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.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NCTA Hires David Cowles for Development

David Cowles
David Cowles

based on an article in the North Star

David Cowles comes to the North Country Trail Association from NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School, in Lander, Wyoming. His role for the NCTA is Development Director.

The NCTA has been hopeful of hiring someone for this important function for a number of years. One of the ongoing challenges for any non-profit is that of raising funds. The ability of the NCTA to fulfill its mission has continually been limited by the funds available. Cowles will dedicate his time to remedying this situation.

Cowles holds a Master's degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. His professional experience spans several decades, including seven years with NOLS as Associate Director of Development.

With wife, Anita, and his two children, David has moved to west Michigan to guide the NCTA fund-raising efforts. He says, "The single most transformational outdoor experience I have ever had was a 90-day trek on one of our National Scenic Trails. That trip chiseled life lessons into my life that still guide my values today."

Welcome, David!

See North Country Trail Association

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wegmans FLTC Passport Hikes

Finger Lakes Trail / Wegmans Passport Sign
Wegmans Passport check-in location (photo by Gene Bavis)

from Finger Lakes Trail Conference

Wegmans Grocery and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference have just kicked off a great program to get people out exploring trails. Hikers can earn the chance to win great prizes from Wegmans. There are 12 locations included in the passport, but after you hike just four of them you can earn a patch, and receive coupons from Wegman's and other sponsors. When you complete 10 hikes, your name will be be added to a pool for either a $100 Wegmans gift card or a free Wegmans picnic pack for you and 20 of your friends to enjoy. These grand prizes will be awarded once each year, in mid-October.

Once you pick up your passport book at any Wegmans, or various other locations, you can begin your hikes. All maps needed are included in the booklet. Hikes are located on FLT maps L1, L2, M8, M9, B1, B3, M12, M14, M16, M18, and M19.
Finger Lakes Trail / Wegmans Passport overview map
Wegmans Passport locations

Hikes vary from 1.5 to 4 miles. Somewhere in the course of each designated hike there will be a green mailbox and a sign like the one above. Sign the trail register you'll find in the mailbox. Open the passport, and find the page designed for rubbings. Use a pencil or crayon and make a rubbing of the map number from the sign. This is your proof that you were at the location.

Complete directions for how to participate are found in the booklet.

The booklet is also available for download from the FLTC web site.

This segment is on FLTC maps L1, L2, M8, M9, B1, B3, M12, M14, M16, M18, and M19

See FLTC Passport Program

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Painters Hike Much of UP

Dale & Kathy Painter
Dale & Kathy Painter at the Castle Rock Trailhead

submitted by Dale Painter

Kathy and I wanted all of our new NCT "friends" to know that we completed our 321 mile hike across the UP (note: we skipped over the Pictured Rocks because of 5 days lost because of a funeral we had to return to...and we'd done that section several times previously; plus we did not do all the connector segments or long roadwalks.)

What an amazing hike we had and we are deeply indebted to all of you who helped us along the way. You are an incredible and kind bunch of special people and we thank each of you for the part you played in making it so easy for us at critical junctures and with important information.

We received valuable insight to the many hours of work that is invested behind the scenes in keeping the NCT open to hikers like us...and the uphill effort it is to promote the trail and encourage others to take advantage of this national treasure. Several of you noted how few hikers actually get out on many sections of the trail and we ourselves were a bit flabbergasted when we during 24 days of hiking that we met NO other backpackers the whole length of the trail (with the exception of one day in the Porkies) and encountered only a handful of day hikers, all within 3 miles of a trailhead.

Though we have never previously posted a trail journal on-line for others to share, we decided that the very least we could do in support of the NCT (and all the work that all of you perform) would be to write up the account of our hike and include a bunch of pictures that others can read to become better educated about the NCT in the Upper Peninsula and in Michigan. If you would like to read our journal, you can access it and the pictures at the web site called "" (see link below).

Again, thanks for your hospitality and hopefully our paths will cross again somewhere out there on the NCT!

This segment is on NCTA maps MI-9-14

See Dale & Kathy's 2010 NCT Trail Journal

Monday, September 6, 2010

Guide to Hodenpyl Reroute

portion of map of Hodenpyl reroute on North Country Trail

by JHY

The Grand Traverse Hikers Club chapter of the NCTA has worked hard over the past several years to complete about 15 new miles of trail. One could argue that some of it is one of the prettiest pieces of trail in the whole lower peninsula of Michigan. But there have been a lot of questions about finding the new section.

The trail association has issued, this summer, a new edition of the official map MI-05. However, the Grand Traverse Hikers have also created a guide to the section. It includes a general overview map, with trailheads, campsites, and text to describe each section. The entire brochure is available at Northern Exposure and Fletcher Campgrounds. However, the map and guide info is available as a pdf download below.

Also check the Trail Wiki at for a complete description of the section. Please add any comments you have to the Wiki.

This segment is on NCTA map MI-05

See Wiki Guide
See GTHC brochure, p 1 a pdf

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Trail Damage in Paul Bunyan from ATVs

does anyone have a picture of this?

based on a news article in the Park Rapids Enterprise

ATV damage to trail built through the Paul Bunyan State Forest in Minnesota has prompted outrage from both the local North Country Trail Association chapter, and the local Timberland Dirt Devils ATV Club. "There have been a lot of positive moves by many groups (of ATV riders), but we have to respect each other’s designated areas," said Bruce M. Johnson, president of the Itasca Moraine Chapter.

Timberland president agreed. He was angry and said that his club actually confronts irresponsible riders if they catch them in the act.

In this case there may be a chance to do just that. On August 14, hiker Byron Knapp discovered the damage. Trees had been knocked down, ruts left on the hiking trail, and new trails cut through the underbrush. But one of the ATVs that caused the mayhem was also damaged, and parts were found in the woods. The Hubbard County Sheriff's Department is looking for the vandals.

The damage site is northwest of Emmaville.

This segment is on NCTA map MN-10

See Itasca Moraine Chapter of the NCTA

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Connection to GET Progressing via Crystal Hills Branch

connection of Great Easter Trail to Finger Lakes Trail

info from the Finger Lakes Trail Conference

The North Country Trail will soon be connected to the Great Eastern Trail (GET). The GET roughly parallels the Appalachian Trail, but on the west side of the mountains. In Pennsylvania the GET follows the Mid-State Trail to the New York border. At that point there are about 6 miles of road walk in Steuben County's Town of Tuscarora. At that point the trail enters Pinnacle State Park. Next, the trail passes through McCarthy State Forest and reaches the Village of Addison at a small cemetery. It will ultimately join the Finger Lakes/ North Country Trails. Orange blazes mark the route of the GET.
portion of Crystal Hills map

A new section of the Crystal Hills Trail is now open which continues the route from Addison. The new trail is on map CH2 and starts from where the blazing previously stopped at the corner of Maple St. and Ames St in Addison. Hike north from there through cemetery, tree farm, and woods. You come out of the woods on Mose Rd., just west of Beeman Hollow Rd. The new section is 4.0 miles long. There are also two new short spur trails, one to a waterfall and the other down to parking on NY 417. Not only is this a pretty section of trail to hike, but it eliminates the roadwalk along busy NY 417.

This segment is on FLTC map CH 2

See Finger Lakes Trail
See Great Eastern Trail Moving Closer to Connection with NCT/FLT