Alumnus Alex Maier will also lead a break-out session at the North Country Trail Association Celebration at NMU later this month. He discovered the NCT and his passion for nature photography while enrolled as a student at Northern, initially taking short day hikes with his camera. Maier completed a 1,200-mile journey on the Pacific Northwest Trail after graduating in 2015 with a degree in digital cinema. He returned to the area and decided his next challenge would be to hike different sections of the NCT until he had traversed the entire Upper Peninsula. Maier’s nine-episode video series of his adventures, titled Yooper Tours, will be the topic of his talk.
“After the Pacific Northwest Trail, I needed something to do the next summer to keep busy. But I also needed to work, so I would take a few days off here and there to do sections of the North Country Trail when I had the time,” said Maier, an employee with LaDolce Video & Design in Marquette. “Each section turned into an episode where I filmed what I experienced, what I was thinking about and the challenges I faced. The hardest section was from Craig Lake into Marquette. I did that in winter and underestimated how deep the snow would be. A whole bunch of stuff went wrong.”
Maier timed his journey through the Porcupine Mountains much better—during the height of the fall-color season. He said he considers the NCT sections passing through the Porkies and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as the most scenic in the Upper Peninsula. Maier has created a 45-minute “conglomeration” of highlights from all of the episodes that he will show and discuss at the NCT celebration.
The North Country Trail, identified by signage and the distinct blue blazes on trees, is the longest of the National Scenic Trails. It spans 4,600 miles over seven states, from the middle of North Dakota to the Vermont border of New York.
In addition to on-campus and Marquette community activities, there will be also be guided hikes on sections of the NCT, which skirts the Lake Superior shoreline and inland lakes, cuts through old-growth forests and crosses rivers.