North Country Trail - ANF (Henry's Mills - SR 666)
TRAIL DISTANCE - 28.5 miles
TYPE - Backpack (2 nights)
This backpack trip was our 16th Wedding Anniversary trip.
We got on the trail around 7:30 AM on a clear, sunny, warm day. The hike started out with a fairly long gradual climb on a well marked trail. This really reminded us just how early it was, and how little sleep we had the night before, getting up at 3:00 AM to make the drive to the trailhead.
Overall the trail was well maintained and well marked, and we arrived at our campsite by 3:30 that afternoon. That was a good thing, because we were pretty much wiped out from the heat and lack of sleep. We set up at Triple Fork Camp, and had the whole place to ourselves! I would have never expected that, as there are so many sites here. It was really peaceful, and I think the sound of the creek had a bit to do with the 12 hours of sleep we both got.
Day two started out nice and slow, breaking
camp, packing back up and getting on the trail. We were well rested and
feeling great. Again, the trail was well marked, and there were several
long climbs through the different types of forest, from pines
to hardwoods, to a few marshy areas that were easily navigated. We planned
to camp for the second night at a primitive site that was marked on the
map about a mile from a road. We found the connecting trail easily enough,
and were almost to the end of it when we walked up on a dead fawn lying
in the middle of the trail. Needless to say, we decided to press on to
the next area to spend the night.
We woke up bright and early, looking forward to the final leg of our journey. We broke camp and once again hit the trail with fresh legs. The distance today was only about 5 miles, compared to the two prior days where we put in just over 11 miles a day, so we were in no hurry. The trail went through some heavily forested areas and followed along a good sized creek for quite a while, but the last few hundred feet were a very steep climb to the trailhead parking area. And of course no visit to the area is complete without a visit to Cougar Bob's. A nice cold one after a few days in the woods really hits the spot.
As I think I mentioned earlier, this hike
was our Wedding Anniversary celebration, the final day of the hike was
our 16th! My only regret is that we discovered backpacking so late! I
couldn't have asked for a better extended weekend, nor a better partner.