North Country Scenic Trail

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t-$

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North Country Scenic Trail

Postby t-$ » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:28 pm

finally able to make a short overnight happen on the north country trail. skied out from traverse city to the south along 22 mile creek and the valley of the giants. conditions were pretty tough. solid crust where there was "snow" and bare patches on most south faces.
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only saw a couple people over the two days i was out which for me makes the challenging conditions worth it. had a real nice camp spot down by a little feeder stream, and listened to the trickle of water all night. i got a dusting right before i hit the hay, but other than that, temps stayed in the mid-20's and had a great nights sleep.

this morning i woke to sunshine and a beautiful morning. so i took my time breaking camp and warming up by the fire, then a real nice leisurely ski back home.

the trail is well marked and getting better every year. i only had 2 road sections, and both were closed seasonal roads, so not even true road bits. due to snowshoeing being very popular on this trail, some of the sections were truly nightmares, with frozen post-holes and chicken heads for miles. but then some of the in-between sections were pure, untouched, and even decent snow.

the usgi's worked their magic on this one. the trip would have been impossible on a lesser ski. i am so glad i got these....even if i complain about their weight on occasion. but for stuff like this they are absolutely awesome. and i love how quickly i can take em off and put em on. there were many sections that i had to boot, either due to no snow or solid ice along a ridge, and the quickness made it not an issue to just take the skis off again.

i can't wait to get another good snowfall and do the next section south, i ran out of daylight just when it was starting to get good! oh well, next time...
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Young Satchel

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby Young Satchel » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:16 pm

Dude this is so rad! I want to get out there for some Nordic BC overnights next season so badly. That is if it ever fucking snows here again .

Thanks for the awesome report. As I’m a backpacking gear nerd as well, mind telling me about your big-3 setup (Shelter, sleep system, pack)?


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connyro

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby connyro » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:00 am

Super-cool t$! Ski-camping solo at it's best. That's one skinny tree you tied off to! One of my favorite ski spots up here is less than 1/4 mile from the NCT. It's pretty unfinished around where I live but some sections are complete and fun to hike/ski. Sucks that your snow is so poor this year. Some years your area gets some great snow amounts and conditions...

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Woodserson

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby Woodserson » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:39 pm

Hell yea! This is awesome!

anemic

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby anemic » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:00 pm

That's kick ass t$!

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Call it Nordic Freeride

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t-$

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby t-$ » Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:38 am

i do love michigan for the opportunities to do this kind of stuff. i only went 20 miles down the trail, but you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere...

conny, yeah, my choice of trees was limited in the area i wanted to camp. that one in particular was sagging really good in the morning! but oh well, i still slept great. that has always been my downfall with the hammock, choosing less than stellar trees :lol:

so satchel, my system is the eno pac crest hammock (really a summer hammy, but i use it all year). it's a nice piece of simple, effective gear. in that i put an rei air mattress. can't remember the model name, but it is also the best air mat i have ever used. generally i dislike air mats due to their ability to fail at the most inopportune times, but this one has stood the test of time and abuse. my winter bag is an old army down mummy that was my grandpa's. still works a charm and is super warm...smells kinda funny tho. then on top of the bag i use an old army wool blanket, also from my grandpa. this system seems to work good and i'm always toasty. not very space efficient however, as the sleeping bag and blanket take up nearly half the sled :(

my favorite bag (that rode in the sled this time) is an osprey kode 32. for winter sports it is absolutely my favorite. the insulated hydration system does freeze, even in michigan. but i haven't found a bag yet that will keep the hoze and nozzle ice free. the best thing about the bag tho is the ski and snow board carrying ability. it has the rubber-backed straps typical of a ski bag, and i have used them many, many times for both skis and snowboards. it handles all of them beautifully and keeps the load high and tight. also it has the nice avvy pocket with all the bells and whistles that are found on the osprey avvy pockets...but i don;t have to worry about avalanches here so instead it houses my flask for easy access with mittens!!

the sled is a jett sled jr that i have modified to beef up the attachment point. my harness will be redone this summer and be much upgraded for next winter. on the ice last weekend the straps (instead of rigid poles i had on my last pulk) were useless as if pounded into my heels on occasion. not good. that was the biggest bug i found in this little trip and i really gotta just get that that corrected. it could be dangerous on top of being annoying.

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lowangle al

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby lowangle al » Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:08 pm

Good for you dude, nothing like a little adventure to recharge the battery. Did you carry that pack or was it on the sled when you were moving?

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t-$

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby t-$ » Wed Feb 21, 2018 4:05 pm

hey al,

no it was in the sled for the most part. wore it with the skis on it for one longer ridge walk. the trail runs right along the edge, about 150-200' basically straight down to the river, and it was solid ice there. pretty much unskiable and i didn't want to have the skis on the sled just in case. but otherwise, yeah it was in the sled!

i have a smaller patagonia sling-bag (you know, the one all the women use as purses now :( ), and that's my wax bag so i carried that on me for most of the way.

oh and the other really nice feature which i don't use anymore since hanging up the snowboard is the helmet carry option. really nice on this bag. even when it's fully loaded and busting at the seems you can still easily put a helmet on the outside and it sits perfectly on top of the bag. great bit of creative engineering there. now that i am trying to up my game with more technical woods runs again i might revert to helmet use...we'll see.

martin2007

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby martin2007 » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:53 pm

I'm impressed. Someone who talks skiing AND does it, too! Even when the conditions aren't stellar. It all looks and sounds like fun. Thanks for sharing!

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fisheater

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Re: North Country Scenic Trail

Postby fisheater » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:42 am

Nice report and trip T-$. I want to tour a section of the North Country Trail south of you. I have biked the trail before, and need to bike it again to better access the skiabilty. It had great long down hills, that should be safe on skis, but for much of the trail it was just a single track carved into a 40 degree slope. I was very aware not to be high sided or it would have meant getting launched off a 40 degrees + slope that was heavily wooded. If interested it is the Marilla Trailhead going west. The views over looking the Manistee River and Valley were awesome. I checked with the people who run the nearby Big M cross country area, and they didn't know of anybody attempting to ski that trail. BTW the Big M is an abandoned ski area. There are trails that go right to the top, but I am the only one I have seen making trails going down.


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