A walk in nature walks the soul back home.Mary Davis
This summer was nearly absent any hiking at all for Blissful.
Aside from riding my bike “Hank” over-and-over on the 30+ miles of the Twin Cities superb Grand Rounds – one of the best things about living in the Upper Midwest – or hiking my favorite loops at Lake Elmo and local state parks, I have been focused solely on building my voice over business and launching the podcast.
So when my friend/follower/cheerleader Karen offered us her house up north for a week, we jumped at the chance with, as you must have guessed, Richard’s prodding me to get out and backpack, even just a little.
It was his idea, after-all, when I suddenly became 100% boss-free last spring, to launch me on yet another long-distance walk of the Pacific Crest Trail. My intention was to only walk a few weeks to “see what happens.”
What will happen this time around is I will board a float plane (fully masked, of course) for a quick hop from Grand Marais, Minnesota to Isle Royale, Michigan. At 206 square miles, it is the fourth largest lake island in the world and the second biggest in all of the Great Lakes – and it’s a backpackers’s paradise.
Made up of long ridges running southwest-to-northeast, Isle Royale is a tilted strata of volcanic rock and a source of some of the purist copper found anywhere. Nowadays, it is a national park and boasts an unusual fauna including a delicately balanced relationship between the many moose and wolves.
Over the past two years, the NPS has been reintroducing wolves as their numbers have dwindled due to inbreeding. That being said, I’ve been promised to at least hear them at night. Because it’s a 15-mile swim or a cold ice-crossing, Isle Royale has no bears, porcupines, skunks or raccoons. Beaver, otters and red squirrels have made it over and there are loads of snakes, though all non-venomous.
Because of Covid, many of the docks and all island amenities are closed and no ferries are running. There are only two flights a day on tiny planes, taking hardy backpackers like me who long for the quiet solitude in boreal forest and “balds” of Canadian Shield.
This may very well be the best year to hike this enchanted place!
So off I’ll go, but not without taking a small amount of work with me! I’ll collect sound for the podcast. I’ll write every day and take thousands of photos and I’ll review a manufactured pee rag as well as a backpacker food company.
I’ll also break in a new backpack. I call her Blueberry but I am open to suggestions! Olive Oyl is still functional, but she got pretty shredded, so lovely Granite Gear sent me a new pack.
I chose to give the woman’s hip belt a try. In my initial trial, the belt felt “tippy” to me, meaning I don’t have as defined curves as most gals, and the belt rode high on my back.
But with the unisex belt, everything changed once I lost weight about 1,000 miles into the PCT. The belt rubbed against bones in my back and it was painful!
I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of the pack, but more a problem of having no fat whatsoever after a certain point. My mini Therm-a-Rest seat acted a buffer, but maybe this curved belt will fit me better. That remains to be seen!
I have been feverishly making food and drying it and I am so looking forward to testing recipes, mainly to see if I can stave off the massive shedding of pounds when I walk. Sure, it would be nice to stay slim as I work my way through menopause, but it is possible to be too thin!
I will keep you posted!