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Monday, September 30, 2013

Gratitude

Completed my 250 mile hike from South Haven to Port Huron. Took two full weeks.
One of my favorite things about long distance hiking is that wave of gratitude that fills my soul when I complete a hike like this. I think about all the people that helped me along the way and I give thanks. I'll blog more about the hike later but for now, indulge me in a few shout-outs.

Nancy Krupiarz giving a speech at a ribbon cutting in Pinckney.
Nancy Krupiarz and everyone at the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance made this whole thing happen. They were there, every step of the way, making sure we were okay and that we had what we needed. Good people who really care about the trails in our state.

Lunch at Arcadia in Battle Creek.

Jim Coury and the Calhoun County Trailway Alliance helped me with the route, took me out to eat and helped me with newspaper interviews.  Seems like everyone in Marshall, MI knows Jim and I'm proud to call him my friend.

I was staying with Roger and Sue the night a storm took out this tree and picnic table.

Roger and Sue Storm know more about the trails in Michigan than, perhaps, anyone else I've ever met. Roger has been identifying and bringing trails to fruition since the 1980's. In his work with the DNR, Roger designed the Ironwood Trail that I hiked this past summer. It was my honor to hike with he and Sue from Stockbridge to Gregory.

Marlyss Hollyer, me, Drew Chinarian and Susie Hollyer at the Uptown Grill

Susie and Drew have been hiking with me and helping me since I first put boots on. On this hike, they hiked a good bit with me (after having run a 5K that morning!), treated me to delicious Michigan craft beer, resupplied me and let me stay at their beautiful home on Wolverine Lake. Susie's mom, Marlyss, has been working on a website for me: HillierHikes.com. She's got mad web design skills.

Bonnie and her amazing folding/touring bike.
Bonnie Campbell is glad to host touring cyclists for Warmshowers.org. She made an exception when she let me (a smelly hiker) stay with her for two nights. Not only did she provide a warm shower, but she fed me some great food and let me enjoy the company of her wonderful family. She is truly a Trail Angel.

Isn't she cute in her Conductor uniform?

Finally, I knew Stacey Jones worked for Amtrak but I was certainly surprised when I ran into her at the station in Battle Creek. She introduced me around and let me watch her in action. It was lots of fun and it made the miles fly by.

Of course, huge thanks to my housemates Martha Rogers and Sandy Lowe who help me with all these crazy hikes. My partner in crime, Chris Bowman, inspired me and kept me on track all the way to Lake Huron. Bob Burr, the Mayor of South Haven, gave me a great send off. My dear friend Libby Shaw took the time to keep me company on the West Bloomfield Trail to Sylvan Lake.  Jeff Kindy and the guys from A Sight To Remember got me through the first few miles. As usual, my friends at Moosejaw kept me well supplied and geared up. Thanks also, to my friends in the Burning Boots Trail Club for their service to our country and to the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church for all their thoughts and prayers. See you guys next Sunday!

Without all this help and support, I'd still be standing in the waters of Lake Michigan, trying to make it across the state. This kind of thing just doesn't happen without good friends and family. Thanks, everyone!


6 comments:

  1. Congratulations Chris. Thanks for the shout out. When are you doing Route #2?

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    1. I'd leave this very second if the MTGA told me to!!

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  2. Great job! Super proud of you!

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    1. Thanks, Bri! I was so glad to see you, Lisa and Nate at the Big Finish. You guys are awesome for coming all the way to Port Huron to see me.

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