Today, a week later and I did another ten miles, almost exactly.  I am up to the corner of Ashely Avenue and Green Lake in the State of Michigan.  Today’s hike was not an adventure rather, it was pleasant, very pleasant.  I had plenty of water.  It was sunny with some clouds but not overly warm, maybe mid to high 70s.  I figured out how to carry my water bladder in my day pack hooked to a Sawyer filter in case I needed to source water from a creek or lake.  

Along Lincoln Lakeside Highway I saw a canvas lawn chair that obviously had blown off a trailer or pick-up.  Someone had put a large rock in a plastic jug and set it in the chair hoping the owner would drive by and reclaim the chair.  I removed the jug, sat in the chair and waved at traffic as I had a drink.

Most of the North Country Trail today was on Ashley Avenue which is a gravel road.  Little traffic, lots of woods and farms.  It was quiet.  About five miles into the hike I thought I would rest at the junction of Five Mile Road and Ashley.  I looked for a spot to sit for a moment.  There was a swing in the tall grass of this giant Red Oak.  What?  Where did this come from?  Across the road was a farm house but it was like two hundred yards to this tree.  Nothing was landscaped or groomed around this tree.  Well, it worked for me.   

There were two vacant houses on the corner of M-44 (Belding Road) and Ashely.  I stopped to have another drink.  As I got up, I thought I heard my phone ring.  Nope.  It kind of sounded like chimes ringing on the back porch of our home.  I stepped into the road and turned North and glanced back one last time.  There, through the trees, was an ice cream truck with the bell ringing.  I waved it over.  She told me she drives through the country on Saturday afternoons.  That ice cream sandwich tasted terrific.  I gave her a nice tip as well.  

I walked passed two rural cemeteries today.  I also stopped to read a sign on a Centennial Farm, a farm owned by one family for over 100 years, in this case, since 1850.  Just up the road, I saw one of the larger tombstones with the same name as the farm.  

One cemetery was at Alton Corners.  The only functioning building was a very nice Bible Church and an old township hall that has become a museum.  During the Civil War it was another thriving community (http://www.commoncorners.com/kent/kent_alton.htm).

It is hard to believe this rural area could have been more populated than it is now, 150 years ago.  I wonder if anyone even thinks of the people who used to live here.  The one household where I asked directions certainly did not.  She told me they had only lived there a short time.  She did not even recognize Ashley Avenue, just down the road from her place.  

The yellow flowers were out.  I identified Goatsbeard, Groundsel, and Golden Rod.  Jan picked me up and took me back to the Fallesburg Park Covered Bridge.  I loved the day.  I hope it was a great day for you as well.  

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