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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Michigan Sampler - Stitched in Steps

North Country Trail passing between large white pines
the NCT east of Marquette passes between large white pines (photo by JHY)

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by JHY

A shift in the timing of my next hikes has me still in Michigan on the way to North Dakota and then Minnesota. But one day, even primarily on a gravel, rail-trail, provided mostly pleasant experiences.

A- angels, trail angels: those people who help hikers. Lorana Jinkerson, author of Nettie Does the NCT is letting me stay with her, and Jan Wester spotted me so I could just walk to my car.

B- balsam: I think balsam must be to me what catnip is to cats. Its aroma just makes me giddy with the joy of being in the woods.

C- chickadees: five little birds hovered close around me as I ate lunch. Did they smell the peanut butter?

D- deer: OK, we’re all tired of seeing deer, but it would hardly be a Michigan adventure without one.

E- electronics: with the new digital camera, tape recorder and cell phone, that’s a lot of delicate equipment to thrust into plastic bags in a hurry (see R)

F- fifteen: the number of miles I walked.

G- gravel: over half of the miles were on a gravel rail-trail. Gravel is a horrible walking surface that can turn my feet to hamburger. Tonight they are only sore, for which I am very grateful!

H- humid: well, it’s summer in Michigan (see R)

I- insect repellant: yeah, the mosquitoes and deerflies are still impressive.

J- Jilbert’s ice cream: the local brand. I had apple pie flavor.

K- Kawbawgam Lake, and Lake LeVasseur which began as a beaver swamp, opening gradually to shining waterways winding among islands
Lake LeVasseur
Lake LeVasseur from the NCT (photo by JHY)

L- lake, big: so many Michigan experiences include a Great Lake... this time, I ended at the Marquette Visitor Center of the Lake Superior shore.

M- Mangum Road to Marquette: where I hiked today

N- new flowers: any hike on which I spot a wildflower that’s new to me is awesome! This time it was the bristly sarsaparilla, which holds its flowers above the leaves instead of beneath them, and wrinkled rose so healthy that its blooms were three inches across and the damp air was filled with the scent.
Wrinkled Rose
Wrinkled Rose, Rosa rugosa (photo by JHY)

O- overpass: the trail follows the old Soo Line, and drivers on US 41 zip along under the trail, probably never realizing that a national trail is now over their heads.

P- puppy: an enthusiastic young and wiggly black lab wanted to come with me, but his owner soon came along to retrieve him.

Q- quiet: not really! The rail trail paralleled a busy highway and the woods were filled with bird song.

R- rain: of course, a sudden downpour in the afternoon was timed perfectly so that I arrived at the car drenched to the skin.

S- squirrels and their relatives: I encountered gray and red squirrels, a thirteen-lined ground squirrel and a chipmunk.
red squirrel
red squirrel studying a hiker (photo by JHY)

T- township park: nicely located for a short rest, with a latrine and a picnic table

U- united: it takes so many united land managers to create a long-distance trail. Just in these few miles were two private landowners, the state, a township, a corporation, and the city of Marquette.

V- volunteers: they make the North Country Trail possible. Every foot, every mile, is cleared, and blazed with blue by volunteers.

W- wood thrush: the liquid trills of this secretive bird always seem to make the woods a magical place.

X- eXit: get off the highway and go find a trail to follow!

Y- yummy: a few early blueberries were ripe, along with red raspberries and some serviceberries that actually ripened before the birds ate them. If you have never tasted serviceberries, they are simply exquisite!
serviceberry, Juneberry, shadbush - the purple ones are ripe enough to eat (photo by JHY)

Z- zzzz’s: what I plan to catch a lot of tonight!
Harebell, Campanula rotundifolia (photo by JHY)


betchai said...

what a wonderful hike, would love to join you :)

Anonymous said...

mmm - Jilbert's ice cream! We are going to my parents' camp (south of Munising, off of Forest Highway 13) in a couple weeks, and plan to have some Jilbert's.

Love the pictures - makes me homesick.


Anonymous said...

Its an wonderful hike!!
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