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A couple of weeks ago, my sister texted me asking if I’d like to go backpacking with a friend of hers (Laura) six days from that day to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!  I was excited, in shock, surprised, and then stressed.  She and her friend had been planning the trip since the beginning of this year, but at the last minute her friend was not able to go, and Laura would not have been able to go without a partner.

So I thought about it for about 10 minutes, and then thought how could I pass up this opportunity?! I probably would never do this trip otherwise.  It takes a day just to travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan from Tennessee, but almost another day to get from there to the Upper Peninsula.

So I had six days to pack and coordinate all of our gear and travel plans.  Next thing I know, I’m meeting Laura and heading north. And what an amazing trip it was.  We hiked the length of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, 42 miles, over five days, which is also part of the longer North Country Trail.

We had been hiking the AT in New Hampshire prior to this, climbing thousands of feet in elevation change in only a few miles.  So this hike was a refreshing change!  There was very little elevation change.  Just a few 100 ft or so climbs up and down the cliff.  We were able to hike more miles, more quickly, and still arrive at our campsite half way through the day. Plus it also turns out that almost every campsite that we stayed at had a beach access, and the water was warm and clear and refreshing.  I was actually able to wash my hair half way through the trip and at least able to soak my feet most nights.  The days in Michigan are long, not getting dark till 8:30 pm, and most of the time it was sunny and pleasant.  Sometimes hiking feels like a real chore, but getting to end each day relaxing on a beach was a real pleasure.  Plus the cliffs and the sand and the turquoise waters were so amazing.  The views were breathtaking.

I hope you enjoy our videos and thanks for hiking along with us!

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