Spring has bloomed on the NCT

What a brilliant day. The sky was cloudless. The temperature was between 72-76 degrees. Perfect weather! I got started rather late driving to my starting point about 10:30 in the morning to begin my hike.  It was a 67 mile drive from Grandville to the intersection of M-89 and 43rd Street in Calhoun County, the postal office of Richmond, MI.

I left the car along the side of the road where the North Country Trail crosses M-89 going South.  Almost immediately I was in the Kellogg/Michigan State University 720 acre forestry research farm.  I loved walking among the various identified trees, research plots, and sign posts.  Research is being conducted on inter-planting of various tree species for maximum synergistic growth, best sugar maple planning for maple sap production, Gypsy Moth management, and so much more.  The best part was seeing the emerging ground violets and Thyme-Leaved Bluets.  Observing the trout in the Augusta Stream was great.  Especially cool was walking on the boardwalk in the wet lands close to the Kalamazoo River.

NCT041616In Caledonia, on the way to my starting spot, I stopped at McDonald’s for a quick hamburger.  I asked that attendant if he would fill up my two-liter plastic coke bottle with tap water.  He was doing so when the manager came charging over, stuck his head out the window and almost into my car window and went off about there is no way they could do that.  He said he gets his place inspected every three months.  He was not going to jeopardize his license by serving any product in a customer’s container.  I told him I could just go inside and fill my jug in his bathroom.  That seemed to make him even more energetic and excited.  He did give me a small cup of water that I finished in three swallows.  The end result was that I did not have water and I was really thirsty when I walked into the bicycle shop in Augusta 3.9 miles later and bought some water.   It reminded me again how important access to clean and safe water is.

It must be my week.  I had city inspections on a rental property I have and was required to do some things that in my humble opinion are nothing short of stupid.  I know regulations are generally there for our overall safety but as someone once said in a movie, “Stupid is as stupid does!”  If regulations are not balanced by common sense, well, even the good ends up getting disrespected.

Nothing too eventful on this 12.4 mile hike occurred.  I came off the trail about two miles from downtown Battle Creek and I was able to call a taxi to get back to my car. On the way home I learned of the earthquakes that happened in 3 countries today and thought of the families who lost loved ones. Will you become my Champion and help me send clean water filters to these families in need?

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