100 Miles on the North Country Trail

In all of Michigan there is only one place to really stretch your legs and get some miles under your feet, and that place is the North Country Trail. The NCT, like the much more popular Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail, is a National Scenic Trail. It runs for 4,600 miles from eastern New York to central North Dakota.
 

2017 Gear List

I've never done a gear list here before, but I think it would be helpful for some people to know what I am carrying every year on the trip reports that I am posting. As of this writing I have made a couple changes to what I carry in 2017.

Review: Osprey Exos 58

When shopping for a pack 2 years ago I was looking for something lightweight, durable and suitable for both overnighters and trips lasting up to a week without resupply. Like many people my first stop on this search was REI and that's where I stumbled upon the Osprey Exos 58. It seemed to fit the bill and to this day I am still very happy with my purchase.

Map: Art Loeb Trail - North Carolina

The Art Loeb Trail is a popular one. It goes over a series of knobs in Pisgah National Forest that provide 360 degree views of the landscape. I have yet to hike this trail, but it is on the ol' bucket list so I have the map saved to my Caltopo account for future use.

Map: Linville Gorge - North Carolina

I do not have mileage listed for this map because it is a spiderweb of unofficial trails and your mileage may vary. This map is not for the weak among us and unless you know how to use GPS mapping tools fairly well I don't recommend it. This is a wilderness area that is very loosely maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, but most trails are kept up by locals who just love hiking there.

Review: Tarptent Rainshadow 2

Despite what the name implies the Tarptent Rainshadow 2 is a 3-person tent. At 78" wide it can fit three 25" wide sleeping pads. Not many people use 25" wide sleeping pads, but if you did then this could fit em! It is 84" long. That's 7 FEET long. So, all you tall people out there - this tent is a good option. These dimensions make for a tent with a whopping 42 square feet of floor space. How much does this palace weigh? Only 2.6 lbs. Incredible.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

When my friend Chris mentioned this past spring that he had secured group permits (6-12 people) for Pictured Rocks this summer I was 100% all in on the trip. I had never done a group trip, so that would be something new as well. 4 days/3 nights/42 miles in the wilderness with people you've never hiked with before could be awesome or a total disaster. We'd have the maximum of 12 people on this trip.

The Northern Loop, Mt. Rainier National Park

Sarah and I started planning our trip to Mt. Rainier National Park last year by contacting her friends Nick and Jamie who live near Seattle and also love backpacking and the outdoors.It was to be our big 2016 backpacking trip and it definitely didn't fall short of how incredible we thought it would be. 5 nights/6 days of pure backpacking goodness!

Linville Gorge Wilderness

Linville Gorge Wilderness is an unwelcoming place. It is anchored by Linville Falls at the north end, which is a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But The Gorge is not the falls. It is not a park. It isn't friendly. The Gorge is wild, untamed, rugged, and at times dangerous. So, it only made sense that as someone who seeks adventure that I should visit this place.