Wolverine Hikes

People who know me know that I belong on the Trail. I've thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail (twice),the Pacific Crest Trail and the mighty Continental Divide Trail. I've hiked many of the long trails here in Michigan including being the first to hike both the Ironwood Trail and the Great Lake To Lake Trail. In 2017, I hiked the Israel National Trail and the Golan Heights Trail. I was the first to hike the Baja Divide Trail in Mexico but failed miserably to thru-hike the Bruce Trail in Canada. In 2019, I hiked the TEMBR in Ecuador and now, I'm going to attempt to hike 1,150 miles of the North Country Trail as it runs through my home state of Michigan.

The purpose of this blog is to keep anyone who is interested informed of my progress and to encourage those who are able to support me in these endeavors.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Is It!

Enough of the treacherous, snowy mountain passes, enough of the road walking, enough of the endless, rolling brown hills - this is the trail I've been looking for. But first, a couple of shout outs:

High school friends: George Hughes, Libby Shaw and Ellen Paynter. Thanks for helping me with this hike!

The Wolverine Lake Crew: Susie and Drew, Marlyss, Jim, Stacey and all the kids... Can't wait to see you guys when I get back!

Traci Rink, Ron Foon and Katie Rink: You guys travel the world and you inspire me to do the same.

Perry Keydel and all my friends at Moosejaw: Thanks for all the help in getting me ready for this hike.

Jason 'Hee Haw' Phelps: My old hiking buddy came through for me, again. Thank you, Brother!

Gary and Bethany Zaborowski and Pam White: Thank you for all the gear and supplies!

After going around snow that was too deep in some parts and going for miles with no water in others, I finally made it to the Wind River Range in western Wyoming. This is the kind of trail I've been longing for. Plenty of clean water but not too soggy, well-maintained trail, other hikers to share information with... This part of the CDT has it all! And the scenery? My God, the views! The Cirque of the Towers has to be in the 'Top 5' list of coolest things I've ever seen. Feels like it took forever to get here (3 months and 1,800 or so miles) but it really is worth it. Challenges remain - I hurt my foot when I fell through the snow and jammed it awkwardly into the rocks beneath and I continue to rely (too heavily) on the GPS in my phone to stay on the trail. I used all my battery power taking pictures in the Cirque so I had to bail out early to get to Pinedale to resupply and recharge. I can't wait to get back to the Trail. I have more of the Winds to finish and then I head up into Yellowstone - should be  another highlight of this hike. After that, I'll hike along the border of Idaho and Montana for a while before cutting back east and then north to Canada. I still have many miles to hike and I'm sure there will be obstacles to overcome  but, at this point, I feel pretty good and I think I can see a speck of light at the end of the tunnel. If you've ever visited Yellowstone or hiked in Montana, leave a comment and let me know what to expect. If you want to be part of this adventure, click on the 'donate' button on the homepage and help me keep hiking north! Thank you!

This stupid beard has got to go.  
In the upper left hand corner of this picture, way in the distance, is a mountain pass that I came over the day before. 

Alpine flowers blooming everywhere! They have such a short growing season that they all come out at once. Beautiful!

Astro is with me, in spirit, every step of the way. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Halfway There!

Man, oh man... I have been out there. I mean really OUT THERE. I'll give you the whole story in a minute. First, a couple of quick shout-outs:

Michael and Betsy Gosselin:  When it seems like I can't make it any further, I think of Astro and I keep hiking.

Jack Graham: That backpack you built for me is bullet proof. It's been with me every step of the way. Thank you.

Kellie and Steve and all my friends in the Burning Boots Trail Club: I'll see you guys in September at the March for the Fallen.

To Everyone Who Clicked on the 'Donate' button on the homepage: Thank you for being part of this hike. We're more than halfway there!

I've never been more remote. So far away from civilization. Nothing around me for miles and miles except giant mountains. No phone. No GPS. No altimeter... Not even a watch. Just a map showing the surrounding 3 or 4 miles and a compass. It's a week of difficult hiking in any direction to get out of here. The Trail? There is no trail. It's covered in snow. All I can do is keep moving forward and pray I don't come to a river I can't cross or a pass too steep to climb. This is like some kind of 'hiker obstacle course'. Start with a hundred yards of deep snow. Then maybe a steep climb up loose shale. Next is a tangled mess of giant pine trees that were blown down. Add a raging river underneath it so if I fall, I'm really screwed. It's like a hiker's version of 'American Ninja'. I longed for Michigan's hundreds of miles of nice, flat, compact earth softened by pine needles. I'm proud of myself for making it through with just map and compass but I learned that it's tedious, dangerous and it takes forever.

Crossing from Colorado into Wyoming at mile 1,532 was a big deal for me. Not sure if it's exactly halfway but it feels like it. Two states down and two more to go. I can do this. My body is in good shape. My gear is taking a beating but I think it will last. Got my phone back and Wyoming maps will be in my next resupply box. The trail itself is getting easier with less snow and lower elevations. Seems like there are fewer alternate routes from here on so maybe the path itself will be well-trod.

I'm posting this from my phone and can't seem to add photographs. Look for lots of pics in a seperate post.

I appreciate all the well-wishes and support. I'll take all that positive energy and keep hiking north!


Almost to Silverthorne, Colorado!

North of Steamboat Springs, CO

My Honor Point backpack. This pack has been with me every step of the way and I love it. 

That's Big Agnes (like the company!) in the background. They're HQ'd in Steamboat Springs.

Apparently, Wyoming didn't get the memo: IT'S JULY. Enough with the snow already!?