January is for planning, at least it has been for me as this is the time to book campsites and permits before they all get filled up for the entire year. More and more places have gone to reservation systems. These are understandable to limit the damage to natural resources but the limits means that your desired dates can fill up quickly if you’re not careful. I find it best to plan far enough in advance that you can book the moment that permitting is available for your planned destinations.
As a quick warm-up backpacking trip for the year I have elected to go to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with a couple close friends and complete this 42 mile trail. This is actually a section of the much longer North Country Trail. A few years back I completed a small section of this trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area affectionately named the Border Route Trail. That trail ended up being a wet slog for me. It was early on in my hiking abilities gear affordability and I ended up with some pretty gnarly feet from not being able to keep dry during the week long adventure. It was still an amazing experience that I wouldn’t want to give up for anything.
The section at Pictured Rocks looks to be a lot flatter and will hopefully be a much more relaxing trek. “Pictured Rocks offers towering multicolored sandstone cliffs, miles of sparkling beaches, dashing waterfalls, huge sand dunes, inland lakes and streams, deep green forests” (NPS) The trail has been described by others as being relatively flat and a beautiful hike through the woods. My wife has offered to chauffer us around up there and drop us off at the start of the trail and pick us up at the end so we will not have to worry about the logistics of getting to the trail head and stowing a car at the end. There are bear boxes at all the designated campsites so there is no need to carry a bear vault like we all had to on the last trek on the Four Pass Loop in Colorado. We have tentative plans for the spring for this upcoming trip, mostly to avoid the crowds, bugs, and crowds of bugs.
We are taking the whole family to a trip to the Grand Canyon this year. The road trip from Nebraska to Arizona will offer a lot of opportunities for small side adventures along the way. We will be traveling with my sister and her two children. Hopefully I can convince them all to do a little hiking along the way. We haven’t pegged down any details for this trip yet but we are open to suggestions if you have any.
Podcasts and Pictures
I have let things go when it comes to this podcast and even photography which were two passion projects of mine. I have had to let them lapse to finish up my degree and work on my career change. Now I should be able to do what I love again, but I am not so fool-hearty to go making promises I don’t know if I will be able to keep.