Puddles on a gravel road.
I totally dodged a bullet last night in deciding not to camp at Jensen Campground, near the end of the day’s hike from the Drop Chute area. It ended up raining for hours, and the area got around one inch of rain, I’m told. Yikes!

When I got up today, it was gray and still sprinkling a little. I met my new trail angel, Steve Vetter, who shuttled me back to Drop Chute and more canal walking. I was really glad not to have to worry about ticks today, nor soggy, muddy footing.

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Heading Out from Drop Chute

I should probably say right away that I never did see the Drop Chute point of interest. Since I hiked around Coal Mine Lake, I’m assuming a drop chute has something to do with dropping coal down a chute once extracted from the mine. This point Slough and trees.of interest was on that last bit of trail I walked around yesterday, due to the overgrown trail and wealth of ticks.

While today’s hike was on canal paths, it wasn’t super easy. Due to all of the rain, the ground was pretty squishy/slippery, so I couldn’t hike too quickly. I also had to navigate many puddles. But it was overall pretty nice. Thank goodness I put on my taller gaiters. There was lots of splattery mud, sand and gravel.

The weather was cool, overcast and windy into the afternoon. Then, suddenly, the sun came out, which turned the water in the canals and lakes and sloughs a beautiful, sapphire blue.

Preparing for the Finale

I’ve got less than a week before I reach the western terminus. I can hardly believe it! I’ve got my shuttles lined up and Canal behind waving grasses.switched plans for my camping. I was going to camp around the Chain of Lakes Recreation Area to the west of here, but I’m staying in the McClusky Motor Motel another night, due to the great price.

Then, for the next two nights, I’ll be sleeping in the Turtle Lake church where Steve is pastor. Why? There is a wind advisory for tomorrow, with gusts up to 50 mph (80.5 kph). That would ruin my tent. Plus, the ground is still quite wet and muddy.

I’m hoping to finally get back to camping my last two nights, setting up in Lake Sakakawea State Park. But I’m not making reservations until the day of. I don’t trust this weather!


ND NCT miles today: 17.8 (28.7 km)
ND NCT miles to date: 360.1 (579.5 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 3,262.1 (5,249.8 km) 
Total NCT miles to go: 1,337.9 (2,153.1 km)

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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