My first week on the NCT was bookended by bridges, the first crossing from VT to Crown Point NY. I spent a little time talking to the people manning the historical site hoping to find some info regarding the terminus, and maybe a trail register. I had missed office hours for the NCTA, so without inquiring of them I departed for the Adirondacks without much fanfare. Into the Dix mountain wilderness via an ill-advised bushwhack up the east side of Macomb Mountain, through pine thicket for about 5 miles, ended up taking some 13 hours of hard trekking. (Put some of the most significant damge on shirt No.2 that it would see, aswell) Moving quickly into and thru the high peaks wilderness, with nought but a short side jaunt up Mt. Marcy to check cell reception (no dice, but got service at a random shelter a few hours later…) and for a state high point. Caught the beautiful Northville to Lake Placid Trail (NPT) outta the high peaks, with a little extra time for some swimming in the river. Shortly after hitting the road I got the payoff of a minor logistical miracle, in which four of my friends, including Nemo, had managed to road trip out to meet me. The purpose of the trip, Mighty Mac, the bridge between the two Michigans is only open for pedestrians one day of the year, Labor Day, and was at the time part of the “official” NCT thru route. (I have since heard that a couple weeks later they pulled it, C’est la vie.) Between the ADK and Mac we spent some time at Niagra falls in the middle of the night, and burned an afternoon with a little swordplay at the beach.
Crossing the Mackinac Bridge was in itself a bit sof a shocking experience, having mostly been alone or within a small group of mostly known individuals, to suddenly find myself amongst a huge crowd at a well choreographed event was jarring to say the least. Of course security wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about my carrying a sword, or large bags so I crossed with neither my pack nor my sword. (The only notable distance walked without the sword.) The rest of the way back to Minneapolis was mostly sleepy for me, as being freshly overstimulated by the sudden reintroduction of friends to my life. Staying home was odd, but mostly productive, and I was able to pack in a few medical appointments while I was still covered by my parent’s insurance, attend a regular HEMA session, acquiring a tablet to help manage logistics. My father had a minor health complication just before I was set to return to trail, so I was a bit delayed in returning, resulting in about two weeks of downtime.
Returning to the NCT just before the exit of the ADK put me on a track following a loose connection of trails, roads, and rails. Stealth camping by night in the ditches and thickets beside the road, beneath bridges and within a couple abandoned mills located alongside some of the area’s more significant rivers. Catching the established NCT at the old Erie Canal near Rome, NY. During this bit of road problems with my air mattress came to a head and it delaminated to the point which it no longer held air. While this was covered by warranty, it still left me without a sleeping pad, so I took the canalway trail significantly farther than the NCT’s turnoff point, into Syracuse where I could find an outfitter to hopefully help with the warranty process, and at least get me a pad to use in the interim. In a way ot sort of worked out, on the drive back out to the ADK I had dropped a Ration box with the Syracuse Eastern Mtn Sports, not realizing how far off route it would be.