If you’re an outdoorsman and live in Michigan, more than likely you’ve heard of the North Country Trail or NCT as it is sometimes referred to. The North Country Trail is one of America’s eleven congressionally designated National Scenic Trail systems and the longest. It runs from New York to North Dakota passing through 7 states and totalling approximately 4500 miles, Michigan owning 1150 of those miles.
I’ve spent time on the North Country Trail within the Manistee National Forest in the Lower Peninsula and on the Superior Shoreline near Munising, in the Upper Peninsula. Both of these sections of trail are spectacular and worth visiting again but they are only a fraction of the Michigan distance of trail. One day I’d like to hike the entire North Country Trail as a thru-hiker, but that won’t happen till I retire, unless I can take a sabbatical from work (unlikely). What I can do now is complete the trail in sections, starting with the Michigan Section of the trail.
I’m putting together plans to complete the Michigan section of the NCT this year if possible, to raise money for the “Kids Food Basket” of Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan. The Kids Food Basket is an awesome organization that helps feed kids in the local community and one that I’m passionate about AND I’ve wanted to complete the North Country Trail for years, so it made sense to combine the two. Since I’m starting a little late in the season, it may take me until next summer to complete the whole thing, due to the difficulty of logistics and early snows in the Upper Peninsula. To help with my planning I decided to visit the trail’s Headquarters located in Lowell Michigan.
It just so happened that the day I visited the Headquarters, there were two happenings going on that day. The first was the unveiling of 3 murals painted by local students, that will be displayed on the outside wall of the Headquarter’s building. The second was to welcome Luke Jordan, who’s currently attempting to thru-hike the entire trail and is close to the halfway point. It was a fun afternoon, but not a good day to talk to the rangers about my plans. I didn’t want to distract anyone from celebrating the accomplishments of the students or Luke. I snapped some pictures, ate some snacks and took time to congratulate the students and talk to Luke about his adventures!
The students did an amazing job on the murals, it was great to see the number of people who came out to congratulate them.
Luke received a lot of attention from the town people and the local newspaper. Luke is from North Dakota and had a lot of good things to say about the friendly and helpful people, that he’s encountered on the Michigan section.
I talked to some of the students that worked on the mural, they showed a lot of pride in being part of the North Country Trail!
It was a good time hanging out at Ellas of Lowell for some good eats!!
I continue working my plans for completing the Michigan Section of the North Country Trail, to raise money for the Kids Food Basket of Grand Rapids, hopefully starting in August. I’m excited to get started on my adventure, exploring Michigan, on the North Country Trail and helping to raise money for kids that might not know where their next meal is coming from. Stay tuned, I’ll be posting more info on my plans. For now, get out and find YOUR adventure this summer, on the North Country Trail!!