Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Still Have Feet

     For most of my life I've found a use for my feet. Besides just keeping my butt from falling on the ground. When I was a kid they were my only form of transport until my first bike at age eleven. In the Army I was a grunt. The jobs I've held longest were car runner, messenger and courier. Couldn't have done a one of 'em without my feet. A look at my education, all the way through half a year of graduate school, says I had my brain in mind. But it didn't work out that way.
     Kept my ass reasonably small by running, walking and biking. Even went off the deep end in the '70s and early '80s by runnin' marathons and ultra-marathons. Can't say I recommend that to the reasonably sane. If time was no matter and I had no social attachments, some years would find me, pack on back, traipsin' along the Appalachian or coastal trails. Not sure why those things attract me. But they do.
     Up in the northland we have two main walking trails, the Superior Hiking Trail and the North Country Trail. Both are more to my abilities these days. Scaled down from thousands to tens of miles. And parts of the North Country Trail pass right through a region I love to fish. In the Chippewa National Forest sixty-eight miles of it wind over rolling hills and within sight of small lakes. I've got it in my mind to cover those sixty-eight, most of it twice 'cause of the way I'll have to do it.
     The plan is to take small segments of it at a time. At present I see no need to pack gear and spend nights camping. Instead, park in strategic locations and do single out and back hikes. Say five miles up the trail, then five return. Not repetitious to me at all. One direction I'll get to see the north side of the trees, on the return, the south. Uphills magically become downhills. Obviously, I'm easily entertained.
     Sometimes I'll stash my bike at the destination and pedal back on forest roads. Traffic is rare in the forest, at least during the mid-week when the ATV freaks aren't out tryin' to get airborne on the hills. On the bike days I figure on eight miles one way. With a little luck using both methods the Trail could be covered in ten or twelve segments. At least that's the plan for now. Time and my back will tell.

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