View of marshland with a beaver dam on the North Country Trail in between 76th Street and Tank Creek.
My hiking plan today was up in the air; I could hike to Nichols Lake, which has two official campground, or go a few more miles and (hopefully) camp near Tank Creek.

But first, about last night. After all of those dune buggies/ORVs kept roaring down the road from about 5-9 p.m., I assumed I’d have a noisy night. But when I got into my tent around 10 p.m., the traffic all stopped. I didn’t sleep well, though. Not sure why, but I woke up every hour or less. Oh, well.

This morning I made the switch from day-hiking to backpacking, so I had to reconfigure what’s in my pack. And gosh, my pack is so much heavier!

Making My Way to Tank Creek

Initially, I wanted to stop and camp at Nichols Lake. Why not enjoy a nice campsite near a lake, and where there was water via a pump? But I’d already arranged an early shuttle for Monday night, which was supposed to be a short day. So if I stopped early today, that would hinder those plans. I decided to make a decision once I reached the turnoff.

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The morning went well. The terrain was flat, passing through a lot of wetlands. That was a huge help, as I was adjusting to the heavier pack.

I saw two guys ahead of me, whom I later met/passed. They were hiking with two dogs for the weekend, and were from Toledo. I haven’t seen many hikers in the last two weeks.

Changing Terrain

After the wetlands the trail got a little hilly, and passed many small lakes. The weather was in the low 80s F. (26-28 C.), with not-too-bad humidity, so I was pleased.

I hit the campsite turnoff just before 3 p.m. That seemed too early to stop, so I pushed on until the second Tank Creek View of pine trees looking up toward the sky.crossing. I found an OK place to camp – nothing great – but it’ll do.

One big snafu came in regards to my Sawyer water filter. Last summer, while on the NCT, I went to use it on a day that had gone awry and where dehydration was a serious concern. It wasn’t working, so we had to push on the last few hours sans water.

Water Filter Issues

When I got home, I replaced the O ring, which is one common reason these filters suddenly don’t work. (People screw the cap on too tightly, which damages the O ring.) But putting in a new O ring didn’t solve the problem. But then, suddenly, it worked. The thing is, I can’t remember what Ed or I did that suddenly got it working! (Age!)

Anyway, I meant to check the water filter before this trip, but never did. So tonight I was out of water, went to filter some from the creek and the darn thing isn’t working again! Same issue. Thank goodness I carry chlorine dioxide tablets as a back-up, so I’m using those. 

Three colorful kayaks in Nichols Lake.
Tonight I’m trying to call in to our book club meeting. Hopefully I’ll have enough service. That’s been an issue.

OH! How could I forget to mention this?! Today, shortly after the trail split, I was hiking forward but looking backwards, making sure I was on the correct path. I stepped on something squishy and heard a hiss of air. I figured I’d stepped on some child’s squeak toy, and the squeaker was broken. It was actually a fairly large snake! The snake hissed at me when I stepped on it. 

Still kind of creeped out by the snake thing, and so glad we live in a state without poisonous snakes.


MI NCT miles today: 17.9 (28.8 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 845 (1,360 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,594 (2,565.3 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 3,006 (4,837.7 km)


©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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