JANUARY 28, 2005 — MACKINAW CITY, MI
During the past week, Andrew has experienced the kindness of people, frigid temperatures and a near calamity.
Two days after leaving Kalkaska, Andrew reached Alba, and was treated to a “night in” at Wagbo, a local farm community. The people were very warm and hospitable. Andrew was thankful for their generous hospitality. The nights spent sleeping outside after Kalkaska, Andrew experienced temperatures that were minus 20 degrees.
The day after leaving Alba, Andrew was following the trail over a stream. Apparently the stream had swollen its banks at some point and then had frozen. Andrew stepped in an area thinking it was solid ground and found himself falling into the stream. The water was only thigh deep but the unexpected turn of events caused Andrew to lose his balance and sit down in the stream. After some initial panic (“temperatures in the teens and I am soaking wet”), Andrew stripped and wrung out his clothes as much as possible. He then put his clothes back on and proceeded to walk fast to warm up. By the end of the day, his clothes were dry with the exception of his shoes, which are waterproof and therefore do not allow air to circulate. Things worked out ok. Even the camera, which went under water briefly, appears to be working. But, it was a lesson for Andrew to be very very careful.
This was followed by more nights sleeping out in the cold, until Andrew reached Petoskey, MI and the North Central Michigan College. The North Country Trail traverses the college and some new friends had asked Andrew if he would be receptive to meeting with some students. Andrew is always interested in talking with other young people and he really enjoyed the night in a college dorm.. On Thursday, January 26th, there was an article in the local newspaper and Andrew had a live interview on the local radio station, before heading towards Mackinaw City.
Andrew will be crossing the Mackinac Bridge (the Big Mac) this weekend. Unfortunately, he will not be able to walk across the bridge. The Governor apparently receives hundreds of requests like this every year and the answer is “no.” Once Andrew gets a ride across the bridge, he will begin his hike through the Upper Peninsula (UP). Andrew admits he is intimidated by the UP. We are praying that the Lake Superior winds calm down and that the temperatures rise a bit. Andrew’s philosophy is that he takes “one day at a time.” Each day means that he is closer to spring and closer to his destination at the end of the C2C route.
The wonderful support Andrew has received from members of the local trail associations and from local people has been heartwarming and greatly appreciated. Andrew’s new friends have provided companionship, meals, shelter and encouragement. Some hikers have gone out on the trail to offer Andrew encouragement and “trail magic” (food or supplies left on the trail). We also hear from people through email offering their support to Andrew and we pass along these words of encouragement in our frequent phone calls. We wish to give a hearty “thank you” to all of you for offering Andrew your wonderful help and support!
Total miles hiked: 3728 (48% of the journey.)