North Country Trail - Manistee

The Day Before We Started Hiking the NCT (North Country Trail)

This hiking trip is going to be fun!  Well… fun might not be the best way to describe it.  My vocabulary has suffered significantly as of late, monosyllabic words are all I’ve got left.  The truth is that our trip will be fun, but it’s also complicated. On the surface, a 10 day hiking trip with two amazing people, celebrating your 10 year wedding anniversary, is
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 781 – 792

We hiked about 11 trail miles today, probably more like 13 total.  The parking area that the AllTrails app started us at was not the optimal location.  It did take us to the Hodenpyl Dam parking lot, which was cool to see, but the NCT does not actually go through Hodenpyl Dam parking lot.  We hiked a half mile here, over a suspension bridge there, wandered
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 792 to 803

We all woke up this morning around 0600 without the need for an alarm clock.  It was a slow kind of morning as our bodies adjusted to the pains of a first day on trail.  As far as federal campsites go, “Government Lansing” (awkward name), was a great place to end a 13 total mile day.  The night was filled with party music, boats floating around
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 803 to 823

The strangest noises of the forest happen right around dusk.  Large lumbering creatures test the boundaries of your campsite while smaller critters do a quick pass for food.  All of that stuff happened last night but the best nature show didn’t start until midnight.  A large bird that Brianna initially thought was a “confused goose”, did circles around the blacksmith bayou, calling out into the night.  The
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 823 to 828

No breakfast.  No coffee.  On the count of three, we break down camp and hike out of here like yesterday didn’t happen.  I did filter out a couple bottles of muck water before we left, and they tasted as bad as drinking muck water sounds.  It’s amazing how much less water you need when camp consists of setting up and passing out.  In a normal camp, we are
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 828 to 841

So thankful.  So filled with joy.  We slept through the wind storm in as safe a spot as there could be, the Vista Cruiser.  The AC in the trailer didn’t work so Brianna slept on the bed with her head near the open window and I put my sleeping mat on the floor next to the open door.  It probably won’t surprise you to hear that we
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 841 to 855.5

A night full or wind and rain, mostly restful.  Wind so strong that It seemed as though the tent would lift off from the ground at times!  Luckily, or skillfully, Brianna and I assembled it properly tight such that nothing helicoptered off into the night or collapsed in on us.   We fell asleep to a mixture or storm and our neighbors watching what sounded like
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 855.5 to 868.5

Slugs were slimming around the outside of the tent in every direction our blurry eyes could see this morning.  I’m not sure if slugs and pine trees go together, or if was the colder temperatures, but this was our first time encountering an army of shelless snails.   The mornings where we are dispersed camping are always a bit more chaotic than when we are
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North Country Trail - Manistee

NCT Mile 868.5 to 883.5

I’ve been thinking about a couple terms thrown around the hiker world, “hiker legs” & “hiker hunger”.   Hiker hunger is the idea that once you’ve been hiking for a few day or weeks straight, you can eat like a bottomless pit.  I put this to the test last night.  One of the things I haven’t seen referenced in hiker YouTube videos or books is what
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