Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Still Time to Sign Up for the ND Conference

25th Annual NCTA Conference
from the North Country Trail Association

Early registration for the NCTA Annual Conference closes July 1, but there is still time to attend. People can call the NCTA office, 1-866-hikeNCT, tomorrow, June 30 and register at the reduced rate. After tomorrow the registration fee increases, but only by $5.

There are workshops, hikes and tours every day. This year there will be programs and events designed just for kids and families. The conference is co-hosted by the NCTA and the Sheyenne River Valley Chapter.

Evening programs feature outstanding speakers:

Across two years. Across 7,800 miles. Deia Schlosberg, 28, and Gregg Treinish, 26, two Montana-based wilderness educators, became the first two people to backpack the Andes Mountain Range, the first two to walk it through the mountains without relying on roads, and the first woman to have walked South America. Named National Geographic Adventurers of the Year in 2008, these dedicated hikers persevered through high peaks, deep valleys, knee-deep peat bogs, rainy seasons, trackless deserts, bamboo forests and incredible views. Deia and Gregg will be featured during Friday night's community benefit night-you won't want to miss their account of this unforgettable trek "Across the Andes" or the live and silent auctions that come before them!

The E Company of Custer's Memorial 7th Cavalry was first formed in 1967 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the old Fort Ransom post. On Thursday night at the picnic, they will allow you to share camp life with them and their families. Thrill to their re-enactment of drills on horseback and demonstrations of marksmanship with black powder pistols! Afterwards, Brother Jukebox will have you rocking to the best of Country and Rock and Roll music.

For more than ten years Nature/Wildlife Tourism has demonstrated one of the strongest growth patterns in the travel and outdoor recreation market, contributing over $47.7 billion to the US economy. After dinner on Saturday night Jim Mallman, President and founding Board member of Watchable Wildlife, Inc., will provide an overview of what is happening in nature tourism worldwide and explain the reasons for promoting it in your community.

Would you call spending several nights sleeping in a van in sub-zero temperatures to capture scenes just before dawn, obsessed? Daron Krueger and Clint Saunders, better known as the Obsessed Photographers Group, gives you slide show glimpse into their latest book, aptly entitled "Obsessed with North Dakota." A book signing will follow, all on Saturday night after Jim Mallman.

For full details, visit the Sheyenne River Valley Chapter web site.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mesick / Hodenpyl Reroute Officially Opened

speaker at trail opening
Suzie Kanine speaks during the grand opening ceremony of the rerouted North Country Trail in Mesick
based on a news article in the Cadillac News

On Saturday, June 20, the official grand opening for the NCT re-route near Hodenpyl Dam was celebrated. This 12-mile off-road trail section provides the longest walk along a single body of water in Michigan's lower peninsula.

Arlen Matson, administrative trails coordinator for Grand Traverse Hiking Club, explained that the re-route takes the trail off county roads, which is never a final route for the trail. The new trail is welcomed by hikers who describe it as very scenic and peaceful.

The celebration lasted all day long and included events such as a fishing tournament, tour of Hodenpyl Dam, picnic and hikes or canoeing. The event was sponsored by Consumers Energy, the Northern Exposure Campground, and the Grand Traverse Hiking Club. Much of the route is on Consumers property. Northern Exposure has also allowed the trail to cross their campground. This of course, provides easy access for long-distance hikers. The trail-building work has been done by the Grand Traverse Hikers.

The final 3.5 miles of the new route are awaiting permission from the Michigan DNR. This section is from No. 15 road to No. 19 Road (Harvey Bridge Road), just east of M-37.

See Grand Traverse Hikers Club

Saturday, June 27, 2009

In Depth Training Offered in Pennsylvania

from the NCTA

NCTA volunteers are invited to Wilderness First Aid and Chainsaw Certification trainings at no charge, thanks to the National Park Service and Moraine State Park. Those who complete the Chainsaw Certification course will be provided with a complete set of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for chainsaw work.

Wilderness First Aid 2-Day Training
August 15th-16th
"Old Moraine Restaurant" at Davis Hollow
Moraine State Park

Chainsaw Certification 2-Day Training
August 29th-30th
Davis Hollow Cabin--and project locations TBD [Davis Hollow Cabin and tenting area available to participants for overnight stay]
Moraine State Park

Contact Andrew Bashaw
NCTA Regional Trail Coordinator OH/PA
PO Box 5, Shawnee, OH 43782

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Book- Nettie Does the NCT

cover Nettie Does the NCT
from Lorana Jinkerson

Lorana Jinkerson, NCT volunteer, and active member of the North Country Trail Hikers Chapter, has written a book for children about the trail. Lorana, of Marquette, Michigan, is a retired Professor of Educational Technology at Northern Michigan University.

Nettie Does the NCT: North Country Trail is a children’s book about four friends who are members of the North Country Trail Association and love to hike the North Country National Scenic Trail. As the story of their adventures unfolds, Blue Blazes provide the reader with interesting and useful facts about the North Country Trail and hiking it, thus making this book a teaching tool for parents and teachers as well as a fun book to read.

For those who can make it, there will be a book dedication party, July 10, at 5 pm in Marquette (at 1830 Altamont). Please RSVP to Lorana. Anyone who plans to attend the NCTA conference in Valley City, ND may also meet Lorana and purchase the book there.

All profits from the sale of the book will be divided between the NCTA and the North Country Trail Hikers Chapter.

See Nettie Does the NCT

NCTA Seeks Director of Trail Operations

from the North Country Trail Association

The North Country Trail Association is seeking an experienced volunteer manager and people motivator to become Director of Trail Operations.

He/she will be an integral member of the NCTA management team, supervising three professional regional trail coordinators (RTC’s) as well as volunteers and chapter operations throughout the seven-state North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) region. Applying a force multiplier approach the Director of Trail Operations works through RTC’s as well as directly with NCTA chapter leadership in growing chapters, chapter capacity and volunteer effectiveness in building the trail and telling its story.

Key success indicators will include membership and chapter growth and the amount and quality of volunteer trail maintenance and construction. The Director of Trail Operations works closely with National Park Service staff administering the trail. Additional responsibilities may include advocacy, land protection, grants development, landowner relations, and outreach. This position is based at the Lowell, MI headquarters of the Association and requires extensive travel. A competitive salary with benefits options is available.

A resume, list of references and cover letter addressing qualifications should be submitted by July 20 to:

HR Department
North Country Trail Association
229 East Main St.
Lowell, MI 49331
Electronic applications preferred

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Avoid Giant Hogweed- Severe Skin Reactions

Giant Hogweed
Giant Hogweed (photo from the King County, Washington, web site)
from the Finger Lakes Trail Conference

The Finger Lakes Trail Conference reports a stand of Giant Hogweed along Spencer Hill Road, near Hornell, New York, on map M10.

Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum, is similar to the very large Cow Parsnip, but is even larger. The sap of the plant causes severe skin burns. It can grow to 15 feet, with leaves spanning 2-5 feet. The thick stem has mottled purple areas. The stem, leaf and flower stalks are hairy. It has small white flowers in big clusters, looking like Queen Anne's Lace. Originally brought from Asia as an ornamental, it has escaped into many natural areas.

Steve Catherman, of the Steuben County DPW reports: "We are currently dealing with Giant Hogweed issues around our roads, trails, and bridges. In fact, a consultant bridge inspector came into contact with it while inspecting one of our bridges and had to be hospitalized with severe 'burns' that may [leaves scars which can] be permanent."

If you see this plant, do not attempt to remove it. Contact a plant professional! Cutting, mowing, or injuring the plant in any way will release the sap. Sap on skin, when exposed to sunlight results in the blistered burns which can be extremely serious.

If contact is made, wash immediately with soap and water and seek medical attention.

See New York State Health Department information about Giant Hogweed

See King County, Washington information about Giant Hogweed

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Doug Seaney's Baraga to McCormick Hike

young moose
young moose (photo by Doug Seaney)
contributed by Doug Seaney

May 20
Cliff and Lorana Jinkerson of Marquette took me to spot my car at McCormick Wilderness (west edge). Then on to drop me at FH 16 about 80 miles to the west. By the time eating talking and driving is done I hit the trail at about 1pm ... some big hills to the Sturgeon river.

Set up camp just west of Baraga / Houghton county line. Had about 7 ticks on me at different times during the day, but only 2 had attached. It was very hot to day about 85! Covered 13.5 miles today.

May 21
Up at 6am but still dark at 6:30 couldn't see the blazes so stayed in tent for a while, started out at 7:30. Very overcast today and lots cooler (55-60) than yesterday. Now comes the rain, just a light drizzle but very steady. After about 10 miles or so I came to Oren Krumm shelter, a very cool 3-sided shelter with screen on the 4th side. Nice to be inside, not any warmer but at least inside out of the rain. Cooked a hot lunch to take the chill off. Wrung the water out of my socks and poured it out of my boots!

Camped in a big field (Baraga Plains?). Stopped at about 5:30 covered 22 miles today. Sun came out in time to set, black files are getting active. Got very cold during the night, around 35 degrees.

May 22
Continued across Baraga Plains, most has been clear cut, but loggers left the trunks of the trees that had the blazes so not too hard to follow. Trail runs just south of plains road aka prison camp road. The road shows a big curve on the map, about where the curve is the trail ends. Tried to follow the survey tape for proposed trail but it is a major bushwhack.

Road walk on old US 41 - it must be very OLD 41 as it has turned back to gravel and dirt. It would be impassable for all but a high clearance 4x4. At one spot the beavers had a dam across the entire road. About 19.5 miles for the day, and the black files are now out in force.

May 23
Stopped at a remote campsite on Craig Lake for lunch. My alcohol stove wouldn't work in the high winds so cooked my lunch in the outhouse to get out of the wind. Heard a loon while I was eating my lunch. Craig lake is one of the most remote state parks I've ever seen, road to get in is 3 miles of rocky treacherous road and ruts, doubt a car could make it. Then once you are in the park you must hike to the campsites. I camped on the N edge of the park in an established campsite so had a fire in the fire ring tonight. Tried to smoke out the black flies but didn't work too well. 18.5 miles today.

May 24
All trail now no road walks yeah! Very remote area, trail leaves the park and crosses private land. Trail intersects with a 2 track and there is a rusted out shell of an old truck. Continued east to the N side of Lake Arfelin, then Peshekee River. Got to my car in the lot at the W edge of McCormick wilderness at 11am. Took my boots and socks off and dunked my head in the river!

See Doug's complete trip report on greatlakeshikes Yahoo group

Monday, June 22, 2009

America's Great Trails Act Needs Support

from the American Hiking Society

American Hiking Society urges you to TAKE ACTION to contact your Representative and encourage them to support HR 1912, the Complete America's Great Trails Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Connolly (D-VA) and Rep. Lummis (R-WY) designed to protect some of the most special trails in America.

America's longest and most protected trails, iconic footpaths like the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and brand-new Arizona National Scenic Trail, all cross private lands. Many landholders graciously allow hikers to cross their lands - but each acre of private land represents a potential break in the continuity of these great trails.

The Complete America's Great Trails Act is a bill that provides a tax credit to private landowners who grant conservation easements to National Scenic Trails. This means that private landowners have a new incentive to allow hikers to pass through their property, and trails get a guaranteed corridor that protects the connectivity and continuity of the hiking experience for years to come!

This tax credit is an important tool that provides a fiscally responsible incentive for private landowners to allow access for hikers. During these challenging financial times, it is important to consider that HR 1912 requires no direct spending from the federal government, provides a significant tax break to hard-working landowners, and helps ensure that America continues to benefit from our incredible trail resources.

Follow the link below to customize a brief e-mail, and click to send it to your Representative

See American Hiking Society

Lost & Found to Join Mother Goose

Nikii Murtaugh
Nikii Murtaugh (photo from her journal)
from Lost and Found

Life is an adventure on two feet.
Who is Lost and Found who hikes?

So goes the signature of Nikii Murtaugh, who introduced herself to us as "Lost and Found" just today. Nikii is a special education teacher from the state of Oregon, who like many had planned to retire next year, but may postpone that option.

She met Mother Goose (Bonita Curtner) in 2003 when she was hiking the Oregon section of the PCT and Lost and Found was riding her bicycle across Oregon. Nikii introduced Bonita to bicycling and Bonita introduced Nikii to hiking. They hiked the Colorado Trail in 2006 and Oregon section of the PCT last year. They had planned to do the Lewis & Clark Bike Ride in 2004, but family obligations prevented Lost and Found from participating; Mother Goose, however, rode the route. Lost and Found met her toward the end and rode with her at the beach.

Now, Lost and Found plans to leave June 27 for Ely. "Yikes", she says, "I haven't been training. She said these would be short days, but judging from the itinerary, not easy. So, will be hauling out the backpack and hitting the road - literally."

Welcome to the NCT, Nikii!

See Lost and Found's journal

Saturday, June 20, 2009

T-Man Does the Kek

Todd McMahon
Tman (photo by Todd McMahon)

submitted by Tman (Todd McMahon)

I started out from Ely, Minnesota on Friday May 22 and hiked all of the Kekekabic Trail, and parts of the Border Route and Superior Hiking Trail. Some of the spectacular scenery I experienced included Agamok Falls, Magnetic Rock, Bridal Falls, Stairway Falls, the Rose Cliffs, Cascade State Park and Lookout Mountain.

This was my first extended solo backpacking trip, so I made a few mistakes like underestimating how cold it would be. But overall it was a wonderful trip which I backpacked over 100 miles. The hike ended on June 2 in Lutsen.

War Club Lake
War Club Lake on the Kek (photo by Todd McMahon)

The reason I was out backpacking was that in March I was Laid Off of work for up to six months. I figured I'd take the opportunity to go on a backpacking trip I've always dreamed of.

I may go back and finish the part of the Border Route I missed. The reason I bugged out at Clearwater Lake was my ankle was feeling a little sprainy after I fell when crossing a downed tree. I didn't want to risk trying the Clearwater Lake to Hovland section which is about 45 miles with no way to get out. I know there is a small campground at the Arrowhead Trail on McFarland Lake, but there is no guarantee that anybody will be over there.

Redeemed myself by backpacking from Grand Marais to Lutsen on the Superior Hiking Trail. If I get in trouble there, all I have to do is hike east and I will hit Highway 61. But my ankle recovered and all went well.

NOW THE BIG NEWS, the Border Route is featured in the latest edition of Backpacker Magazine in the best places for solitude article.

That's all for now, Todd McMahon AKA Tman

See all of Tman's pictures
See Hiking the Minnesota Arrowhead

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mother Goose Treated to Pizza in Frazee

Mother Goose Bonita Curtner
"Mother Goose"
based on a news article in the Frazee Forum, "Frazee mayor delivers pizza to 'Mother Goose' ", by Barbie Porter, used with permission

Bonita Curtner, "Mother Goose," was welcomed to the Vergas-Frazee section of Minnesota on the NCT at every opportunity. Spirit Lake allowed her to camp, and then she was treated to coffee and cookies in the morning.

At the Loon's Nest cafe in Vergas, she was treated to breakfast by Gail, whom she had just met.

The Vergas loon and the Frazee turkey, roadside art of significant proportions welcomed her as she passed by. When she reached Frazee, the mayor, Hank Ludtke, added an audible welcome.

"This royal treatment might go to my head," Mother Goose joked.

The mayor was not about to be outdone by Vergas hospitality or plastic animals. He drove Curtner to the outskirts of town for a night's stay at Morningside Motel, and then hustled away to retrieve one more gift.

"He delivered a pizza for me," she said. "The mayor of the town went out of his way to bring me to my motel, and then delivers a pizza! Then the people at the motel offer to do my laundry. Then I go out to breakfast and the restaurant buys it for me. I have never been treated this well on any other trail that I've walked."

See Mother Goose's journal

Hammock Group Checks Out the Cheq

Porcupine Lake, Chequamegon NF
Porcupine Lake (photo by Kurt Papke)
trip report from Kurt Papke

On June 11-14, 2009 13 members of HammockForums gathered for 4 days of hiking, feasting, gear chat, and general revelry on the Chequamegon section of the North Country Trail.

We met on Thursday at the TH near Porcupine Lake. I hiked a little 5 mile out-and-back westbound on the trail, as I was there earlier than most and wanted to explore some of the trail that we were not going to hike as a group.

Night one we camped up on the knoll above the north end of Porcupine lake. This perhaps the most spectacular backcountry campsite I've ever been to. Its in a beautiful pine forest, great breeze, and the views of the lake are phenomenal. Best of all there were plenty of trees for an armada of hammock campers to hang from. We spent the evening getting to know each other, comparing hammock setups, and feasting on BBQ, fresh fruit compote, fresh fish we cooked in the fire, etc.

On Friday we did a pretty good hike, almost 13 miles, to the Marengo River site. The area around the shelter looked a little congested, so we set up camp in the site down by the river bridge. After everyone was set up, we all had our first night's dinner of dehydrated backpacking meals, then sat around the campfire talking until sundown.

Saturday was a more relaxed hike, about 10 miles with an earlier start time. We enjoyed the Swedish settlement, the radio tower, and the many nice overlooks on this section.

Just as we were rolling into camp mid-afternoon at Lake Three, our only rainfall began to drop from the sky with menacing thunder. Tarps were quickly set up over picnic tables, and we spent the rest of the evening eating, talking and imbibing a few brewskies that a group procured during their search for pizza.

Sunday morning was a set of sad farewells, as newly-made friends had to return to their respective "real lives".

This is a fabulous section of trail. The overlooks and vistas are beautiful, and there's lots of variety in the terrain with beaver dams, rivers and lakes. We were VERY lucky with bugs. We expected to be crawling with ticks, but only a few got picked off, and the mosquitoes and flies were not bad at all. I didn't even use repellent.

Shug made two videos from the footage from last weekend's backpacking trip through northern WI NCT. This one is funnier IMHO, I especially liked Stormcrow eating the slug.

Treasures North of THE Bridge

cygnet swimming
baby swan (photo by JHY)

by JHY

I just completed another 45 miles of trail (total now 3702), from St. Ignace to Trout Brook Pond, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. St. Ignace is working hard to become a trail town, and their boardwalk which follows Lake Huron (only Huron shore on the NCT) through town is a real treat. This cygnet, with siblings was learning to dabble for its dinner.

Mackinac Bridge towers from the North Country Trail
Mackinac Bridge towers from the NCT (photo by JHY)

Here's a view of the bridge you won't see from anywhere except on the NCT. At a strategic high point of land, a bench dedicated to the memory of Eric Cox (son of Duane and Joan Cox- frequent conference attendees) has been placed. After you climb to reach it, you are likely to sit down to rest. You will discover that you find yourself facing, over the tops of the trees, the familiar towers. Remember that they are about a mile apart!

yellow lady slipper
yellow lady slipper (photo by JHY)

There were plenty of pink lady slipper blooming too, but somehow it seems like there are more of them. I found yellow ones blooming right along the rail trail out of town, and later near East Lake as well.
rock wall of Maple Hill
Maple Hill (photo by JHY)

And finally, here's a treat I almost hate to share! Why? Because I love delightful surprises in the woods. And I did NOT know this was coming. Of course I could see on the map that there is a funky little mound called Maple Hill between Forest Roads 3114 and 3323 northeast of East Lake. So when a few rocks started to sprout from the ground on my left and form a small ridge I knew I'd arrived at the southern edge of Maple Hill. The ridge grew and was covered with dirt and trees... ordinary, just higher than where I was. Then the trail took a swing upwards and... WOW. The rocks just leaped from the earth and grew into a massive wall of columns and blocks! Moss and ferns in some of the cracks, but mostly just bare rock faces. What a surprise in the middle of a day of mostly level terrain! But now you won't be surprised.

Thanks to the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter for keeping this section in good repair, and to Stan and Kay Kujawa for helping me spot a car.

P.S. The mosquitoes were brutal!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Eberhard is halfway through 4,600-mile north country trek

Read Eberhard is halfway through 4,600-mile north country trek at M-Live

Me? I'm out the door again! Catch my program this afternoon in St. Ignace at the Village Inn Restaurant at the base of the hill next door to other Shell station for lunch at 11;30 AM to 12:30 AM. Enjoy "High Hopes Wearing Sweaty Socks" presentation at 1:00 PM, followed by a hike on the North Country trail at 3:00 PM
BContact Kay or Stan at or 989-350-2826

See you Thursday!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sure I Can Paint Blazes, Just Give Me a Hammer!

painted blaze with nails
by JHY

If you need a good painted blaze, just get a bigger hammer! Um...

Walking my trail section yesterday, I had to shake my head at this. Yes, I did it. Why? Actually the answer is simple. We replaced nail-up blazes on our section with painted ones. So there was a nail-up blaze here that I removed. But it was a good place for a new blaze, so I painted one in the same place.

But it does look a little strange!

See How To Paint Blazes for some help on the right way to mark the North Country Trail.

See you in a few days. I'm going hiking again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Regulations on State Land in NY

from the New York DEC

On May 13, 2009 the DEC finally adopted the proposed amendments to the lands and forest regulations that had first been proposed in May of 2008.

These new rules apply to both the forest preserve (a/k/a the Adirondack Park) and all state lands under DEC control outside of the forest preserve, a/k/a unique areas, state forests, reforestation areas, multiple use areas, environmentally sensitive lands or those rights owned and managed by the State as conservation easements.

Here are the highlights that might have an impact on Finger Lakes Trail hikers and the FLTC:
1. Mushroom picking is prohibited except for personal consumption.
2. Snowmobiles and bikes can be used on any trail or forest road outside of the forest preserve except those specifically designated or posted by the DEC as closed to snowmobiles or bikes.
3. Any activity involving more than 20 people now requires a permit, including "sponsored hikes."
4. Weddings and commercial film making need a permit from the DEC to be held on state land.
5. The storage of personal property on state land is prohibited with a few exceptions:
     (A) a geocache that is labeled with the owner's name and address and installed in a manner that does not disturb the natural conditions of the site or injure a tree;
     (B) a camping structure or equipment that is placed and used legally pursuant to the regulations;
     (C) a legally placed trap or appurtenance that is placed and used during trapping season;
     (D) a tree stand or hunting blind that does not injure a tree, is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season; or
     (E) a wildlife viewing blind or stand that is placed for a duration not to exceed thirty (30) days in one location per calendar year, does not injure a tree, and is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number.
6. Except as stated above, no one is allowed to erect, construct, occupy or maintain any structure that is affixed to a tree by nails, screws or other means that injure or damage the tree except as otherwise authorized by the department. "Structure is defined very broadly, and includes "signs."
7. Fires are prohibited on roads, trails, and in parking lots (apparently aimed at ending teenage gatherings.)
8. Unauthorized research projects are prohibited on state land.
9. The use of clay targets and other breakable targets is prohibited on state land.
10. The DEC can now prohibit target practice in specific areas by posting.
11. Paintballs and paintball guns cannot be possessed on state land.

The DEC also stated: "Numerous comments were received relating to dogs on leashes. This rulemaking does not address dog leash issues."

These rules do not apply to the portion of the finger Lakes trail that runs through state land under the control of the NYS Parks Department (like Allegany, Darien Lakes, Letchworth) or the Finger Lakes National Forest.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Britton Peak to Cascade River on the SHT

Lake Agnes
Lake Agnes (photo by Jim Colten)
from a trip report by Jim Colton, posted on the hiker Yahoo group

My friend Fred and myself hiked the Britton-Oberg segment Friday May 22 then met Roliegh, Vicky, Craig, Keri, Joe and Lisette for backpacking from Oberg to Cascade River.

Days were warm and sunny (about 60*F). Low temps were 42*F Saturday morning and lower 30's Sunday and Monday.

The trail was generally dry with infrequent short patches of stiff mud and even fewer areas of loose mud or water. Much sign of trail clearing work by the volunteer crews ... THANK YOU!

Creeks and rivers were running well.

Dutchman's Britches, Marsh Marigolds, what appears to be a yellow violet and acres of a small white and pink flower I can't identify were blooming. A couple other wildflowers appeared to be well on their way. WONDERFUL!

We met numerous day hikers and backpackers (including a group of young people from England) and shared campsites with some very nice folks.

Pleasant weather, great trail and even better fellowship ... life IS good.

To see all the pictures, join the hiker Yahoo group

Howard Beye Memorial Hike

hikers on the Bristol Branch of the FLT
hikers on the 2009 Howard Beye Hike (photo by Jacqui Wensich)

from Jacqui Wensich

The first Howard Beye Memorial Hike was held June 6, 2009 on the trail section that Howard and Dorothy maintained for over 22 years on the Bristol Hills Branch Trail. There was a good turnout, and the steep ascents were a challenge.

Dorothy Beye
Dorothy Beye (photo by Jacqui Wensich)

Dorothy Beye, Howard's widow commented, "Once Wally Wood (founder of the Finger Lakes Trail) got a hold of Howard it was on." She added, speaking of the many trail volunteers and hikers, "You enriched Howard's life as much as he enriched yours."

an Alley Cat work crew in 2004
2004 Alley Cat work crew. Howard is 2nd from the left
Although the Bristol Branch is not part of the North Country Trail, Howard was one of the NCT icons for as long as most of us can remember. He was a member of the NCTA board for many years, and served as volunteer trail coordinator for New York State. He led the Alley Cat work crews who improved trail and built shelters across the width of New York.

Here's to many more years of remembering Howard with a special hike!

See Finger Lakes Trail Conference

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

WinterWoman Hikes Allegany State Park- NY

backpackers in Allegany State Park
WinterWoman and fellow hikers
from the blog A Passion For Nature, by Jennifer Schlick

The mighty LASSes (Ladies Adventure and Social Society) and a few of their lassies set for themselves a rugged challenge for Memorial Day weekend 2009: to hike the section of the North Country Trail / Finger Lakes Trail that goes through Allegany State Park.

On day one, everyone agreed that the theme was wildflowers. Blooms of all descriptions were evident wherever they hiked.

The adventure for day two was actually experienced by other hikers. A woman came running down the trail yelling that she and her boyfriend had seen a bear. The LASSes got out their cameras and their wits, but didn't catch even a glimpse of the bruin.

They also reported so many tent caterpillars that they were continually walking into strands of the webs, and having frass (caterpillar poop) fall on them from the trees.

Several of their number had to leave after two days, but some of the group continued on and completed all of Finger Lakes Trail map 1.

Read about their entire and see lots of great pictures, beginning at Day 1- Wildflowers

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wisconsin Journalist Checks out Itasca

the original article may be read at Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, "Beauty courses through Minnesota park where Mississippi River starts," by Ann Wessel

Journalist, Ann Wessel and her sister recently checked out Itasca Lake State Park, Minnesota. Itasca is the headwaters of the Mississippi River and the North Country Trail is one of the trails that pass through the park.

The remainder of the story has been removed due to objections from the Leader-Telegram.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Senator Levin Meets Nimblewill Nomad

Senator Carl Levin, Nimblewill Nomad, Bruce Matthews Senator Carl Levin greets NimblewillNomad while NCTA Director Bruce Matthews looks on (photo by JHY)
by JHY

At the Grand Traverse Hiking Club National Trails Day event this morning, NCT thru-hiker Nimblewill Nomad (Eb Eberhart) was welcomed by about 50 people. Everyone gathered at Guernsey Lake State Forest Campground just west of Kalkaska, Michigan.

The club was celebrating the official opening of the connection of the TART and KART trails with a new section of the North Country Trail. Another reason to celebrate the new trail section is that these miles of NCT will no longer be concurrent with the Shore-to-Shore horseback riding trail.

Senator Carl Levin attended the festivities and presented NCTA Executive Director Bruce Matthews with a ceremonial copy of the Omnibus Public Lands Act which (among other things) gives the NCT authority to buy land from willing sellers.

Senator Carl Levin presents Bruce Matthews with a copy of the Omnibus Public Lands Act Senator Carl Levin presents Bruce Matthews with a copy of the Omnibus Public Lands Act (photo by JHY)

After the opening ceremonies participants took part in one of three activities: a hike, a bike ride, or kayaking. A morning in the woods is always great when it is followed by grilled hot dogs, potluck salads and desserts!

cooking hotdogs on a portable grill Hot dog lunch follows the morning activities (photo by JHY)

See North Country Trail Gains Willing Seller Authority
See Nimblewill Nomad's Journal

Friday, June 5, 2009

Two More National Trails Day Events

from various sources

The Harbor Springs Chapter, Michigan, of the North Country Trail Association near Petoskey, will sponsor a two mile hike on Saturday, June 6, on “Section 2” of the trail between Brutus Road and Stutsmansville Road in Pleasantview Township. A longer hike is optional for those wishing to go further on the trail. All are invited, including children, to this free hike. We will see spring wildflowers, a beech-maple forest, cross an active stream, and ascend to a climax forest that includes beech, maple and giant ash trees. There is a section where the effects of logging can be seen and how the trail has been preserved. Carpool from the Pleasantview Township Hall at 10 a.m., returning at approximately 1 p.m. Difficulty level: moderate. Bring bug repellent, water, and a lunch. Contact Gary Zebko, (231) 526-1312, for information.

The North Country Trail Hikers Chapter, Marquette, Michigan, is hosting a family hike for National Trails Day from 1:00-4:00 pm at Wetmore Pond. Go north out of Marquette on County Road 550 (the Big Bay Road) for approximately 5 miles - a little past Sugarloaf Mountain. Watch for our signs on the left on the curve. Hikes range from easy to moderate in woods, over some wetlands and up into some rocky outcrops with views of both Wetmore Pond and the Lily Pond. Connections to the North Country National Scenic Trail lead towards Hogback Mountain or to County Road 550. Contact Lorana Jinkerson, 906-226-6210, for more information.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

12th Conference on National Scenic & Historic Trails

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from the Partnership for the National Trail System

"Gearing Up for the Decade for the National Trails: Outreach, Protection and Capacity"

Join the Partnership for the National Trails System in the shadow of the Bitterroot Mountains to launch the “Decade for the National Trails.” Workshops will elaborate ways we will accomplish the three goals we’ve set for the National Trails Decade:
  • Expanding Outreach about the National Trails to all Americans;
  • Protecting the natural and cultural resources and completing the on-the-ground trails; and
  • Increasing the Capacity of public agencies and non-profit organizations to sustain the trails and their resources.

This conference will be a healthful confluence of current themes and issues. Outreach will include our communities, many of which are at a crossroads economically, socially, and energy-wise. Protection includes conservation of cherished values and preservation of fragile resources. Capacity has many aspects, especially constituency-building, vibrant volunteerism, and strong organizational competencies.

The conference is being hosted by the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, and assisted by the Nez Perce Trail Foundation, and the Continental Divide Trail Alliance.

A matrix of field trips and 90-minute workshops will be held that relate to these broad ideas. In each track, the workshops move from informational to action-oriented. Some divide at this step for NSTs and NHTs, for their implementation issues are somewhat different. For variety, some will include speakers, some panels, some brainstorming, and some facilitated discussions.

See the Partnership for the National Trail System

More Trails Day Events

from various sources

The West Michigan Chapter will host a continental breakfast followed by a hike and a DVD of the trail. We will end with a potluck lunch. Meet at the Schoolhouse on June 6, 10 am. Members are each urged to bring at least one non-member guest to the annual celebration of National Trails Day. Contact JerriLynn

The Star of the North Chapter, Minnesota, have a planned trail rehab, and maintenance day planned in the Chippewa National Forest near Remer, MN. Contact Brian

The Chequamegon Chapter, Wisconsin, is celebrating on June 20th with a trail maintenance day. Contact Marty

Monday, June 1, 2009

National Trails Day Events

from various sources

This coming Saturday, June 6, is National Trails Day. Several North Country Trail chapters are planning events.

The Itasca Moraine Chapter, Minnesota, is hosting its 8th annual event near Itasca State Park. Rather than the customary hike, a workday is scheduled on a section of the trail under construction. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The gathering point is where the North Country Trail crosses Spider Lake Trail. From Park Rapids take Hwy 71 north, turn right on Hubbard Co. 89, turn east onto Coon Lake Forest Road, and north onto Spider Lake Forest Rd to the event.

Bring water, sack lunch, and snacks. Bring loppers or pruning shears; other tools will be provided. Dress for the weather; wear sturdy footgear.

Contact Carter Hedeen at 218-732-9226 for more information.

The Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter, Michigan's UP, will join with the Michigan DNR Project GO at Tahquamenon Falls. Join them for family fun and "Hike between da Falls." Volunteer for an hour or so to promote the North Country Trail!

Contact Kay Kujawa for more information.

The Spirit of the Woods Chapter, Michigan's LP, plans a family fun day at Blacksmith Bayou east of Manistee and south of Brethren in the Manistee National Forest. There will be hikes on the North Country Trail, an interpretive trail walk, free lunch, and a short kayak trip is also an option.

Contact Ramona Venegas for more information.