Sunday, July 27, 2014

North Country Trail Section Hikers Over 2600 Miles

Dan and Ruth Dorrough
Dan and Ruth Dorrough in the Manistee National Forest
(photo by jhy)

by Joan H. Young

A retired couple from Canandaigua, New York, has been working on a section hike of the North Country Trail. Dan and Ruth Dorrough had previously hiked small pieces of the 4600-mile trail, which goes from New York to North Dakota, but they've been working continuously on their quest since May. They've only taken one day off in three months. So far, they have walked over 2600 miles, covering everything from the New York-Vermont border to Hodenpyl Dam at the north end of the Manistee National Forest, and the Spirit of the Woods Chapter's section, in Michigan.

I had the pleasure of hiking with them for a day and a half this week. I'd previously known Dan and Ruth from the annual North Country Trail Association conferences, but never in any depth. Dan is a computer programmer, and Ruth retired this year from nursing administration. They agree that the hiking lifestyle is addictive. "It's just become our way of life," Ruth said.

They have backpacked when necessary, but prefer day hikes, usually covering 10-15 miles a day. They get set for each day by spotting a vehicle at their end points. One vehicle is a van, which also serves as a camper for overnights.

After one more hiking day, they'll head back home for some weeks with family before returning to Duluth for the NCTA Trail Fest in August. They plan to hike some additional miles this fall, after the meetings.

Today, we covered 12 miles of trail between Upper River Road and Highbridge. That section roughly follows the Manistee River. Several small thunderstorms kept us on our toes, but they also cooled us and settled the mosquitoes. One temporary detour takes the trail on a Forest Road, with a nice view of the Manistee River.

Manistee River
Manistee River (photo by jhy)

Dan and Ruth have been quietly hiking along, more or less keeping their goal to hike the whole trail a secret. But the cat's out of the bag now! They said some of their biggest challenges have been to simply find the trail in areas which have been poorly maintained. It's a sad truth that it doesn't take long for things to fall into disrepair if trail is not adopted by volunteers, and the results are terribly discouraging to people attempting to hike through.

The couple are also Finger Lakes Trail End-to-Enders, including all of the branch trails. They couldn't remember exactly when they discovered a love for hiking. The Bristol Branch of the FLT is near their home, and they started walking there, then just kept going. They agreed that the Finger Lakes Trail county hike series (group hikes which complete a county a year) helped them on their way.

I promised them more hills and views in northern Michigan than they'd seen in the southern part of the state. "I don't miss the hills at all," Ruth quipped. Somehow, I only half believe her. The FLT is just one hill after another. They'd never have made it this far if they hate hills. And they certainly are on track to finish the NCT next year.

Dan and Ruth Dorrough, Joan Young
Dan and Ruth Dorrough, Joan Young (photo by jhy)

Over dinner we agreed we were more than pleased to get to know each other better. It doesn't require the energy of youth to hike a long trail, it just takes persistence.

Like This!

See North Country Trail Association
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

Go To for all the news
See Get Off The Couch

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails