna Dec

159 hikers prepare to hike 25, 50, 75 or 100 miles in 50 hours.

Ninth Annual A-100 Challenge Draws Record Numbers to North Country Trail in Allegheny National Forest By Shelby Gangloff Shelby Gangloff

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he Allegheny National Forest (ANF) Chapter of the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) held its ninth annual Allegheny 100 (A-100) Hiking Challenge June 8-10. The A-100 is an unsupported endurance hiking challenge with no timekeepers, no aid stations, and no finish line other than the one hikers set for themselves. The event challenges hikers to traverse 25, 50, 75, or 100 miles along the North Country Trail (NCT) through the ANF in 50 hours, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday and ending at 8 p.m. on Sunday. This year the event started in the south at Vowinckel, Pennsylvania, and ended in the north at Willow Bay on Route 346 west of Bradford. The direction changes each year to give hikers a chance to see the whole trail. A-100 participant Russ Horne rings the dinner bell for a cheeseburger while Alisha Glasgow and Bob Klasen approach the sign telling them to This year, an all-time high of 159 hikers started ring the bell for a burger. out from the trailhead at Vowinckel with 72 people planning to do 100 miles, 18 people attempting 75 Trail, and brought her back to the campsite where many volunteers miles, 60 signed up for the 50 miles, and nine hikers intending to were spending the weekend. Thanks to clear thinking and hike 25 miles. Nineteen people completed the 100-mile trek before fortuitous cell signal, one hiker did not have to risk hypothermia the 8 p.m. Sunday cutoff. Ten people completed at least 75 miles, out on the Trail. That person, Evie Kaszer, had these kind words 86 hikers reached at least the 50-mile mark, and 38 people hiked at for the NCT Chapter after the weekend was over: “I absolutely least 25 miles. love you guys!! Thank you for adopting me into the family! I can’t The 100-mile finishers this year were: Peter Burke, Yaakov express how grateful I am for how well you took care of me. I can’t Mitchell, Kim Hrycik, Mark Meengs, Lisa Wandel, Larry wait to get up there for some trail work days.” Davidson, Dean Huminsky, Frank Pisano, Phil Wood, Shawn Tracy Pepple, 100-mile finisher, gave us this feedback, “Thank Weishaar, Jake Prindle-Cassidy, Tim Cernohous, Russ Horne, you all for putting on a such great event! I appreciate all your Robert Klasen, Tracy Pepple, John Kiczek, Dan Rosenthal, Marc hard work in making it happen.” Participant Ryan Sayers Boutillette, and Rebekah Cullen. commented, “Congrats to all the finishers and thanks to all the The weekend started off beautifully, with cool but pleasant volunteers!!! Another amazing year on the Trail and in the books. weather for hiking, allowing many people to put more miles Look forward to seeing familiar faces for the 10th anniversary behind them the first night. Saturday evening into Sunday next year!” morning, the weather started being uncooperative, and rain put Rebekah Cullen, 100-mile finisher, told us at the trailhead a literal and figurative damper on many hikers’ plans. Still, many that she finished the 100 by planning to hike at a certain pace, finished with spirits high, having hiked their own hike. sleep for at least five hours each night, and continue until the Saturday evening, one of our volunteers received a message from end. She resisted pressure to hike with others at a faster pace, and one of our Chapter members who was out on the Trail, about a ultimately reached her goal well before the cutoff time, looking hiker not seriously injured, but unable to continue her hike with and feeling great. rain starting to fall. Two volunteers went out, found her on the Continued on page 14 www.northcountrytrail.org

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Many hikers enjoyed a new feature on the Trail this year. Andrea Ketchmark, Executive Director of the NCTA, gifted the Chapter an antique triangle dinner bell. The ANF Chapter placed it on the switchback above the 50-mile mark with the following sign: “Ring dinner bell for a cheeseburger at 50-mile mark!” Excited hikers would ring the bell, and volunteers below could hear it and know it was time to put more burgers on the grill! Two hikers, though they did not reach the 100-mile mark before the 8 p.m. cutoff, deserve an honorable mention for continuing to Willow Bay despite the event time having elapsed. Kudos for continuing! The A100 is a challenge, not a race, and all who participated challenged themselves against the Trail, the weather, and ultimately themselves, and should be proud no matter what distance they covered. The A100 will return in 2019 the second weekend in June for its tenth year! Hikers will have another chance to conquer their chosen distance. The A100 would not be possible without the help of the U.S. Forest Service, the NCTA, the many volunteers who put in countless hours throughout the year, and support from our sponsors and ongoing supporters including KwikFil, Northwest Savings Bank, Warren Eagles, Betts Industries, Crescent Beer, Straub, Bluegill Graphix, United Refining Company, American Refining Group, Inc., Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, Warren YMCA, and Warren Elks.

Before: We can see how the water level was often higher than the treadway on Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter's puncheon, and that the tread boards were nailed down in the direction of travel, contributing to the slippery conditions.

Welcome Lisa Senneker, Our New Financial Administrator I'm so pleased to announce that Lisa Senneker has accepted the position as Financial Administrator for the North Country Trail Association, taking over for Laura as she moves on to other exciting things. Lisa has an impressive resume. She has a BS in Accounting from Bethel College. She has been Vice President of Finance and Director of Business Affairs for VanBelkum Companies, Finance Manager Information Systems Intelligence, Controller for both Trigo Hopitality and McKinkley Trucking and most recently has been a consultant leading her own financial consulting firm. She lives in Lowell and is excited to join a team that has such passion for what we do. Lisa's first day will be Thursday, November 1st. We're lucky that Laura Lindstrom has been very gracious with her schedule and we have some overlap time that allows her to bring Lisa up to speed. I'm confident it will be a smooth transition. Please join me in welcoming Lisa! Her email will be lsenneker@northcountrytrail.org —Andrea Ketchmark

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This is part of the immense stockpile of treated lumber purchased for this huge project. One volunteer for the puncheon project brought her nine-month-old twin daughters along!


Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Makes Great Progress on Puncheon Project Story and pictures by Tom Walker, President, Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter

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he primary project for Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore (HSS) this year included the removal and replacement of over 900 feet of puncheon in the Hiawatha National Forest (HNF) south of the Richardson Avery Grade in the Strongs, Michigan, area. The existing puncheon had been installed by HNF personnel sometime around the year 2000 using donated, creosote treated railroad ties for sills. The design used 2x8 lumber laid lengthwise in the direction of the Trail laid on top of the sills. This puncheon crosses soil that is either saturated with water or under water most of the year. Over the years the sills rotted and allowed the tread to sink below the standing water level that occurs seasonally each year. Wet conditions also contributed to the growth of a slippery green slime on the tread boards. HSS received several reports each year from hikers who had slipped on the tread and fallen off the puncheon. Furthermore, HNF biologists wanted the creosote laden lumber removed from the area fearing contamination of the water and soil in a sensitive environment. HSS had material on hand to do part of this project but needed more to make sure it could be completed. Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail (IBT) (hiking portion) overlays the North Country National Scenic Trail in the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offered grants for projects on the IBT and HSS received a $10,450 grant this year to purchase the additional materials for the project. The new puncheon design uses treated 8x8 sills, 2x8s (laid double thick) for stringers and rough sawn 2x6 lumber for the tread, all lumber pressure-treated for long life. The tread boards are installed perpendicular to the direction of travel on the Trail. The combination of the rough sawn lumber and the tread direction decreases the likelihood of hikers losing traction while hiking on the puncheon. The obstruction free width of the tread exceeds 40 inches so this new structure is suitable for use by most allterrain wheelchairs. The design includes curbs to assist in keeping travellers on the tread. After obtaining approval of the design from HNF, the additional materials were ordered and a work week was scheduled to coincide with NCNST Day, National Public Lands Day, and Michigan Trails Week, September 22-29, 2018. Volunteers started cutting and hauling materials during the weeks before that to prepare for the week of work. Kenny Wawsczyk, NCTA Michigan Regional Trail Coordinator, arranged for a Superior Watershed Partnership - Great Lakes Conservation Corps (GLCC) crew to come October 1-5 so the work week was extended to two weeks. A common reaction to a project like this is to say to yourself, “There’s not much I can do, I can’t help.” We asked for volunteers to give their “not much” as many “not muches”make quite a bit. Besides, you'll have more fun doing your “not much” on the Trail than not doing much elsewhere. We had 15 volunteers plus the four person GLCC crew work on this project. Many worked multiple days and some worked almost every day. Many of our volunteers camped nearby at the Rivermouth Campground of Tahquamenon Falls State Park. www.northcountrytrail.org

This side view of new puncheon shows that, not only is it higher than before, but that the tread is nailed down across the direction of travel. Also, the top surface is rough cut, helping to fight future slipperiness.

Volunteers hailed from across the state of Michigan including Ann Arbor, Horton Bay, Central Lake, Charlevoix, Rudyard, Pickford, Barbeau, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, and the GLCC Crew from Marquette. One volunteer brought her nine-month-old twin daughters to provide entertainment for a few hours while she worked on the Trail! The project progressed quickly and by the end of the two work weeks almost 1000 feet of new puncheon was in place and the old puncheon materials, estimated at 11 tons, were staged for haul away at a later date. As of this writing not all the curbing has been completed yet but it was started and will be completed soon. This project could not have been done in so short a time frame without all the hard work from our many volunteers! We are so appreciative of all that they do! This section of the NCT will allow for “dry boot”hiking for years to come.

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Trail Work In New York’s Adirondacks Story and pictures by Norm Kuchar

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he Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), Schenectady Chapter, has taken on two major tasks in the Hoffman Notch Wilderness (eastern Adirondacks), both related to the NCNST:

1. Stewardship (maintenance) of the Bailey Pond trail and south end of the Hoffman Notch trail. Both of these existing trails will become sections of the NCNST. We do maintenance trips on these two trails twice a year (spring and fall). 2. We formed a volunteer team to help the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Mountain Club’s professional trail crew build a new trail to the top of Jones Hill (previously reached only by bushwhacking). This trail will also become a section of the NCNST. Schenectady ADK members Walt Hayes and I made several trips to explore routes to the summit and made our findings available to DEC. After the route was finalized by DEC, we organized a group of people from the Schenectady area to follow the DEC chainsaw crew and actually clear the trail corridor of dropped logs, smaller blowdown, and brush. We also did some side cutting as needed. This work involved a total of 11 different individuals. We made eight trips to do the work, and the total number of person-hours for this effort was about 320. We cleared about 2.0 miles of the 2.7-mile trail, making it possible for the ADK professional crew to finish the trail within their time window and budget. The new Trail will climb to the top of Jones Hill, but NOT Hoffman Mountain. We’re excited about establishing the NCNST across the Adirondacks.

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Hoffman Mountain: The Trail does NOT go over it, but it does climb Jones Hill, affording this panoramic view!

Volunteer Ray Sergott uses an axe to pry a cut log out of the new trail corridor.

Volunteer Dave Loux hefts a log out of the corridor.

In the “before” photo, volunteer John Susko begins work on a large mess of blowdown from a summer storm.

The “after” photo shows how we left the Trail, passable by most hikers. We leave the large logs for the DEC chainsaw crew, since use of chainsaws in the Wilderness Area is highly restricted.


Wisconsin and Rain Story and pictures by Rachel H. Frey

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y husband Merv and I were traveling east. After a six-week trip to eight national parks in Arizona, Utah and Montana, we started another six-week hiking adventure on parts of the North Country Trail. Beginning at the western terminus at Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota, we hiked portions of the Trail in North Dakota and Minnesota, and now we were heading east toward Pennsylvania and home! The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), which is intended to be part of the North Country Trail in Minnesota, had turned out to be much more strenuous than we had expected. The SHT is on the northwestern side of Lake Superior but we would see more of that big lake as we continued east. What would Wisconsin be like? The weather did not look promising. While crossing over the St. Louis River near its entry into Lake Superior near Duluth, we could see nothing because fog covered the water. We planned to camp in Copper Falls State Park in eastern Wisconsin and hike in that area, but Pattison State Park with Big and Little Manitou Falls was along the NCT close to our traveling route. Despite having seen many falls along Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, these two falls were definitely worth going to see. We had planned this hike for September thinking that the fall foliage would be great, but a local person at Pattison Park confirmed our suspicions about the lack of color. “This year fall began as usual,” she said, “but then it warmed up and the trees just got brown and the colors are muted. It’s warmer now than it’s been all summer!” The thermometer we kept in the truck cap read 91 degrees. We actually saw people swimming in Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin, on September 24! Normally people don’t swim in this lake even in mid-summer! Arriving at Copper Falls on a Sunday after 3:30 p.m. we hurriedly picked a campsite in less than 15 minutes as the park attendant informed us she was leaving by 4! Wisconsin, here we are, rain or not!

www.northcountrytrail.org

Big Manitou Falls.

A reflection near the end of our hike back to Kornstead Road.

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Mike Trieschmann, who shuttled us, and Merv in the mist at Kornstead Road.

Little Manitou Falls at Pattison State Park, Wisconsin.

Bonus! Another reflection!

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For the majority of our trip, we had little cell phone connection. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could make a connection with Marty Swank? He was the President of the Chequamegon Chapter of the NCTA in Wisconsin and I had read there might be shuttle service available. We discovered the Mellen Public Library had wifi connection and was only a few miles away. There we were able to make contact with Marty. Despite the fact that most folks make arrangements further in advance than we did, he helped us with emails. We left voice messages too and eventually found Mike Trieschmann was willing to shuttle us Tuesday. We figured it would either be a rainy hike to remember or miraculously the rain would stop. Plotting Monday’s hike, I decided from a recent map I had procured that there might be a new NCT route just constructed going toward Stricker Road north of Copper Falls State Park. We decided to hike first to Stricker Road, if we could find it, then take a closer look at the falls when we returned from our out-and-back hike north. Compared to the SHT in Minnesota, Wisconsin’s NCT portion was very easy. Trails are usually nicely groomed in state parks and Copper Falls was no exception. Peeking at the view from the Bad River overlook, we continued on newly constructed Trail with bridges, steps and even a nice rest area with a Trail register! Someone had put a note there about hiking in from Stricker Road. Ah ha! That meant this new Trail should go to Stricker Road. After more new bridges and beaver evidence, we came to a very long (maybe 0.2-mile) puncheon walk through the swamp, which ended on a road. I crossed the road and there in the woods, it looked like someone was marking a future trail. I was sure we had found Stricker Road! A wonderful place to turn around. Retracing our steps over the long puncheon, we returned to Copper Falls State Park. After crossing over Devils Gate (a river with blackish water), we saw Brownstone Falls and Copper Falls from the loop trail. Because of the relatively easy trails, we had done 17.2 miles round trip in one day and it was not hard! Safely back at our campsite, it rained and rained, with rivulets of water running


Copper Falls at Copper Falls State Park.

Brownstone Falls at Copper Falls State Park.

between our feet while we made supper in our screen tent. I wondered if I had chosen a high enough elevation for our sleeping tent. Later we found out it did not leak one little bit. Nice, dry and warm. Tuesday promised more rain. Mike thought we were dedicated. We thought he was dedicated to shuttle us at such short notice! Leaving our truck at Kornstead Road, Mike drove us to Lake 3 Campground. We intended to hike 11.1 miles back to Kornstead. Mike asked us to report on the trail conditions when we were finished as he had some questions about one section in the 11.1 miles. We did not get many photos because it rained most of the day. Some parts of this section were marked well, but not all. We ended up guessing where the Trail might be in those places. It looked like one bridge had washed away. We forded the creek. Another bridge looked like it was about to be washed away. We crabwalked across that one because it was so slippery! After trying unsuccessfully to maintain dry feet, eventually I just gave up and sloshed through the river which was the Trail. A shelter near the end of our hike provided a little resting place not far from Kornstead Road. We found two reflections which made the whole day worthwhile. I love reflections! Since it had stopped raining by the time we returned to Copper Falls, we decided to hike one mile on the NCT from the park to Route 169 and back. Leaving the park next morning, we admired the work of the Brule-St. Croix Roving Trail Crew, their new bridge on the NCT along Route 169. Unfortunately some trees had fallen on the bridge and crashed down on some newly done work. We sent in a report of the trail conditions to Mike and were off to Michigan, our next state. Wisconsin is much easier to hike than Superior Hiking Trail! We had to crab-walk this tilted and very slippery bridge to keep from falling off. Here we could wish for the Allegheny National Forest Chapter's wire mesh.

www.northcountrytrail.org

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Patti Dunning

Walking and Talking By Glen Van Antwerp

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The North Star

Bob Dunning holding his found projectile point.

Loren Bach

teve and I walk and talk. We have been hiking together for five years and have heard each other’s stories but still find things to discuss. We are not solitary and silent like some hikers, nor do we travel in big noisy groups like others. We are somewhere in the middle, usually quiet enough to see wildlife and hear birds, but talking steadily and softly as we go. We recently joined the Spirit of the Woods Chapter of the NCTA. This Chapter maintains part of the NCT halfway up Michigan’s lower peninsula, and also sponsors group hikes the first Saturday of each month. These hikes are usually within the Chapter’s own 88 miles but sometimes take other trails, especially nearby parts of the NCT “belonging” to other Michigan Chapters. As new Spirit of the Woods members, Steve and I are expanding our hiking experience by joining these group hikes. This led us to a fine July morning when we studied email directions, compared them to our maps, and drove north to a trailhead in Grand Traverse County. There we joined a group of 20 or so hikers. A few minutes later we followed blue blazes down the Trail and into the woods, falling automatically into several groups hiking at various speeds. There we found ourselves walking and talking, not only with each other, but also with newfound friends. We were walking with Chapter member Gary who told us about a time when he and his wife, with another couple, were riding their four motorcycles through Custer State Park in South Dakota. They were in a line of car traffic when they came upon a buffalo herd occupying the road. Traffic backed up until a gap opened and cars began threading their way through. Gary was the lead motorcyclist among the line of cars. He started to advance but a cow buffalo with a nearby calf objected to his presence. She charged Gary’s bike and he narrowly escaped as he accelerated hard. Roger Miller’s old song says you can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd; apparently you can’t bike there either. Steve replied with his own story about a hike near his old home in Anchorage, Alaska. Steve calls it his “cheechako” story, an Alaskan term analogous to greenhorn or tenderfoot. A cheechako is inexperienced and lacks common sense, and Steve, although neither an Alaskan newcomer nor lacking sense, blundered into a dire situation. He was off trail, cutting quietly through the woods, alone, when he smelled the stench of rotting meat. He kept going and came upon an Alaskan brown bear, a grizzly, feeding on a dead moose. The bear huffed threateningly and charged Steve. There was no time to react so Steve stood still and raised his hands high, becoming eight feet tall instead of his normal six feet, four inches. The bear broke his charge and they both quietly backed off and made their way elsewhere. Now we were at a long downhill incline as we followed blue blazes to a wooden sign that hung above the Trail. It read “The Valley of the Giants.” Steve is tall and Gary is taller; they joked about ducking to avoid hitting heads on the sign but I had no problem. The sign wasn’t announcing tall hikers, but tall trees. White pines soared well over 100 feet high along a clear and gentle creek, and then, at a giant oak, several hikers stopped to discuss its age and size.

A Spirit of the Woods Chapter hiker shooting pictures of treetops on group hike.


Loren Bach

Spirit of the Woods (SPW) Chapter group hike in the fall of 2017.

Bob Dunning

Jim caught up with us as we stood by the oak so he and I pressed on while Steve and Gary lingered. Jim told me that he had lost his wife of 47 years to a pernicious cancer some years back. I’m a cancer patient myself so we talked about treatment options and medical progress that keeps coming. Then Jim fell in with another group and I was walking and talking with Greg, an unassuming man with a PhD in psychology. Greg has lived and worked in many interesting places and has hiked all over. He and his sister, a Spanish teacher who attended university in Madrid, would like to walk El Camino de Santiago, known in English as “The Way of Saint James.” We discussed this pilgrimage and the movie about it, “The Way” starring Emilio Estevez and his father Martin Sheen. We came to a bench and sat awhile as others joined us. Bob told us about his interest in archeology. He and his wife volunteer each spring for a survey of freshly turned fields near La Crosse, Wisconsin. The Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center hosts this event where professional staffers pace the bare earth with lines of helpers, looking for artifacts left by Native Americans. Bob pulled out his cell phone and showed pictures of a 3000-year-old projectile point (don’t call it an arrowhead!) that he had found. We started walking again and the group pressed on at a faster pace than mine so I finished my hike with Michael. We grazed on wild blueberries as we moseyed along. Although blueberries don’t produce good crops every year (late frosts zap flowers early and dry spells shrivel berries later) this had been a perfect year. We were also having a perfect day. The sky was cloudless and blue, and temperatures remained pleasantly warm without being too hot or muggy. We were making new friends, enjoying conversations that weaved from group to group like a “braided” Alaskan river where currents converge and diverge, and having blueberries for dessert! It was a great day, a great day for walking and talking. I'm feeling great and am getting lots of hiking under my belt before I have a major surgery in a month—all part of the treatment, and hopefully effective.

Valley of Giants picture showing Patti Dunning and Ed Morse.

www.northcountrytrail.org

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Long Distance Hiking Awards Joan Young is chair of the Long Distance Hikers Committee, so receives applications from hikers for various embroidered patches which honor their accomplishments. These are from this past summer.

Supplied by Wegener Family

Ross Williams

Ross Williams of Horseheads, N.Y. left the treadmill at the gym behind, pursuing health along the NCT instead.

Cheryl and Tom Wegener, with daughters Amanda and Kerry, as they completed hiking the Michigan miles of the NCT.

2000 Mile Long Distance Hiker Patch, North Country Trail in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio

State of Michigan and 1000 Mile Patches

I was closing in on 70 and not in great shape after retirement. My wife and my cardiologist both told me to join a gym. To make matters even harder on my weak character, my local “Palace of the Treadmills” is located right next to McDonald’s. However, as of this April Fool’s Day I’ve done over 2400 miles and none of them on a gym treadmill! My doctor and I are convinced this has extended my life. It has certainly extended the quality of my life. The trail miles are a hundred times better than any gym treadmill. Section hiking on the North Country Trail is the way to go. I knew I was getting stronger when I had to get bigger and bigger packs for longer and longer treks. I’ve found new sections to hike day or night in three different nearby states, and have enjoyed dozens of mini, affordable, wonderful retirement vacations in all seasons. At my position in life and at my age, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put together the endurance and logistics for an “End to End.” But I sure can see some beautiful sections of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. I wish I had found the satisfaction, beauty and challenge of the Trail 60 years ago. Editor’s Note: Ross Williams also wanted to thank NCT trail crews for their great cleanup. He ventured out after bad storms and could not cross streams, and “there was a mess of deadfall, washouts, widow-makers and snakes on higher ground. Now, all is beautiful. Good work!”

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Cheryl and Tom Wegener live in Williamsburg, Michigan,with their daughter Amanda. Their daughter Kerry (Mosko) lives in Kalkaska, Michigan. Here, Cheryl writes of the family’s hiking accomplishments. What started out as our goal in 2011 to hike the section of the North Country Trail (NCT) maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club and get our names on their plaque at the Nature Center (which we easily did the first summer) morphed into our goal to complete the 1150-mile section of the NCT in the state of Michigan. Originally, we had taken one car but two sets of keys. By the time we got close to the McCormick Tract in our hiking across the Upper Peninsula, Tom decided we needed to take two cars so the four of us could stick together for safety’s sake. Before Kerry and Amanda would drop Tom and me off, drive to the other end of the section we were planning to hike, start from there, and meet us somewhere on the Trail to pass the keys off to the other duo. Tom and I would pick up the car and then drive back to where the girls dropped us off to pick them up. We crossed the Wisconsin border, so excited that we had completed the whole Upper Peninsula and were headed into Wisconsin. We had hoped to spend the rest of the week there, but full force rain was coming down. We decided to switch course and drive downstate to finish that. Before the end of the week we crossed into Ohio. Boy, were we excited! How many people get to say they hiked the entire state of Michigan on the North Country Trail? Now that the goal is accomplished, we’ll see what we decide to do next. Hiking the NCT is addictive. The more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it! It’s a great way to have a great time with family and friends, and explore the great outdoors.


Tom Walker

CELEBRATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NATIONAL TRAIL SYSTEM By Renee Penny, Conservation Specialist at the Kalkaska Conservation District

Kalkaska Conservation District and Grand Traverse Hiking Club Chapter co-hosted a guided hike on the NCT. We had a wonderful hike yesterday evening in beautiful northern Michigan! Twenty-one hikers met at Pickerel Lake State Forest Campground in Kalkaska County in the northern lower peninsula and hiked approximately two miles on the Trail. Before hiking, I polled the group to see who had the closest 50th wedding anniversary to give away fun prizes that NCTA sent to our local Chapter. Along the Trail we saw quite a few cool looking mushrooms and just a hint of the fall colors starting to show. It seems that most of our colors are along the roadside rather than on the Trail itself. As we hiked everyone became immersed in conversation and enjoyed the northern hardwoods that this section of Trail covers. Much to our surprise many of participants lived nearby (within 10 miles) and some didn’t even know the NCT was there! Overall the event was a great success in educating people about the NCT, Hike 50 and Hike 100 Challenges, and local resources that maintain the Trail (KCD and GTHC).

A beautiful bench, installation almost finished. It’s set in concrete!

Bench Placed in Memory of Gail Glendon By Tom Walker, President, Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter

Patty Warner Patty Warner

www.northcountrytrail.org

On October 4th the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Roving Crew placed a bench along the North Country Trail (NCT) overlooking Lynch Creek in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. This bench was placed in memory of Gail (Abbey) Glendon, a Roving Crew member who had recently succumbed to cancer on what would have been her 78th birthday. Gail had been a member of the HSS Roving Crew for several years, tirelessly working on the two-year-long Tahqua Trail Project, the Lynch Creek Reroute and Beaver Dam Puncheon Project and other projects before that. Gail’s husband Mark designed and constructed the bench, designated “Abbey’s Rest,” with the permission of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The location for the bench was chosen because it was a favorite place where Gail would rest while working on the NCT. On the day of placing the bench, Mark hauled the bench to the location and started prepping the site before the rest of the crew arrived. Each member took turns in the preparation of the site, from digging holes for the foundation to mixing the concrete to anchor the bench, to lifting and placing the bench. The work took a solemn turn when some of Gail’s ashes were mixed with the concrete. The beautiful bench made from a single log that had been drying for years has the words, “Abbey’s Rest” engraved on the seat and a placard affixed to the front with these words: “Abbey’s Rest was crafted and placed in memory of Gail Ann (ABBEY) Glendon, (10/04/1940 – 01/02/2018) who, with many NCT/HSS friends, worked gladly to make this trail section more pleasant and who thought this glade appropriate for respite before proceeding. Rest and reflect with gratitude in the peace of this place. Leave refreshed for having lingered but leave behind only footprints and a kind and appreciative thought for those who have come, and labored, before as well as those who come after.”

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Judy Conrad

Early spring sawyer work on the Harbor Springs section. Shari Sanderson

Harbor Springs Chapter News By Judy Conrad

Harbor Springs of the North Country Trail Association is the northernmost Chapter in the lower peninsula of Michigan. This year Boy Scouts from Flushing, Michigan, Troop 115, choose our 46 miles of Trail for their 2018 “High Adventure Trip.” Six Scouts ages 12 to 17 and two leaders hiked our 46 miles on the brutally hot days of June 29 through July 3. The humidity was high and the temperatures were in the mid 90s! Tim Calloway from the Harbor Springs Chapter met the group and helped with shuttle rides as well as provided gallons of ice cold water along the Trail. On another day Shari Sanderson, our Chapter President, met the group on Larks Lake Road and treated them to pizza and cold Gatorade. Each troop member and leader was given our Chapter pin that is available to hikers who complete our entire 46 miles from Kipp Road, just north of Petoskey, to the Mackinac Bridge. This was Troop 115’s fourth High Adventure Trip. In 2015 they hiked the NCT Manistee River Trail Loop. 2016 found them hiking on Isle Royale in Lake Superior. In 2017 they hiked the Appalachian Trail in Maryland and did an historical tour to Gettysburg, Washington, D.C., and Arlington, a total of 120 miles for the year 2017! In other Chapter happenings, of course we are always working to maintain our Trail. In May we had 31 downed trees on section 1 alone and after the windstorm of September 22 clean up starts again! Many of our sections were in need of new blazes. We also decided to make our boardwalks safer when wet by laying down shingles. President Shari Sanderson and Dennis Schanski have taken the lead on this project.

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Troop 115, Boy Scouts who hiked their Trail, pictured from left to right are Assistant Scoutmaster Jerry Rice, Scoutmaster Jamie Bemis, Declan Ehrhart, Michael Bemis, Noah Rice, Ethan Rice, Joseph Bemis, Tate Bowers and Harbor Springs Chapter President Shari Sanderson.

At our June 20 meeting we voted to purchase a new DR mower. We have been very fortunate that three younger volunteers have been trained on the mower, Jon Royle, Peter Ford and Zach Champion. Zach especially has been a huge help to us. He has mowed about 10 miles of our Trail sections! Big thanks go out to all of our hard working volunteers!


Shari Sanderson

Where in the Blue Blazes? In this regular feature of North Star, we challenge your knowledge in a friendly competition to name the location of a detail or point of interest along the 4600+mile North Country Trail. Any of our readers can submit a photo for consideration for the next puzzle, or play our game by answering the question: Where in the Blue Blazes can this location be found? Dove Day

Installing shingles to render wet wood less slippery for hikers. The shingles last surprisingly long.

Judy Conrad

Zach Champion

The photo of the great tree above the heart in the wall for our puzzler in the previous issue was submitted by Dove Day. This location on the NCT can be found at Independence Dam State Park, in Ohio. It must have been a real “stumper,� because not one of our readers responded with an answer! We look forward to your guesses about our new picture, below. In addition, can you tell us what the relic is, and how it was used? Harbor Springs Chapter's new DR mower, operated by Zach Champion.

Author Judy's grandson Richard, scraping tree bark before repainting blazes.

In late September we were excited to hear from Kenny Wawsczyk that the DNR was planning a meeting at Wilderness State Park regarding our Carp River Bridge. Three Chapter board members attended the meeting and hiked with the DNR officials in to

the bridge. We also hiked a potential reroute for another possible bridge location which would allow the Trail to be on higher ground and have a spot for off-road trailhead parking. We are grateful the DNR is considering this project.

www.northcountrytrail.org

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Valerie Bader

Crew Leader trainees participate in a discussion about partnerships with NCTA staff and USFS representatives from the Superior National Forest.

NCT Crew Leader Training Program Kicks Off in Minnesota By Valerie Bader Valerie Bader

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n late September, a group of NCTA volunteers gathered at northern Minnesota’s Gunflint Lodge for the North Country Trail Association’s first official Crew Leader training. The NCT Crew Leader program was designed to give prospective Crew Leaders the tools they need to lead successfully groups of volunteers on NCT maintenance and construction projects. The program covers topics such as leadership roles and responsibilities, working with partners, project planning, managing the workday, risk management and group dynamics.

NCTA has been developing the Crew Leader program over the past year, and with support from USFS, the National Park Foundation and Northwoods Volunteer Connection, was able to host this long-awaited training session. Participants traveled from North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio and various locations throughout Minnesota to attend the weekend event. The event was also attended by members of the Border Route Trail Association, Superior Hiking Trail Association and NCTA’s Kekekabic Trail Chapter. This unique weekend-long event paired the Crew Leader classroom training with additional small group field work sessions. Friday, participants spent the day at Gunflint Lodge learning the basics of Crew Leadership and an overview of the North Country Trail and what kind of projects and tasks one might expect as a NCT Crew Leader. Staff from the Superior National Forest also joined Friday’s session and gave a presentation on safety, partnerships and local volunteer opportunities. On Saturday, participants broke into smaller groups. Crew Leaders leading trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area participated in an introduction to basic canoe skills and a discussion preparing for backcountry trips in the region. Another group headed to a section of the Border Route

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Representatives from the Border Route Trail Association and Kekekabic Trail share tips on canoe safety and trip planning for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, since this is the only way to get into the interior in this area, short of walking days inland.

Trail to assess trail conditions and discuss project planning for frontcountry projects closer to civilization. On Saturday afternoon, participants traveled to a section of the Kekekabic Trail and got hands on experience with all aspects of project management, from leading a safety talk to triaging trail needs and managing tools and work tasks throughout the day. The weekend wrapped up with a discussion of risk management and a group Q & A session about best practices for Crew Leaders. Evenings allowed for some spectacular


Matt Davis

group hikes exploring the beautiful area around Gunflint Lodge. A successful and enjoyable weekend was had by all, and this group of newly trained Crew Leaders is eager to start putting some of their new skills into action on the Trail! NCTA will host one additional Crew Leader training this year in Michigan. The Crew Leader program is growing in 2019 and NCTA plans to host several more trainings in other states along the Trail. If your Chapter or Affiliate is interested in hosting a Crew Leader training or you are interested in learning more about becoming an NCT Crew Leader, please contact Valerie Bader at vbader@northcountrytrail.org

F

or the third straight year, the North Country Trail Association grew by hundreds of new members and donors. This new influx of excited Trail supporters has really strengthened our organization and brought a fresh new perspective on long distance trail hiking. Coming from over 30 states they also are confirming our status as a “national” Trail of significance. Since the “Hike 100 Challenge” program launch in 2016, we’ve seen more participation, more stories, more photos, and most importantly, more support than ever before. It continued in 2017 and so far in 2018, we’ve already seen an increase of 544 donors, our highest yet and the year’s not over! The Hike 100 and Hike 50 Challenge programs have successfully drawn thousands of participants from more than half of our lower 48 states. What we realized right away with this influx of new members is that we were no longer just a regional seven-state trail. Word of mouth and the explosion of social media were drawing hikers and “wannabe” hikers from all over, to have a greater awareness of and affection for the North Country Trail. As an organization we moved quickly to engage and support this new growing Trail community. Trailwide, outreach programs and projects were put in place to involve them in many different ways that supported the Trail. These in turn provided them even more amazing Trail experiences which they have begun to share with us via social media and notes with their checks and online donations. Karen TenBroeke sent in her donation after overcoming personal obstacles and completing the Hike Challenge on her second try. Karen says, “Last year I was dealing with some health issues and after signing up for the NCT Hike 100 challenge, I was just hoping that I would be able to complete it. Unfortunately, I only made it about 20 miles. Over the winter I was able to get

Karen TenBroeke

www.northcountrytrail.org

By Tarin Hasper and David Cowles

to a point where I was feeling much better and I signed up to try again. That makes completing the challenge this year so much sweeter! I think this is a great challenge and it helps encourage people to get outside. Thank you to all who volunteer and help with the NCT.” We are continually amazed and inspired by the hikers completing the challenge and sharing their stories. Every new donor and new member has a story about why the NCT is important to them. The hikers who decide to support the Trail also have varied stories about why they decided to take the next step and donate to the Trail. Take Scott Warner who, along with his wife Nora, drove an hour each way to the Trail on multiple dates to participate in the Hike Challenge. Each hike was different from the next, and as they approached the end of their challenge, they celebrated the accomplishment and shared with us why they also decided to send in a gift of support. Scott says, “We donated as a small thank you for all that the NCTA provides for us. The local Chapters do a great job at keeping the Trail in great shape. The trail conditions were excellent in all the places we hiked. We hope our donation will contribute to completing even more sections of the Trail.” To Scott and Nora their donation was a “thank you” to the Trail, the volunteers and the NCTA. For Karen, it was a celebration of an accomplishment and the reward. To others, their contribution is in memory of a friend or family member. To all, it’s an opportunity to give to an organization working to create the best Trail experience for you, and protect the experience and the places for generations to come.

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Scott Warner

New NCT Crew Leaders assess conditions on a segment of the Kekekabic Trail.

New Support Swells as Trail Popularity Grows


Farewell From Mark Weaver

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ell, folks, the grandbabies are calling me. After 25 years with the National Park Service, it’s time to ride, um, HIKE off into the sunset with Izzy and Iggy.

November 30 will be my last day. My sincere thanks to all of you for your support and your love of the Trail. There is so much more to do, but with your help these past five years, there is much that HAS been done. Looking back over the last five years, we can all hang our hats on:

• Independent NPS representation for the Trail • A staff that grew from Jeff McCusker working in a closet, to greater public presence with Mark, Chris and Luke working in a nice storefront next door to NCTA HQ (and let’s not forget about our Admin Officer Rachel Acker, working out of Madison, Wisconsin) • Foundation Document cementing our Nature and Purpose statement • A 500+ page historical research document documenting important stories along the Trail • Resource Media Guide to help you identify how best to tell the stories • Updated Trail Handbook and • 280 acres of land permanently federally protected for the Trail in Michigan and Wisconsin, and fingers crossed, a soon-to-be additional 2,500 acres in northern Michigan.

This sign reminds hikers that many creative arrangements have been made, even on private property, to protect the scenery and the Trail route. We hope none of our trail tenders uses steel nails, on the chance that a landowner or managing agency performs a harvest here. When a sawmill hits a steel nail, the saw is damaged, as is the wood. Aluminum nails don’t do either! Aluminum screws are best, since they can be backed out annually, reducing the sign pucker visible here, but patience is required.

If I start thanking individual people I’m sure I will overlook someone, and I don’t want to do that. But I will do a BIG thank you to Andrea, for her support, patience and creativity during my tenure. Y’all have a great leader with her steering the boat, or leading the hike or whatever…be nice to her. I leave the Trail temporarily in Chris Loudenslager’s hands. He will serve as acting Superintendent until our regional office makes a permanent selection over the winter. Best wishes to you all.

Laurie Dando at a typical campsite. Every site has its own latrine. Sam Weaver

Izzy and Iggy.

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Very useful trailhead signs tell us clearly which way to go for what destination, and how far each is from this spot.


Superior Hiking Trail Story and pictures by Roy Dando

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nother gem of a hiking trail we have recently found is the Superior Hiking Trail. It runs along the North Shore of Minnesota above the banks of Lake Superior. My wife Laurie and I are avid supporters and frequent hikers on the Finger Lakes Trail in New York, which carries over 400 miles of the North Country Trail. We have backpacked the FLT and also section hiked the entire trail over the past 10 years. Upon retirement last June we were looking for a different type of physical challenge in a geographic area that was new to us. We recalled that while bicycling around Lake Superior in 2006 we kept seeing signs for the Superior Hiking Trail and thought that one day we might return to tackle it. This was the year and are we happy with our choice of trails! We chose to start at the southern terminus and generally walk northbound. We decided to hike the Trao; by day hiking it over 40 days. We would use our truck and motorcycle to shuttle us from trailhead to trailhead. Each hike averaged around eight miles which allowed us lots of time to explore what other gems the North Shore offered. Our first week centered around the City of Duluth. The Trail tread actually www.northcountrytrail.org

Where the Trail descends to the shoreline, hikers get views like this of the usually rocky lake edge.

Every hiker loves this view of Bean and Bear Lakes from a ridge. Here they are looking inland, away from Lake Superior.

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At the northern terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail, a hiker looks outward across wilderness, toward the Border Route. The Border Route Trail is a 65-mile long hiking trail that crosses the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in the far northeast corner of Minnesota, and follows the international border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada.

This fabulously clever staircase helps hikers defy gravity.

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meanders through the Canal Park section of the city which we found delightful. On one hike we got to stop at the Canal Park Brewery and have lunch. There are no rules about having a craft beer right in the middle of the hike, are there? There is the three mile lake walk section which comes to an end going through the city’s Rose Garden. This is a park that is built on six feet of soil placed on top of the Interstate 35 highway tunnel. Very cool indeed. As we moved north we were constantly treated to sweeping views of Lake Superior and its coastline. We envisioned this all winter long as we planned our trip but only being there in person did the scenery justice. There were also many rivers, streams and creeks that flowed into the lake which of course meant waterfalls galore! In the old days of using film in cameras we would have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars developing all the pictures. The SHT does not have many points of high elevation like some other trails but we did indeed earn our dinner climbing up and down the ravines on the Trail. The trailheads are very well marked with distances to upcoming trailheads, points of interest and bivouacs in both directions. We found that to be extremely helpful. The tread itself is generally very well worn so the need for constant blazing is minimal. On our 310 mile journey we got lost only twice and both times, after MUCH consideration and deliberation, we figured it to be our own fault. There was the Kadunce River gorge that stands out as something different. The spur trail we took up to the main trail paralleled the river gorge and all the locals we talked to said we should walk up the gorge and skip the spur trail. As we used this spur trail to start two different segments, we walked the Trail proper once and up the river gorge the other time. What a thrill to rock hop up the gorge and then exit it by “hiking” up an almost vertical embankment. The next day, right near there, the SHT had us hiking 1.5 miles on the beach. This was a very strange but wonderful experience. It was tough to walk on but we did get to skip stones and listen to the lake lap the shores in a way that almost lulled us into an early afternoon nap. There were also MANY inland lakes and ponds that stood out in our minds as wonderful scenery. As the Trail frequently afforded us views to the west we were treated to panoramas of pristine lakes and untouched wilderness for as far as the eyes could see. It is tough to pick a favorite view but Bean Lake and Bear Lake were two of the nicest we have seen. The hike that day was 17 tough miles with 85 degree humid heat so boy, did we wish the lakes were more than a view! We did not know what type of wildlife there would be, or how frequently they would bless us with their presence. We had one chance encounter with a black bear while he was feasting on the berries nearby. Once we noticed him we gave him a wide berth but don’t think he was really interested in us. We saw many “markings” of the moose population but had the chance only to hear a bull moose looking for a mate in the distance. That wonderful and eerie sound went on for almost an hour during one hike. Although our hearts and volunteer dedication belong with the Finger Lakes Trail, we HIGHLY recommend visiting the North Shore of Minnesota and hiking segments or the entire Superior Hiking Trail.


A shot of the alternate trail down in the Kadunce River gorge.

Birch lines the Trail for long stretches of mostly younger trees, since birch grows up best in a lot of light.

Yellow birch is another frequent tree. This one started life atop the stump of another tree, which rotted out from beneath it.

Many streams descend from inland ridges to the lake’s shoreline, and the Trail must cross each of them. So much effort by crews to keep bridges intact after storm floods that the Superior Hiking Trail Association is currently changing its policy, and is NOT replacing those where a hiker can reasonably expect to cross a waterway on his own in other than flood situations. Meanwhile, enjoy the many waterfalls!

www.northcountrytrail.org

Dollars per Mile Many of us who have been part of most trail organizations’ desperate search for money to support building and administering trails are surprised that the Superior Hiking Trail has made 300 miles of progress in only 31 years since its opening, including 235 miles completed in only the first 14 years! A bunch of ambitious visionaries incorporated the Superior Hiking Trail Association and began to make requests for state funding for trail construction in 1986. Three grants from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources were the principal source of funding for early trail construction. One salary for a trail building coordinator was covered, materials were purchased, and crews were financed from the Minnesota Conservation Corps and Lake County to build major portions of the SHT. Other sources have included the U.S. Forest Service, Lake County, and private donations. The rest of us envy this early financial boost, and other boons have dropped from heaven, too. For instance, the Trail crawls along the steep hillsides of the west end of Duluth but high enough above the St. Louis River Estuary to offer many great views from a route roughly parallel to the Skyline Parkway. How did the SHTA gain permissions to route the Trail over these miles so close to the city? The County offered tax forfeiture lands, abandoned to avoid taxes on steep rocky places that yielded no income, an apparently abundant source of route miles. The SHTA got huge technical (and some financial) assistance from Duluth's parks department, too. —Editor

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north star

NONPROFIT U. S. POSTAGE

North Country Trail Association

PAID

Grand Rapids, MI Permit 340

229 East Main Street Lowell, Michigan 49331

Loretta Visser

Kyle Visser was really excited to walk the Trail, following his map.

Come Visit Us! The Lowell office is open to the public Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 229 East Main Street, Lowell, MI 49331 (866) HikeNCT • (616) 897-5987 • Fax (616) 897-6605 The North Country Trail Association develops, maintains, protects and promotes the North Country National Scenic Trail as the premier hiking path across the northern tier of the United States through a trailwide coalition of volunteers and partners. Our vision for the North Country National Scenic Trail is that of the premier footpath of national significance, offering a superb experience for hikers and backpackers in a permanently protected corridor, traversing and interpreting the richly diverse environmental, cultural, and historic features of the northern United States.


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