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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Guthrie

My first North Country Trail Hike

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

I first found out about the North Country Trail #ncthike during the pandemic last Spring on Instagram. I saw someone I know post about it and I instantly became curious. I started investigating the entire 4,600 mile trail through eight states and where I can begin on the #nctmichigan trail. I also bought a bunch of stuff including this hat!!! 🤟

But I had only been using my hat in Arizona (AZ) on my desert hikes and couldn't wait to get on the trail in Michigan once the Spring thawed this year. But I knew I HAD TO START at the Michigan Ohio border. I also had to learn about which map app I felt comfortable using to track my progress. I tested out a few in AZ and found Alltrails was the app for me because of how easy I found it to use, navigate, track my progress and share socially.

Last week I kept investigating who to hike with and how I could meet other women who'd be interested in hiking this first leg of the Michigan North Country Trail. I didn't want to do my first hike alone and needed some staging partners to park our cars. We parked at Pittsford Park and Hillsdale County Meat Co. Which is where we started our hike.

The young fellow running the store was nice about us parking there and we promised to make a few purchases inside when we got back. And boy did we ever! I was gnawing on a hunk of pepper jack cheese on the way home. It was awesome!

It's only a short hike to the last NCT sign in Ohio from the Meat store. Ohio is on the Southside where you see us walking and Michigan's on the Northside of the road. I got real excited when I saw my first NCT sign! It was like; "I'm doing this! It's legit!"

A short ways up was the Michigan sign before going off Territorial Road and heading north on Tuttle Road through farm country.

Now this section is a long... flat... dirt road. We kept each other company with good conversation and there were some pretty epic scenic moments with the farm animals. Basically, they're just too cute! I spent quite a bit of time sweet talking these beauties!

I was also in love with seeing Michigan's beautiful farm lands and Centennial Farms.

Was it the most exciting views I've ever seen or most interesting 'trail or terrain? No. It's mostly dirt roads with farms on either side. But there is a deep appreciation you gain for farm land and knowing the hard work farmers put in. It was also extremely nice to be on a less trafficked trail, spend time away from suburbia, and time away from the hustle and bustle of life.

I also learned a ton along the way from my fellow hikers who have been big time hikers for years, expert foragers, skiers, and knew so much about back country hiking and trails. I spent a lot of time listening and was completely fascinated to hear their stories and expertise.

This day hike, which is my jam and goal on my free weekends, was 11 miles long. I gotta be honest, my legs were burning but it was well worth it! At each of the trailheads there is a journal you can sign and say something about your hike.

This was my first leg of the 100 mile #ncthike100 challenge and three County challenge I signed up for through the NCT website. It had three paved roads and the rest were dirt roads. It mostly comprised of flat dirt roads with a few bends and hills. It wasn't anything major as far as elevation, water or soft gravel.

I'm looking forward to my next hike along the North Country Trail. Until next time... I'll see you on the trails.

Pro Tips:

  1. Put a sign in your car that you're day hiking the North Country Trail if parking on the side of the road or a parking lot other than trail lot.

  2. Get permission from owner to park and definitely give some love back by buying a few things and giving a shout out.

  3. Pack light... hike light! Only pack what you need. For a short 3 - 4 hour hike... staple items a must but you definitely can lighten up on the food haul.

  4. Know your limits! Hiking a flat road isn't like hiking Camelback Mountain or spending all day hiking at a Disney Park stopping every 10 minutes.

  5. Track your miles on an app. After all, you earned it and deserve to see how far you went.

  6. If you don't feel comfortable going solo, find a safe group or ask a friend to join. But going solo is perfectly OK too.

  7. Have fun! Don't kill yourself trying. More than half the enjoyment out of accomplishing your goals is the joy in the journey.

Deborah Guthrie is a weekend adventure blogger leaving a digital footprint that ignites the spark within others to explore the world outdoors. Follow her blogs on Ember & Ash Social.

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1 Comment

Jon Guthrie
Jon Guthrie
Mar 28, 2021

Wow I will definitely be checking this section out! Like you said not the most exciting but super cool to see something different, awesome!!

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