Today’s trek from Timber Creek to 76th Street was short and easy. But sad, since Ed left for home today.
We slept in, since we’d had a late night last night, then took our time reorganizing everything. It’s great to have all the luxuries you can have with car access (and two cars!), but there’s also a wonderful simplicity with backpacking.
Anyway, I dropped my car at 76th Street and Ed shuttled me to Timber Creek and then we parted ways. It was about 10:50 a.m.
Heading to 76th Street
Today’s hike was uneventful and rather average, and yet wonderful. Once again, the terrain was either flat or rolling gently along. There were the usual hardwoods, pines and ferns. Always so many ferns! There were a few muddy spots, but nothing like what we’ve seen earlier. Every time the deer flies or gnats started to get annoying, a breeze blew them away.
As of last night, my plan was to hike to my car at 76th Street, then do an out-and-back hike to Sterling Marsh (1.5 miles / 2.4 km). Tomorrow morning, Dale and Kathy – the hikers and trail angels we’d met several days ago – were going to shuttle me from the M-20 trailhead back to 76th Street, where I’d start a two-day backpack.
I was going to meet Dale and Kathy at 5:45 a.m., because they were planning to drive two hours that morning to watch a granddaughter’s soccer game. While I was hiking, I realized they didn’t have to go to such trouble to shuttle me. For I could just leave my car at 76th Street and hike southbound for two days, after which they could shuttle me back at the end of the day – no crazy early morning times.
So when I got to 76th Street, I didn’t do the out-and-back to Sterling Marsh. Instead, I drove the few miles into Baldwin, where I had reception, and proposed my new plan. They agreed it was better.
I then tried to work for a few hours on these trail journals and other business online, since I (thought) I had service in town. But no matter where I parked, I kept getting stymied. I can see having bad service if my phone (ATT) has one bar and LTE, but even when my phone said I had two or three bars and 4G, I’d still have issues. I did get some work finished, but eventually gave up and drove back to the trailhead.
I’m still not positive it’s OK to camp here. But I was hoping the spot was quiet and I’d just stick my tent in one corner of the lot with my car blocking it from view. When I got to the lot at 6:45 p.m., one car was there. Hmm.
I set up my tent and futzed a bit, unsure if the car’s owner(s) would be coming back today. Eventually, a couple emerged from the woods. They hung out a bit without saying anything, then drove away.
At one point a young man roared up in a huge, white pickup truck, then hopped out to read the trail information. He even appeared to be taking notes. It seemed odd, but I was getting paranoid.
By this time I realized 76th Street is a super busy street, as traffic continually rushed past, including many (loud) dune buggies. One such conveyance, which featured two huge American flags, slowed down and stopped at the entrance to the trailhead. Would there be an incident? Luckily, they quickly sped away.
MI NCT miles today: 14 (22.5 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 827.1 (1,331.1 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,576.1 (2,536.5 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 3,023.9 (4,866.5 km)