Day 21: Lower Tahquamenon Falls to Paradise

7-26_foamswirlI am marooned in a brewery next to the Tahquamenon Falls as the sky dumps down all around me. I ordered myself Falls Tannen beer and am contemplating my next move. I hardly slept last night. Crazy thunderstorms woke me up and itching feet kept me up. I guess I got poison ivy on my feet when I was trouncing around naked during my Day of Nothing.

I woke up this morning and walked around the trail network in the area before packing up. I felt guilty when I saw the path where the North Country Trail enters the camp because I got a ride here but it felt great to walk around without my pack on. I bounded up and down the trails like a little kid. The water in that area is a big frothy foam of water swirled up by the descent from the waterfall.There were two kids in the camping site adjacent to mine. They kept running here to ask me questions that their parents were feeding them. “What are you doing? Are you backpacking?” I answered. They scampered back to deliver my response to the adults. They came back with new questions. “How far are you going?” “Do you sleep in that tent?” “Where are you from?” By the time I walked away with my pack, I felt like a gosh-darn hero.

I hiked the ascent from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls. It was only 4 miles but it felt like the longest 4 miles I’ve ever hiked because there were signs the whole way alerting me of my progress. Another quarter mile! Gee whiz! As soon as I got to the main waterfall, it started raining again in earnest. It was cool to see that famous red water that I’ve been drinking for so long. I took a couple pictures but was driven to a nearby tourist area where I am now. Plotting.

Here are my considerations:

  1. In total, I want to hike a full month from my last “episode” and right now I am over the 2-week mark.
  2. I do really want to make it to Copper Harbor but it would take me another month to go there on foot.
  3. The forecast for this area is for some really severe thunderstorms for the next three days.7-26_tahqua

So now I’m toying with all the ways I could skip sections of the way and just hike the “good parts.” I could jump all the way from here to Pictured Rocks, I could skip from there to Marquette, I could skip from Marquette to theKeweenaw. I know it would be cooler to hikethe whole way but my main goal for this trip is recovery, not miles traveled. Besides, 4 weeks of backpacking is still pretty damn long. I don’t like the fact that Iam stuck hereright now. It would be idiotic to leavethe security of this place to hike in this horrible weather but it sucksto be surrounded by all this food and all these amenities and not be able to walk away.


Continue to the next entry in the series here: Day 22: Paradise to Lake Superior near Two Hearted River

Go back to the last entry in the series here: Day 20: Naomikong Creek Shelter to Lower Tahquamenon Falls

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