Path by water.
Woo hoo – I made it to the NCT’s Western Terminus today! It was a surreal feeling.

Last night I once again stayed at Lake Sakakawea State Park. This place is pretty nice, although the showers could be a little warmer. Instead of the normal morning shuttle, which would have me arriving at the terminus alone – and unable to take that all-important photo! – I drove myself to my starting point and arranged for Luanna to meet me at the terminus around 11:45.

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Making My Way to the Western Terminus

The weather was sunny and cool – perfect hiking weather. I ambled through the town of Riverdale, which featured a big, brick structure (town hall?) and ring of brick homes surrounding it. Hmm. There has to be a story here. Luanna later told me the big building is the headquarters for the Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the dam/lake, and the homes were New path through grassland.originally built for some of the higher-ups when the dam was being constructed. When the project was finished, the homes were sold to locals.

From Riverdale you hike a little on the roads before trekking through the paths winding around the Garrison Dan National Fish Hatchery. This area was quite pretty, showcasing glimpses of the Missouri River. 

Interestingly, while the FarOut app hadn’t shown the new Turtle Lake path, it DID show an undeveloped (but flagged and marked) new section of trail here. I missed it, as it was unmowed and there were no immediate NCT signs – just flags. But I didn’t go too far out of my way.

The Grand Finale

Once out of the fish hatchery area, you take a few roads and then hit the last stretch in the state park. The trail here is hilly Woman posing by North Country Train sign.and gives you great views of the lake. It was so exciting to reach the western terminus sign, where Luanna snapped a photo of me doing my traditional “star pose,” which I do at the terminus of every trail I hike.

So … now I have “just” something like 1,400 miles ( km) to go to reach the Eastern Terminus and finish off this bad boy! I think it will take me two more years. 



ND NCT miles today: 9.5 (15.3 km)
ND NCT miles to date: 458.3 (737.6 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 3,360.3 (5,407.9 km) 
Total NCT miles to go: 1,239.7 (1,995.1 km)

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved