Trail running through controlled burn area.
Today’s trek from Middle Trailhead to the Hwy. 27 Trailhead was supposed to be a rest day of sorts – less than 9 miles (14.5 km) to hike. Since I needed to get back home for Dad’s funeral, I decided to strike out earlier than normal with a tiny pack, then run/hike this section. This way I could finish quickly and make it home by early evening.

The plan worked perfectly. Trail angel Maria shuttled me back to the Middle Trailhead at 7:45 a.m. This trailhead had looked so bad when I finished yesterday – all muddy and wet – but was fine today.

Heading Out from Middle Trailhead

The morning was cool and sunny and the trail began as a gravel path through an undulating section of the Sheyenne National Grassland. It was relatively dry and perfect for jogging. There appeared to be a controlled burn in one section.

The miles passed quickly, and I went through several of those spring-loaded gates. At one point, I entered a section with a Gate on hiking trail.sign noting that sheep were now grazing in the fields, protected by guard dogs, and to not disturb them.

Now, I’ve never had a bad experience with sheep-herding dogs, and I encountered many on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, a famous pilgrimage trail. But I’ve had many other bad dog encounters, so I was wary.

Made It to Car

Not too long after entering this section, I saw lots of sheep grazing. The trail went right through the flock. I made a big detour around them and was fine. Phew! 

Hiking trail through hilly area.

Soon I was trekking through cow pastures with lots of cow pies and sheep poop. The trail here was damp and muddy, so my shoes and socks got pretty dirty/soaked.

But I made it to the car by 10:45, did a quick wash-up and change, then hit the road for home. I’ll be back Sunday night, at the lovely Enderlin Inn.

 

Snowshoe

ND NCT miles today: 8.9 (14.3 km)
ND NCT miles to date: 58.8 (94.6 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 2,960.8 (4,765 km) 
Total NCT miles to go: 1,639.2 (2,638 km)

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved