Grassy area with fence and trees near M-20 and Croton Dam on the North Country Trail
Had a great night in the White Cloud Campground, preparing for today’s trek to Croton Dam. This is a small, county campground and it appears only three or so of us are actually here right now, although there are lots of RVs parked around. Maybe people rent out the spaces for the entire summer, but only come up on weekends? Anyway, the lack of people = quiet. 

I didn’t need to break camp this morning, as I’m here two nights. So I just got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and made my way to Croton Dam. Trail Angels Barbara and Chris shuttled me back to the M-20 Trailhead. They are hoping to be the first mother-son duo to complete the NCT. Good luck, you two!

Striking Out for Croton Dam

Today’s hike was a longer one: 23.4 miles (37.7 km). I headed out on a lovely hike through the typical pine forests, hardwoods and some wetland-type vegetation. The path was mostly flat all day, which was great since it was a long Painted blue rock with NCT Hike On painted on for me.

In the afternoon, things changed. I went through some really interesting ecological zones that I’ll have to learn about. They had grasses and scruffy vegetation, with pine trees and hardwoods interspersed. It’s hard to explain, but I don’t recall seeing this type of environment before.

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Red dam discharging water on a sunny day.
The last mile or so (2 km) took me above the Muskegon River, which was pretty, and then to the Croton Dam Pond and parking lot. 

The Bugs Were Bugging Me

This was the first day on this trip that I broke down and put on my Sawyer Picaridin bug spray. The bugs weren’t horrible, but it appeared one deer fly and a handful of mosquitoes followed me for the first few hours. That’s not terrible, clearly. And yet when five or six bugs are constantly circling around you, biting and buzzing, it gets annoying.

Oh – I spied two painted rocks today. One was in NCT blue and said, “NCT. Hike on!” The other was painted in cheery colors and featured a smiling crab and seashells. 


NCT Miles Today: 23.4 (37.7 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 884.7 (1,423.8 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,633.7 (2,629.2 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,966.3 (4,773.8 km)

Get your Sawyer Picaridin bug spray here – it’s good stuff!

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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