Bonita “Mother Goose” Curtner crossed the mighty Red River of the North yesterday and entered MN on her trek from Lake Sakakawea State Park to Michigan on the North Country Trail! I had the privilidge of meeting her for lunch today at the I-94 truck stop cafe in Rothsay, MN.
After asking her for feedback on the NCT in North Dakota (see below), I shared some scenic alternatives to Wes Boyd’s route north of Frazee. These included going through Hubbell Pond WMA, Tamarac NWR, around Many Point Lake, and onto the new section of trail from Elbow Lake Rd. to the Headquarters trailhead (on Clearwater Co. Hwy 39). She’s definitely looking forward to leaving the roads behind and hitting trail although she knows she won’t see nearly the same number of people (or stand the same chance of asking for some icewater).
Her fondest memories of the NCT in North Dakota will probably be the friendly people that she met along the way. See her journal for the list of friendly encounters she had where strangers offered to help. As one person told her “There aren’t that many of us (in North Dakota) so we’ve got to be nice!” Well said.
She really liked the Trail through the Sheyenne Grasslands and even met some Boy Scouts camping out on the trail near Iron Spring Creek. The trail through Lonetree proved a little difficult for Mother Goose to follow (good thing we’ve got the Volunteer Vacation & SRV chapter workday up there before conference) and the section at Ashtabula was still heavily impacted by this spring’s record flooding.
One thing that she said should help our effort to complete the NCT in North Dakota is the fact that everyone she met was excited to learn that the nation’s longest hiking trail went nearby to where they live/work. That’s certainly not always the case elsewhere along the trail.