Fence posts in a field.
Today was one of those hiking days you’d describe as, “The good, the bad and the ugly.” 

After a lovely night at the Cobblestone Inn & Suites in Harvey, where I was able to wash my clothes, buy groceries and have a nice, hot shower, I woke up energized for the day. I had a shorter day, all along the flat, easy canals. Or so I thought.

Heading Out from Hwy. 52

After striking out from Hwy. 52, I enjoyed several miles along the canal path. But then the path doubled back on itself. That didn’t seem right. Consulting my map/app, I saw the trail actually veered off to the right. Only there was no trail there, and there was a lot of fencing. I wandered into the weeds anyway and found a small trail sign and small gap in the fencing. 

This is where the trail leaves the New Rockford canal (guessing) and enters the Lonetree Wildlife Management Area. After going through the fence, there was another sign/entrance that led you to … an electric fence. The app said to go through the fence, but there was no opening.

I called an ND NCTA member (only number I had) and asked how to get through the fence. She laughed and said yes, there wasn’t really a trail here, and just make do. And don’t get electrocuted. Yikes,

Heading into the Unknown

I crawled under the fence and then had 5 or 6 miles (8-9.7 km) of trekking through vegetation up to my knees and even Trail through grasses,waist. There were trail markers, but no trail except in a few random spots.

I had a trail angel shuttle arranged for 3 p.m. to avoid the storms predicted for 3-5 p.m. But now I was behind schedule, due to the gnarly terrain I hadn’t expected. 

When I finally reached a road – and found lots of ticks on me, plus heard rumbles of thunder – I decided to hike the rest of the way on the roads. 

Day Is Done

I absolutely understand how hard it is to build and maintain trail, whether that’s because of a lack of money or volunteers, permission from landowners, etc. But it was sad to miss the trail here. The scenery would have been beautiful from the trail. But there was no trail. And there were so many ticks. I don’t want to get Lyme disease.

Tall grasses.
I made it to Faul Campground, where I’d planned to spend the night. It looks like a nice spot, but I was glad to go back to Harvey, since the rain began almost as soon as I got in the car for my shuttle. 

I’ll have to strategize from here. Not sure if the remaining trail will be this same no-trail path, or if maintained paths will emerge. I do believe I still have some hiking on the McClusky canal, so that should be nice.


ND NCT miles today: 16.7 (26.9 km)
ND NCT miles to date: 325.6 (524 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 3,226.6 (5,291.7 km) 
Total NCT miles to go: 1,373.4 (2,210.3 km)

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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