Posted on September 6, 2019
Running a couple days behind here, oops.
This will be a short post today. (I think) Today is the day I update you on how many miles of the North Country Trail I crushed the month before. Disappointingly, I only added 3 miles in August! Why? I have several reasons, or excuses….even to myself they sound like a lot of “blah, blah, blah”. Truth is, I just didn’t get out there in August to do much hiking. But let me tell you about the two hikes I did do:
Mile 359.73 to mile 358.75, and back
My daughter and I did this hike together. We knew it was going to be a short one. We were “wasting time” before a family member made it to town. We started at the Hurricane River campground. In the summer, this area is packed with tourists; not only the ones camping, but also the ones using this spot as a starting point to walk to the Au Sable Lighthouse, which is 1.5 miles east. We opted for the much less crowded path that leads west instead, and it turned out to be a very quiet, relaxing walk. The only other people we ran into, was a group of backpackers as we were returning to the campground, and they were just taking off. On this section of the trail, you start off walking just inside the treeline, along the Lake Superior shore. There are several places where you could get down to the beach to dip your toes in the water, or refill your water jug. Although Lake Superior has a reputation for being exceptionally clean (I drank the lake water straight out of the lake on numerous occasions when I was little) it would still be advisable to run it thru a filter. The trail was very thin in some spots, with the vegetation, growing as high as my shoulders, that I had to push thru. These spots didn’t last very long, and the trail opened up again. We stopped regularly, after pushing thru high grass and plants, to check ourselves for creepy crawly hitchhikers (aka ticks). About half a mile in, the trail veers away from the lake and crosses H-58. Please be careful crossing here. Since they paved this road in the 90’s, the speed limit is now 55mph. There IS a “trail crossing” sign to warn drivers, but it’s pretty little and at that speed, they may not see it. I know I didn’t when I drove thru the first time. Being mid August, the mosquitos weren’t bad. In fact, they didn’t bother us at all until almost the end of our hike, when we had finally started to get a little sweaty – and even then, there were only a few here and there. The trail itself is fairly flat. The trees create some pretty gnarly roots in the trail though. Also be warned, I didn’t see a single blue blaze along this entire walk, in either direction. This little 6 inch square sign was the only thing indicating we were on the right trail.
Mile 346.5 to mile 346, and back
There was more to this hike than that. We started at the Little Beaver Lake campground, but it’s a mile off the North Country Trail. So, it was a 3-mile hike but I only added 1 mile to my North Country Trail total. We hiked from the campground to Big Star Cove, all within the Pictures Rocks National Lakeshore. It’s about a mile and a half total, but it’s a very scenic walk. Theres Little Beaver Creek, Arsenault Creek and Little Beaver Lake…..as well and some pretty impressive rock formations along the trail. Also, in August, you ust might find blueberries. We found uite a few. It slowed our progress a it…..but BLUEBERRIES!
It starts off as a forest trail, but then transtions to a sandy dune trail. You join the North Country Trail right along the Lake Superior shoreline. At first, the shoreline was beach, but it turned to sandstone before long. Please be very careful on this section of the trail, until you leave the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Quite often, the trail is right atop the sandstone cliffs. Not only is there a risk of falling off the cliffs, but the sandstone is not 100% stable. At BigStar Cove, there was evidence of recent collapse, and that same day, some kayakers had a near-miss with a cliff collapsing into the water – read all about it HERE. So, be careful! We reached the coves, climbed down to water level, ate lunch, and went swimming. There were hardly any other people there, the weather was amazingly warm and calm, and the water felt fantastic.
We even jumped off one of the smaller cliffs into the water! Sidenote: If cliff diving is your thing, check out Black Rocks in Marquette. I haven’t been, but many of my friends have and they say it’s a blast.
These two hikes put my hiking mileage at 29.5 miles total for the year, and 14.8 miles on the NCT this year. Did you know, if you hike 100 miles of the NCT in one year, they’ll give you a patch? I don’t think I’m going to make it this year, but maybe next year!
Enjoy these additional photos I took while hiking and adventuring this month. Please remember to like, comment, share and follow me on social medias! You can find me at #rgseekingadventure or by clicking on the links at the top of the page!