Gosh, today’s hike from Rockford to Seidman County Park was one of highs and lows. Yesterday, my last-minute trail angel, Nancy, was my shuttler. She said she’d shuttle me again today, but could only do so at 7 a.m. because she was heading to St. Louis. That was fine, except we were supposed to get rain overnight and into late morning. I’d rather not start a day-long hike in the rain, so I said I’d try and get a taxi. No worries!
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But she said I shouldn’t take a taxi, and gave me the number for some hiking buddies. The wife, Betty, said she’d be happy to shuttle me later in the morning. So that was the plan.
Heading Toward Seidman County Park
The forecast changed slightly when I got up, with the rain predicted to end by 10. So Betty and I agreed to meet at Seidman at 10 for the shuttle. Halfway there, I realized I’d forgotten my backpack in my motel room. Really?! So I had to go back. She was so kind and didn’t care.
Betty delivered me to my Rockford start at 11, and I was off. The first mile or so (1-2 km) wound along the Rogue River (love that name!) on a paved path. At one point it was FILLED with goose poop, so I warned an oncoming walker. She said, “I know. We call this spot Poop Alley.”
From Poop Alley the trail led past the dam, through the cute Rockford downtown and then out of town on connecting road routes. Right after I got on the connecting roads, a woman pulled over in her car. She said she could see I was a serious hiker, and offered me a bag of sliced watermelon. How kind!
Two hours in, when I was ready for lunch, I hit a short, off-road segment near Silver Lake, where there were picnic benches and garbage cans. Score! So lunch was great (especially that juicy watermelon!).
The Afternoon Gets Sketchy
After that, the path was a mixture of busy roads and paved recreational trails. The going was somewhat tough, as the terrain was all steep uphills followed by steep downhills.
The humidity kept rising, and I was sweating buckets. Around mid-afternoon it poured for a short time, but at least that cleared the air a little. And I had my hiking umbrella!
I reached Seidman County Park around 5:30. I changed into dry clothes, then drove the 30 minutes back to the Holiday Inn Express in Cedar Springs to pick up my AirPods Pro, which I’d realized sometime today that I’d also left behind. Argh!
Finally Off to My Campsite
From the motel, it was another 50 minutes to Ionia State Recreation Area, where I’d booked a campsite for two nights. There are no places to camp in this part of the NCT, and this was the closest campground I could find. (It would have been just 30 minutes from Seidman, had I not left behind my AirPods Pro.)
When I got here, it was a convoluted process to check in and get to my site. The mosquitoes were terrible, which I can’t really complain about, since the bugs have been minimal these past 2.5 weeks. Thank goodness I had brought along two Thermacells. They saved the night.
By the time I had camp set up, I was totally sweaty again. Ugh. This is why I love fall and winter – no sweating!
Tonight the overnight low is supposed to be 72 F. (22.2 C.). That’s disgusting! I’ll sweat all night, and then face three days of hiking in 88 F. (31.1 C.) temps. Oh, well. You take what you get.
NCT Miles Today: 18.4 (29.6 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 938.7 (1,510.7 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,687.7 (2,716.1 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 2,912.3 (4,686.9 km)