Another great weather forecast for my hike from Croton Dam to 20 Mile Road: highs around 80 F. (26.7 C.) and partly sunny skies. Yes! Last year I faced such extreme temperatures and humidity in the U.P. that I am so grateful for every temperate day.
I drove to the 20 Mile Road Trailhead, where I again met Dale and Kathy. They shuttled me back to Croton Dam – such great folks! I was off hiking by 9 a.m.
Striking Out for 20th Street
Today’s trek was mostly road walking, with two stretches of trail. One was about a half-mile (.8 km) long after about 9 miles (14.5 km) of road walking. The second chunk of trail was 4 miles (6.4 km) out from 20 Mile Road.
The road walking wasn’t so bad. The first section, along Elm Avenue, was somewhat busy, but the drivers were cautious and courteous. The rest of the roads were pretty quiet, although quite a few piggybacked trucks went past. They all looked the same, so I’m sure they were with the same industry/company. But I couldn’t see what was in the truck beds.
One fun spot came when I passed a pond and spotted the Loch Ness monster! He had green eyes and an evil grin. You just never know what you’ll see on a National Scenic Trail!
Now, I don’t like to hate on trail segments. They are what they are, and every trail has some scruffy portions. The short trail segment was not well-tended, nor well-traveled. No big deal; it was short.
The second/last segment started off poorly, with lots of high, overgrown vegetation and plenty of prickers. Thank goodness it hadn’t rained recently, or that section would have been a nightmare. After a few miles it did calm down and turned into more pleasant, wooded hiking.
I’ve learned, though, that trails differ by season. Some that are nasty in one season are quite lovely in another.
Tonight I’m staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Cedar Springs, east of Grand Rapids. It just opened last year, and is great!
NCT Miles Today: 16.9 (27.2 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 901.6 (1,451 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,650.6 (2,656.4 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,949.4 (4,746.6 km)