APRIL 25, 2005 — RIVERDALE, ND
Andrew has hiked 5,632 miles, 73 % of his 7,700 mile Sea to Sea Hike.
There are six points that Andrew wanted to make about the past week (Monday April 19 to Monday April 25).
First, Andrew has transitioned from the headwaters of the Sheyenne River to the Mississippi River watershed. He has been following a “diversion canal trail” that was started in the 1940s and never completed. The plan was to use water from the Missouri River to irrigate Eastern North Dakota. It was described to Andrew as a “boondoggle.” Two canals run side by side for 110 miles. The trail and adjacent canals are on federal land. The trails have been scenic and pleasant.
Second, as Andrew has been moving west, the area has become more desolate. The farms are becoming very large, some as large as 3,000 acres or 5 square miles. Andrew sees only one house every two miles. One car passes him per hour. About half of the drivers stop, ask where he is going and if he needs help. This has been very nice for Andrew. The area is dotted with abandoned homesteads because of the loss of farm jobs departure of young people who will not be able to continue the farming traditions.
Third, spring is an exciting and pleasant time in this area of the country. Andrew has witnessed enormous farm machinery. He saw a 12 wheel, 400 horsepower tractor with a 60 foot wide seeder. He is amazed at the technology on the machines- GPS locators, computers measuring the supply and density of the seeds etc. This is also the calving season. Andrew is hoping to see a cow give birth, but may not be lucky enough.
Fourth, the weather in early spring brings large fluctuations in temperatures and a steady wind. It was 90F degrees on Monday and 15F degrees on Friday morning. There is a chance of snow on April 26th. The wind is a constant 10-15 miles per hour.
Fifth, a trail angel left another full can of beer on the trail. Andrew is hoping the trail angel who is being so kind will begin using a cooler since that can of beer was a bit warm after a day in the sun.
Lastly, Andrew will finish the North Country trail on Monday April 26th. The North Country Trail is 4,400 miles long and is the longest distance trail in America. Andrew will be the first person to finish the trail in a linear fashion (4,400 straight miles vs. most people hiking sections at various times). He will now be hike a 900 mile gap between the North Country Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.
Andrew is ahead of his schedule and has decided to add 140 miles or so to his hike. He will walk south to Medora, ND and the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, hike to the North Unit of the park and then continue on his previously planned route. He has been told the Roosevelt National Park is something he should not miss.