JANUARY 23, 2005 — ALBA, MI
This week, Andrew’s gear was really tested to assure he is really fit for winter hiking. Andrew sends his many thanks to Ryan Jordan from Backpacking Light Magazine for his great equipment suggestions! Temperatures have been minus 15 -20 in the morning and in the teens throughout the day. Andrew reports that his sleeping bag and tent are “cozy.” Packing his gear and breaking camp in the morning is the most difficult time. Some things are impossible to accomplish with mittens or gloves such as tying shoes, which requires using bare hands. At temperatures below 0, you can only leave your hands exposed for a few minutes at a time. Andrew asked us to report that he does not like the “frozen snots” in the morning.
Hiking through the Manistee Forest and the 700 uninterrupted miles of the NCT, has been challenging and exciting. The variety of terrain, including some high ridges, reminds Andrew of the AT. The trail follows the Manistee River, which is crystal clear and has great salmon runs at certain times of the year. Andrew met with Andrew Klevorn, who wrote a very nice article in the Ludington Daily News. He was also featured on Channels 7 and 4, the local TV station. This coverage provided Andrew with some notoriety in the town of Mesick, when he arrived on Tuesday, January 18th. The people in Mesick welcomed Andrew and provided him with food, a warm cozy room at the Mushroom Cap Motel, and some media coverage. Andrew appreciated this great hospitality. Following Mesick, Andrew then had three nights of sleeping outside in frigid temperatures. He is snowshoeing all the time now and is doing fine. He is having some trouble with one foot but is adjusting his shoe support to minimize the discomfort.
Andrew reached Kalkaska, MI on Friday night January 21st, and was offered a warm place for the night. Andrew is very grateful to his hosts, Deb and Scott Lemmen, and very happy to be inside during the local snowstorm on Friday night.
Andrew plans to reach Alba, MI on Sunday night (January 23rd) and Petoskey, MI on Wednesday January 26th. By Friday January 28th, Andrew will probably reach Mackinaw, just south of the Mackinac Bridge. At this time, we do not know how Andrew will get across the Mackinac Bridge. Andrew has some friends and supporters who are trying to arrange for Andrew to obtain approval to hike across the bridge. The bridge is open to hikers/walkers only one day per year, but not this week.
The wonderful support Andrew has received from members of the local trail associations and from local people has been heartwarming and much appreciated. Thank you all for offering Andrew your help and support!
3614 miles completed (47% of Andrew’s 7,700 mile hike)