My first full day in the UP has been far from seamless and it’s not the fault of the trail or the terrain or the outside world, it’s just me.
First thing this morning I found the trail really easily but accidentally headed the wrong way. It worked out though because I ended up at the Visitor Center right across the Mackinaw Bridge and I had a few questions. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a decorative display of “Jiffy Mixes” boxes as a demonstration of the awesomeness of our state. I proudly told the people behind the counter that Jiffy was made in my hometown of Chelsea, Michigan- thus marking the one and only time in my life that I actually increased my social status for that little tidbit! The people there were really nice, they even let me use their computer so I could log into my bank and figure out my routing number- which is the last step I needed to complete to finalize my health insurance. I actually phone-ordered some health insurance from the ferry ride to Mackinaw Island yesterday. It’s ridiculous trying to do “real life” things on the trail but somehow I worked it out. It’s finally taken care of. I think. Bring it on, UP.
As I made my way into town, I realized my pack was wet and that my pants were getting progressively wetter. My camelback- aka primary water source- apparently has an invisible leak. I finally “solved” the problem by placing the bag at the top of my pack so it wouldn’t have any pressure on it but I’d prefer to keep it against my back in the water pouch where it belongs. It wasn’t all that fun walking into town looking like I’d peed my pants but by then I had another problem- I couldn’t find my map. I had it yesterday when I was grocery shopping but it was nowhere. I contained my fear when I realized that there is an actual NCT office in St. Ignace- the first I’ve ever encountered- and that they would probably have a spare map. As I was mentally working through just how I would extract myself from this mess, I took advantage of the last indoor plumbing amenities I’ll have in awhile and went to a public bathroom I found yesterday. As I went to throw out my paper towel, I was dumbfounded to see my missing map lying in the trash! That is the second time in two days I have left something behind and miraculously re-encountered it. I emerged from the bathroom ecstatic and shared my good news with the woman waiting next in line, waving the semi-soiled recovered map around. I think she were mildly horrified but I didn’t care, I was thrilled.
As usual, it was hard getting into the groove after some time off. I actually read while I walked along a straight path, partly because I was bored but also because I am falling in love with my newest book- Dalva- written by Jim Morrison of Michigan and with some quick but deeply flattering mentions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’m hooked.
I spent the day without seeing any other hikers and really felt I was in the depths of the UP when I arrived at Brevoort Lake, my stopping point for the night. The dense forest ended abruptly by the lakefront and I looked up from watching the trail to see people right in front of me. I blurted out “humans!” and the absurdity of that made us laugh and we immediately became friends.
The two people are a couple on the last day of their anniversary trip. They shared their campfire, which is actually my first on the trip, somehow- and we talked for hours. It’s wonderful to meet people like this, we became so close in the course of an evening together. I was honored that they shared the last night of their first vacation in many years, which they spent alone together, here at Breevort Lake, for nine days. It’s an admirable vacation, though mine isn’t too shabby either.
Continue to the next entry in this series: Day 16: Breevort Lake to Gamble
Go back to the last entry in this series: Day 14: Mackinaw City to Straits State Park
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