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Tami Stagman: NCNST Long Distance Hiker

Categories: Hiking Stories

Tami Stagman

Central patch + Michigan, 1000 Miles, and Mackinac Bridge

by Nancy Briggs

This all began in 2012 with friends John and Nancy Briggs. John was the President of the NCTA Grand Traverse Chapter and they had a challenge to hike the 100 miles that the Chapter maintained, so I decided to give it a go. I finished those 100 miles with their help and quite enjoyed it. In 2013, Sara Cockrell organized a four-day backpacking trip of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from Grand Marias to Munising, so I joined in. This was my first backpacking trip and I checked off 40 North Country Trail miles.  

In 2014, I did 100 miles in the Grand Traverse Chapter with a lot of repeat hikes; but then in 2015 I decided that I would like to see new territory.

Each year to do the NCTA’s Hike 100 Challenge. I wanted to keep hiking new miles, so we headed for the UP in 2017. This was mid-June and it was quite a hot, sticky day, with no wind, lots of humidity, and lots and lots of mosquitoes and ticks! We had to eat our lunch on the side of a road as the woods were too thick with mosquitoes; actually, I think every mosquito in the UP hatched that morning! When we got to Brevort Lake, we found ticks on our packs and legs; we asked Bob to turn around – we shed our clothes and jumped into the lake, and then set up camp and made a smoky fire to keep the bugs at bay.  The next day we did not make it to the car before the sky opened up. Despite the bugs and the rain, we all had a good time, and Bob even wrote a blog about hiking with five badass women. I have the North Country Trail to thank for this great adventure.   

I was determined to check off as many NCT miles in Michigan as I could, so a few weeks later I headed up on my own with my fat bike in tow. I had fears of riding my bike back in the dark, which is exactly what happened. The trail went through some of the old burned forest and some beautiful views of Lake Superior, and I had the 14 miles to myself; it was nice. Then I jumped on my fat bike and rode the old Coastguard sandy road back the 14 miles. I was really worried how I was going to see the bridge, and then I saw green glow sticks ahead and people with black lights. They were out looking for “Yooperlite” rocks. Lucky for me!

On August 5, 2023, Mark dropped me and Nancy Briggs off on Nestoria Road where we left off the day before, and he would pick us up later at the West McCormick Wilderness parking lot with beers ready for the toast. We hiked 18.6 miles that day through Craig Lake State Park. This area is so quiet and beautiful, and I am so glad that I got to finish my last miles in Michigan with Nancy, with whom I started hiking my first NCT miles in Michigan in 2012.

The NCT is a wonderful trail with many adventures to be had. I have seen so much of Michigan that I never would have seen had I not been on a quest to hike all the NCT miles in Michigan. The woods are a wonderful place to explore, and especially the Western Upper Peninsula where I finished up my trek. Many thanks to Mark and Nancy who have hiked the most miles with me on the NCT and helped me to finish this tough section. I could not have done it without them. Happy trails to all and just get out and hike, even if it’s just a mile or two, you are beating everyone sitting on the couch.

Learn more about long distance hiker recognition at explorenct.info/NoCoLo/index.htm.