FKT: Pieter Kraayeveld - Dam-to-Dam (North Country Trail, MI) - 2023-11-15

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
1d 21h 41m 37s
GPS track(s)

Ooooweeee, it was a doozy!

I planned on starting on Wednesday the 15th of November, unfortunately this coincided with opening day of gun season which was unacceptable for my mother, who was also my ride to and from the terminuses. (termini?) So very suddenly Sunday evening the 12th I decided to start the next morning. After some last minute preparations I made my way to the northern terminus (Hodenpyl dam). I set out at 10:43 am Monday November 13 with about 18,000 calories, a puffy jacket, emergency poncho, mittens, alpha and rain pants, melly, Topo ultraventure, and a few odds and ends in a 15 L UD pack. The first 30 miles were pretty pleasant, my right ankle was bothering me a bit; I had been wearing zero drops before this and I don’t think my feet had quite adjusted to 5mm yet. I was concerned that following the trail at night might be difficult due to the massive amount of dead leaves, they had already been slowing me down a bit. They didn’t turn out to be a problem though, the trail was pretty walked in and I hadn’t realized that I’ve hiked almost all of this stretch in bits and pieces before. The first night was awful cold, dipping well below freezing. I stopped around mile 55 and laid down for about 30 minutes at 6am on the 14th and then continued. Miles 70-85 were pretty pesky, the worst of the tiredness from the night was gone but the exhaustion in my legs was still building. By the second evening I had about 40 to go so I was relatively confident I could get the record but the knowledge that I had another 12 hours was torturous. The sunset around 5:30 pm brought back the sleepiness and the miles kept crawling by slower and slower. I stopped to lay down on the side of the trail for a minute or two a few times until at about 3:30, I decided I had the time to lay down for a little longer. I set some alarms for 30 minutes, somehow I woke up a few minutes after the alarms! Close call for sure, if I was in a sleeping bag I would’ve likely slept till morning. Feeling not very refreshed, I continued on to make the final 15 mile push. Once the sun came up around 7/7:30 I began to feel better and started to hurry to shave down some time, and because I really wanted to be done. A little after 8am I reached Croton dam, clocking 131.6/132 miles in 45hrs 41min 35sec. My mom kindly picked me up again, we made a quick McDonald’s side trip and then home for some hot tub and much needed sleep! What a blast!