Greetings from Cheboygon, Michigan Fairgrounds. My apologies for this long over due update.
Yesterday the two horses Essie, Spirit and my self were hauled across the five mile long Mackinaw bridge with lake Huron to our left and lake Michigan to our right. The truck, driven by Jerry Eden a project manager on a large power line under construction in Moran, MI. – escorted no less by bridge authorities with a flashing light leading us safely across the busy bridge while work crews narrowed the traffic into two lanes as we slowly proceeded over bridge to the Mackinaw City Welcoming Center parking lot. Where I set out on the North Country Trail (a beautiful Trails to Rails running the entire 15 miles to Cheboygon…(and yes I did indeed pick up all of the horses droppings).
Casting my eyes upon these great lakes after traveling so many arduous miles was thrilling and moving – I simply wanted to cry. I wish the horses could know what I feel I wish they could know how much I appreciate the work they do for me and the comradeship I feel for them. “We made it girls, we made it,” I exclaimed to them as they pawed and splashed playfully in Lake Huron. “We’ve made it this far!” They are truly the champions of this ride. And I could not be more proud of these two horses. Spirit has now stepped up as lead horse. With courage, eagerness and determination she leads us every where. I hope Swede Granstrom reads this. Spirit comes from his line of horses that he raises in Montana… now here she is riding along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron-through thick dangerous traffic and down long narrow back roads she leads us on. Essie remains my “right hand girl” as a seasoned long riding horse she keeps us calm,”whats the hurry” attitude. They are both fit and wearing another set of new horseshoes from the Blacksmith Shop.(see sponsorship page)
FROM IRON RIVER WISCONSIN TO IRON RIVER MICHIGAN;
We continued on the Tri-County Corridor Trail(another Rails to Trails) thanks to an invite from Kiersten Gritezen I over nighted at the Equestrian CO-OP, very nice facility with a unique twist to horse care and management.
Bob and Kerry Klein hosted my next night near Marengo, WI. Kerry went beyond the call of duty to find me a good route over some remote eastern Wisconsin country, I had a beautiful ride thanks to her and Bob. Thru Mellen, Boulder Jct we traveled alone until channel 10 and ? Came out to do interviews. In Star Lake, MI where Jim Peters saw us riding by his house and came out to ask if I needed a place to came, “I sure did” and I slept in a pretty little cabin he had off the lake not far from his house, the horses tied outside under trees, very nice. In Phelps, WI. Renee, Colin and Terefech Snook offered a spot on their beautiful lawn, had supper and breakfast with them before setting off again. Over July 4th weekend I stayed put in Nicolette State Forest. Thunderstorms, lightening bugs, campfire and more mosquitoes than one can manage. Michigan not far…
Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the world, the “wolverine state” the American robin its state bird. It is gorgeous country!
THE UPPER PENINSULA OF MICHIGAN
They are called “yoopers” or “Upers” they have an island mentality, with a healthy amount of free spirited independence and ruggedness about the people occupying the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are “up there” and refer to those on the lower half of Michigan as “from down below”. “Trolls, below the bridge.” Michigan is so spectacular, I have over looked this state my entire life! THE WATER water, water, water….the waterfronts like an ocean vista (with out the sea salt smell), boats and seagulls and a lively summer/festive atmosphere at this time of year.
The Upper Peninsula was densely forested with a good deal of wet land. Mosquito’s were horrendous some nights but we’ve been lucky, cold nights, rainy days and lots of wind, sounds awful but it kept the bugs from devouring us. (I continue to use the bed sheet/fly-mask/spray with good success the horses are for the most part comfortable at night and able to lie quietly) – I would love to return to the Upper Peninsula and travel a leisurely course, there were so many places to see, good roads doted by small communities and ample camping sites, very nice long riding country….First I must complete this ride!!
The mornings welcomed me with heavy wet dew. We rode past park like lawns, manicured and groomed – shade trees that call out to me “stop, oh why not stop here?”
The “Swan Man” driving past in his SWAN TRUCK stops and gives me a frozen smoothie, “heard about you yesterday, think its awesome.” Enjoyed tasty “pasties” a pastry filled with meat and potatoes found in this part of Michigan.
Wild apples change from green to red. Choke cherries and wild raspberries are ripening. My friend from Seattle Janna Pekaar has come out once again to meet meet up with me. She is the only one who has come out to visit on every ride. Her and her dog Taffy serenaded me with the accordion, while supper cooked and wine slowly disappeared.
So now I look at the next stretch reaching across the lower Peninsula of Michigan. This state is rich with trails and water and many outdoor activities to enjoy. Not at all what I had expected!. But the trails are really something else and most are multi- use. All that I have accessed have been beautifully maintained, such a treat. Thank you Michigan, it takes a great deal of coordination to implement a trail system like they have.
It will take another 10 days or so to reach my hauling point some where north of the Detroit complex. I won’t go much further than Lansing before looking for a hauler I can hire that can deliver me and my girls to the Ohio/Pennsylvania border. Please if someone knows of a hauler send a shout via email, would greatly appreciate it.
I am a bit behind but not by many days, made good time crossing the Upper Peninsula and the trails help enormously. Please I must add here that if there are other equestrian travelers using these trails (not the ATV trails but those for bikes and walkers) PICK UP AFTER YOUR HORSES. It makes for far better relations for every one using the trails, I would not leave dog poop piles on a side walk, can’t imagine doing it for theses lovely trails running in and out of towns. I carry a “pooper scooper,” handy- toss the droppings off to the side in the bushes.
The weather will now be HOT which means I must continue my up at 3am to pack and ready for a 5am departure time. I can not be riding the horses in the heat of these days. But sometimes I will pick up few more miles in the evening, just depends. The horses are allowed to graze as I ride and they are good at it let me tell you. I stop and swim them in cool lakes or just stand their legs in the water when ever I have the chance. I carry Source Micro-nutrients and salt. I grain them occasionally but they are for the most part nipping tall-stem grass heads all day and need very little extra grain. Apples and carrots yes.
We have come a long ways, still have a long ways to go this year. TO all of you who have so kindly offered help in one way or another either a meal, a night over or have purchased a DVD, to all of you, please know I could not possibly do these rides with out your help and support AND I KNOW IT…. smiles and appreciation.