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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jerry Gauld Recalls 2006 Winter NCT Adventure

Jerry Gauld
Jerry Gauld
photo by Todd Zawistowski
excerpted from by Emily Betz Tyra, Dec 19, 2008

On a cold February 1, 2006, Fife Lake bulldozer operator Jerry Gauld pulled on his worn work boots, loaded up his Kelty Redhawk 5000 pack, its straps frayed like a bushy squirrel tail, and asked his wife to drop him at the Mackinac Bridge.

From there, he snowshoed along the North Country Trail, camping in a tent at night, hellbent on trekking to the western end of the Upper Peninsula. Thirty-nine days later, he reached the Wisconsin border town of Ironwood and lived to tell the tale. Here, he shares the perspective you get only after walking 400 miles in Michigan winter wilderness. In his own words …

It snowed almost every day. I don’t think there was ever a night ever on the whole trip, not one night that it didn’t snow.

That’s my water can—an old bean can, a tall one. There’s a string attached to it. Why I done that: if I’m in the U.P. along the slopes, if the creeks were thawed out, the snow banks would be maybe 4 feet high and you can’t get close to them without the bank caving in, and then you’re going in. So I take this string and I can literally cast for water and fill my water jugs. I’d go through about four or five of these jugs in a day. I drank water constantly.

The way I kept my water thawed out is, at night, I slept with it... more

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