I’d planned to hike about 25 miles of the North Country Trail today, from the U.P.-Wisconsin border near Ironwood, Michigan, to the Copper Falls area. My friend, Doug, was going to join me.
Yesterday, we hiked about 14 miles of the Ice Age Trail (Harrison Hills) for an article I was writing for Backpacker Magazine. Well, instead of hiking in typical November weather — about mid-40s for Wisconsin — it was 2 degrees yesterday morning and it had snowed!
By the time we got on the trail it had warmed up to 23, but that was still far colder than we were prepared for. Not to mention we didn’t have good boots for the snow. We soldiered on and completed our hike, but Doug decided he did not want to hike 25 miles today. It wasn’t as cold, but there was lots of snow on the trail. Fair enough. I’m the big hiker, not him.
We decided to ax the 12-mile road walk from the border and start in on the trail portion. Trail angel Bethany shuttled us on, and we were off. Sigh. Almost right away we missed an unmarked turn and went a fair way out of our way — uphill, of course. But we got back on track and actually enjoyed a lovely day in the snow.
Yes, our feet got pretty wet. But the woods were gorgeous in the snow. In the afternoon, the sun came out — just in time for our arrival at a scenic waterfall, Wren Falls. When we reached the car, I decided to hike the extra 5.1 miles down to Hwy.169 to knock off a few more miles. Since Doug isn’t trying to hike the NCT, he took the car into town and got some coffee to warm up while I was hiking.
One thing Doug did gain on this hike was a trail name: Burr. I gave it to him because when he hiked with me on the Ice Age Trail in the summer, he ended up with so many burrs on him that he threw away his clothing rather than pick them off. Then, on the NCT, it was so cold he was shivering — Brrr! So it’s a fun little pun.
WI NCT miles today: 12.2
WI NCT miles to date: 12.2
Total NCT miles to date: 202.5
Total NCT miles to go: 4,397.5