Tracker Pixel for Entry

​North Country Trail offers adventure just outside your backdoor

by Ryan Janke | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Wellness | May 29th, 2019

Photograph provided by North Country Trail Association

As Mother Nature begrudgingly transitions from winter to spring and summer, getting outside to soak up the sun and breathe in the fresh air is on everyone’s mind. For those looking for that, plus adventure, there is something right outside our backdoor that offers all three – the North Country Scenic Trail.

The North Country Scenic Trail weaves its way 4,700 miles between Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota along the northern United States all the way to Crown Point, New York. Originally established in 1980, the North Country Scenic Trail gives hikers a unique opportunity to see some of our country’s beauty from a perspective that cannot be viewed behind the windshield of a car.

The North Country Scenic Trail is one of 11 trails in the United States and is part of the National Parks system. As of last month, the trail officially connects to the Long Trail in Vermont, which connects to the Appalachian Trail. So, according to Rennae Gruchalla, a person can get on the trail in Georgia, and hike all the way to Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota.

Gruchalla serves as vice president of The Dakota Prairie Chapter, which builds and maintains a 95-mile stretch of the North Country Scenic Trail in North Dakota. Her chapter is one of 30 along the entire trail.

“Our chapter’s trail comes in from Minnesota at Abercrombie and weaves its way through the National Grasslands down by McLeod and Lisbon, through there west of Lisbon through the Sheyenne State Forest,” said Gruchalla.

Gruchalla is one of about 140 members of the local chapter and consists of volunteers who help build and maintain the trail. This includes mowing grass, trimming branches, cutting down trees, and making sure the trail is clean and safe. She said members of the chapter divide up the workload.

“My husband and I and another couple maintain a 3.5-mile portion of the trail,” she said. “We do it three or sometimes four times a year. Now, we have done it once. We will probably do it again, depending how fast the grass grows, but usually we do it twice during the summer and then maybe once in October at the end.”

Ensuring signs are visible for hikers is also part of maintaining the trail.

“You never would get lost,” Gruchalla said. “We have signposts. When you get to one sign, you can see the next sign. If there’s trees, we put a blue blaze we paint on a tree. As maintainers, we have to make sure [signs] are standing up.”

Gruchalla said building has some of the same aspects as maintaining trails, but is more involved.

“It’s a lot harder,” Gruchalla said. “When you maintain, the trail is already there. When you make brand-new trail, a lot of times, you have to cut trees down, cut branches. You’re starting with bare land and making a trail.”

Gruchalla said the reason they are still making trail is because some of the trail is currently along roadways due to the North Country Scenic Trail not having access to certain private land. She said there is only about 4 percent public land in North Dakota, so they have to get easements to be able to make trail on private land.

“In North Dakota, out of the 430, approximately 260 miles is on actual trail,” Gruchalla said. “The rest is still on road.”

Gruchalla said gaining access to this private land is a work in progress, but they are adding more all the time.

Along the trail, hikers will find campsites and, if they reach out to the North Prairie Chapter ahead of time, they will be on the radar of the chapter and within reach of Trail Angels who are volunteers who will give hikers rides, offer their yards for campsites, and even offer washers and dryers to hikers to launder clothes.

This summer, they have another project that she is very excited about.

“The area we’re going to do this summer, on the south side of the Sheyenne River going to Lisbon, that’s a lot of field,” Gruchalla said. “There’ll be a lot of mowing. There won’t probably be a lot of trees. We’ll have to do all the signage. It’s going to be beautiful. When you’re up there, you look over to the north, over the Sheyenne River, it’s a really nice view. It’s going to be a good part of the trail.”

Making and maintaining the North Country Scenic Trail is a necessity to be able to hike, but Gruchalla does her fair share of that as well. She said she and members of her chapter hike at least once a month all year round, and that is the rewarding part of the North Country Scenic Trail.

“We had a snowshoe hike in January,” Gruchalla said. “We had a dozen people that braved the weather and came out. We hiked out to the campsite, made a fire, and had hot chocolate and cookies. We sat around there for a half-hour and then hiked back. We do this all the time. When you do something like that – it happened to be -3 (degrees) – if you’re out there in nature and in the cold all bundled up snowshoeing and then you make some hot chocolate, I tell ya – no matter if you knew that person or not prior to the hike, you know them by the time you get back. It’s really neat.”

To learn more about the North Country Scenic Trail, visit www.northcountrytrail.org.

The Dakota Prairie Chapter can be reached on their Facebook page by searching NCTinND, or on Meetup at https://www.meetup.com/NCThikersinND/.  

RECENTLY IN

Wellness

Tracker Pixel for Entry HarborHealthClinic Tracker Pixel for Entry HPR Sales Tracker Pixel for Entry TAKAPRIL4 Tracker Pixel for Entry HPRONLINE

Recently in:

WATFORD CITY – A reported 10-gallon spill of liquid gold at the Garden Creek I Gas Processing Plant in 2015 – just before the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy – could now be renamed as the largest land spill in human…

The 2019 North Dakota Senior Games begin this Thursday, August 15 and will continue through Saturday, August 17. There are 20 events scheduled for the Senior Games, which take place at various locations around Fargo and West Fargo.…

Thursday, August 29, 6-10 p.m.This Skateshop, 625 1st Ave. N, FargoShop vintage, enjoy a complimentary drink, play some vintage board games, VHS movies will be projected on the wall. It’s predicted that it will be an epic night for all!

Editorial

The power of song

by Sabrina Hornung

In this issue David Crosby said, “You know, music is like a lifting force. It makes things better.” Truer words have never been spoken. This week we decided to change things up a bit and offer our readers an exclusive music…

Basing Gun Control On Militia Muskets Is NutsThere was a picture of hundreds of colorful backpacks in the Fargo Forum that were distributed to children at the Fargodome a couple of days ago. It was part of the 21st Annual 2019…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comThe High Plains Reader spoke to Ojata Records and the Dogmajal owner and operator Jeremy Swisher about the ever-growing Grand Forks record store and hotdog shop.HPR: We might as well get the elephant…

If you’ve ever craved an outdoor music festival where you can walk to downtown shops, do yoga or go fishing in between sets, you’re in luck. The Greenway Takeover Festival returns to two stages in the heart of Grand Forks…

By Scott Ecker notharrisonford@gmail.comLast Tuesday I joined many local artists and audience members for Theatre B’s season preview at the Hjemkomst Center. As one of their board members, I see Theatre B regulars very often. …

Arts

‘Local American epics’

by Sabrina Hornung

The US Postal Service recently released a set of stamps celebrating the New Deal era post office murals that were federally commissioned during the Roosevelt administration, though the mural that graces the walls of the New…

The annual mainstage summer musical, produced by Trollwood Performing Arts School and sponsored by Bell Bank, opens Thursday, July 11. This year’s performance is Disney’s “Freaky Friday.” Trollwood Performing Arts…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

If you’re from the region you may have sipped, sampled or caught word of a libation often referred to as “red eye” or “wedding whiskey” at some point. In fact some of our friends of German Russia descent swear by it. If…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

Woman is born free and lives equal to man in her rights…The purpose of any political association is the conservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of woman and man; these rights are liberty, property, security, and…