Is there even a better way to spend your birthday than trekking through the North


Country Trail?

I think not.

After tackling the stretch from M-20 to Echo Drive, I felt ready to make it all the way to 40th street. My father-in-law even gifted me a decades old walking stick, forged by his dad from Alaskan wood.

Huge thanks to a trail angel for providing crucial car spotting service, I started at Echo Drive around 8:40 in the morning.  Only


slightly terrified of running into a bear, thanks to a circulating photo on Facebook the night before, I began my trek.

It was a little chilly and slightly damp, but the woods were serene. It was quiet,

peaceful and exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday morning.  I saw dozens of birds (Robins, Pileated Wood Peckers, Red Winged Black Bird and more), and oddly – lots of slugs.

The volunteers who support the trail across several states continue to amaze me – I mean, check out this boardwalk!

I crossed a few seasonal roads, some open water, and even stumbled across a rare coastal marsh – just a few hundred feet from M-37 between White Cloud and Newaygo.

Pro-tip… switching to a hydration bladder = 100 times better than lugging around a few water bottles! I scored this for under $30 from 37 North.

I ended up back to my car just before noon, my knees happy for a rest.

Until next time NCT.