Troopers- for the love

Waking up in the hotel room is nothing like it was in the little cabin. There is no window to sit and watch the sunrise from. In fact, when I look out the window, I see nothing. The storm has subsided not at all and sunrise will serve only to change the hue of our blindness.

The storm is so serious that the people on the news have given it a name– Neptune. I am inclined to scoff at the dramatization borne of the 24-hour news cycle but there’s no question the storm is worthy of a proper noun. Downstairs, at the front desk I find out that all the roads are closed or closing. There is no way out of town. Snowmobiles are being blown off the road. “Would you like to make a reservation for anther night?” I’m sad to think about our little cabin, the place that mom and grandma love so much, sitting there at the opposite perimeter of that white throbbing blob on the Doppler. Reluctantly, we put that extra night on hold.

I take the opportunity to use the hotel sauna. It’s not the authentic Finnish variety that the UP is known for, but it’s something. It feels nice to be too warm, to take a break from my family. The only other person in the sauna is a middle-aged man who tells me about the ice caves he visited yesterday. I tell him I’d like to go with my mom and Grandma and he asks me if I’m married. I’m so caught off guard that I answer honestly– “no”– instead of appropriately– “what the hell?”

Being cooped up like this makes me think about the phenomena of “hurricane babies” where, in the prolonged absence of modern diversions of electricity and transportation, people commence to partake in some very old-fashioned distractions. Today happens to be Valentine’s Day and I smirk just to imagine the improvised celebrations that will come out of all those cancelled dinner plans. I predict that there will be a swell of bellies this summer, a sweep of babies this fall and that, for as may lives as he may take today, time will reveal Neptune to be quite prolific. Continue reading “Troopers- for the love”

Day 32: Marquette to Lost

marquette Tonight is the first time I’ve really been scared. I am going to sleep without knowing where I am and it is very unsettling.

I am lost on a series of meandering “unimproved roads” which are twisted winding gravel trails through anonymous woods that meet and split off again without any clues as to where they are going. It doesn’t help that it is raining. Still, it feels good to be back on the trail after my extended detour in Marquette.

As of today I’ve been on this trip for a full month. With every milestone comes renewed humility. I actually lost my way THREE times today. The first time I backtracked, the second time I took and alternate route, and the third time I bushwhacked until I found something resembling a road.

Continue reading “Day 32: Marquette to Lost”

Day 30: Lakenenland to Marquette

marquetteapproachI got up bright and early and made my way into Marquette. It’s amazing how different the miles seem to me when I’m close to civilization. It’s just so much more interesting when the scenery changes, the approach to Marquette was beautiful. I went 15 miles today, on the low end but nothing to sniff at, but because I was in a city, It almost feels like they don’t “count.” It’s Sunday so I have to wait till tomorrow to pick up my mail. I am anxious to get going.

I went to the library to figure out just what the hell my course will be. I’m actually approaching the point where I will have to deviate from the North Country Trail because it heads west into Wisconsin and I’m heading north up the Keweenaw Peninsula. I didn’t bother looking into the details before I left because I didn’t have time and didn’t know if I’d make it this far anyway. It’s exciting that the time has come. Continue reading “Day 30: Lakenenland to Marquette”

Day 29: Lakenenland

lakenenlandI am in the home of Tom Lakenen, having just showered, cleaned my clothes and rested in a bonafide Yooper sauna (cue choir of angels). Amazing!

I was ready to set up camp yesterday when a truck drove up. I was worried that the driver would yell at me for trespassing and I didn’t love the idea of him seeing where I slept so I was pleasantly surprised when he and his wife gave me some helpful advice. They said that in just 2 more miles was a place called Lakenenland, with metal sculptures and campsites. So I push on and found this incredible, weird, hippy white trash place that is having music festival today. That extra distance also made yesterday my longest day of hiking time-wise, though not the longest distance. I did make it 26 miles though so I have another marathon under my belt!  Continue reading “Day 29: Lakenenland”

The Breakwall


When fate conspired to hold my mail
and I could not re-take the trail
I happened on a friendly male.
He took me to the lake.

Way past the main street thoroughfare
we walked the wall without a care
and then returned with tousled hair.
A nice place for a break.