Hiking 924 Miles of Michigan

Christopher Hillier loves spending time outdoors, and a lot of that time is spent on Michigan’s hiking trails. Since April 2011 alone, Chris has hiked nearly 6,000 miles. To continue his adventures, he’ll take on the newly proposed trail that runs 924 miles from Belle Isle all the way to the border with Wisconsin in the western Upper Peninsula. Read about it below and follow his journey at WolverineHikesMichigan.blogspot.com or on Facebook as Hiker Resupply.

I like to be out-of-doors. A lot. I spent 7 months and 9 days hiking the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.  It took me 5 months and 25 days to hike the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. More recently, I’ve been hiking all the best trails in Michigan: the Shore-To-Shore Trail, the Kal-Haven Trail, the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail, etc… My next big hike is a trail that was just proposed by Governor Snyder in November of 2012 that runs 924 miles from Belle Isle all the way to the border with Wisconsin in the western Upper Peninsula. I intend to be the first person to thru-hike this trail. That is, to hike the entire distance over about 10 weeks this spring. I want to use this hike to bring attention to all the great trails we have to offer here in Michigan, as well as for the health benefits of hiking. I want people to know that they don’t have to hike thousands of miles like I do, but they need to get out and walk more often.

People sometimes ask me if my six years in the US Army started my passion for long distance hiking. I explain to them that marching with a rucksack is a world away from hiking with a backpack. But the Army did prepare me for an 18 year career in cardiovascular technology and during that time I saw lots of vascular disease caused by inactivity. If I can encourage people to walk more, I will be doing a good thing.

So far, I’ve been working with the good folks at the Polly Ann Trail, the Detroit Free Press, the City of Warren, the Caroline Kennedy Library, Moosejaw gear stores and the Downriver YMCA. I receive incredible support from my family and friends. I am very proud to have been born and raised in Michigan and I am honored to have been selected as a finalist for the 2013 Governor’s Council Veteran of the Year Award as part of the Governor’s Fitness Awards.  The award will be presented April 25th at Ford Field. Wish me luck and follow me at WolverineHikesMichigan.blogspot.com.

Chris has hiked almost 6,000 miles since April of 2011. You can read about his adventures at WolverineHikesMichigan.blogspot.com or learn more in this story from the Detroit Free Press.

  • Terri

    What is your route? Are you welcoming individuals who’d like to hike with you for a few miles?

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hey Terri – Thank you for your interest. I’ll hike with anyone! The route starts on Belle Isle in Detroit. I have two maps of it here: http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com/2013/01/this-is-it.html

  • martha rogers

    I have been friends with Chris/Wolverine for 4 years. I had the pleasure of spending some time with him on the AT and learned what being a thru hiker is REALLY about. I watched his face and eyes glow and listened to his stories of trail life and knew he as a changed man.
    Chris has encouraged me, even insisted that I get out and walk. He’s a great coach, talking along the way, not rushing, going at my speed, gently helping me along the way.
    Chris belongs on a trail. Any trail. At all times of the year. He is passionate about hiking. When we first started talking about the new Michigan trail, he got that look on his face again! I never doubted he’d find a way to hike this trail.
    And I will be with him, resupplying, encouraging, helping in any way.
    Go, Wolverine, GO!!

  • Mary Ann

    I really admire what your doing. I grew up in Oscoda, MI. Also lived in Gaylord. I love the adventure you seem to be doing. Wish I could join but must work for now. take care and be safe. Maybe one day I’ll cross your path.

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Thanks Mary Ann! I love Oscoda! I hiked into Au Sable/Oscoda as I finished the Shore To Shore Trail last November. I was so glad to see Lake Huron. I was also glad to be indoors after freezing for 2 weeks. My housemates treated me to a fantastic lunch and delicious Michigan craft beer at Wiltse’s. I hope we do cross paths someday.

  • Mary Hillier

    Hi Bro,
    You go and hike that trail, wish I could walk some with you, but Omaha is a long way away, how I miss Michigan. It was so great seeing you and having dinner with you in Grand Rapids when we were ther last earlier this month.
    Will follow you on Facebook, Love ya, Mary

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hey Mary! Thanks for the kind words and well wishes. I know you guys like it out there in Nebraska but as far as hiking trails go, I think Michigan has you beat. Although the Pine Ridge Trail in northwestern Nebraska does look pretty sweet… Nah, my plate is plenty full for now. Love to you, Steve and the girls!

  • http://www.followingblazes.blogspot.com Rayo

    Hey, is it the Michigan section of the North Country Trail? Enjoy!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hi Rayo –

    In the Lower Peninsula, they are quite different with the North Country National Scenic Trail running up the western side of the state and my trail running up the eastern side. As the trail crosses the Upper Peninsula, it does indeed coincide with the North Country National Scenic Trail. Lucky for me, Michigan has more designated NCTA Trail Towns than any other state. I consider the NCNST to be a state treasure. Read more about it at NorthCountryTrail.org.

  • http://www.thinkmorethanpink.org Teri

    How exciting and truly healthy. I just started hiking and biking the assorted trails in Michigan-and love it even if it is healthy. And speaking of health how are you working in the Relay for Life-Taylor. From what I just read, you will be still working this trail the end of May?

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Thanks for the post, Teri. I won’t even be a month into my hike when my housemate is going to come and pick me up from the trail to participate in the Taylor Relay For Life. I plan on walking all 24 hours by myself and then going right back to the trail. It will be difficult but supporting the American Cancer Society is worth it. Check it out: http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com/2013/03/relay-for-life.html

  • Susan

    As someone who see’s most of the sights through the windshield of a car I can only dream of what it would be like to hike those distances! ( I did walk 1/4 mile on the Appalachian Trail so I could tell people I hiked the trail! :-)
    At 55 I doubt if I will ever cover great distances, but I have hopes of being in good enough shape for short hikes. Thanks for sharing your adventures so I can experience the journey through your eyes.

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hi Susan – Thank you for the kind words. I try to tell people that they don’t have to hike thousands of miles like I do but just get out there and enjoy the great trails Michigan has to offer for a day, an hour or even a minute. When I thru-hiked the AT in 2011, I met a guy who was 89 years old! He was trying to re-capture his ‘Oldest To Have Thru-hiked The AT’ record that he set when he was 86. I hope I can even WALK at 86, let alone thru-hike the AT!

  • Sharon McDonnell

    Go Chris! We are so proud of you and proud to know you. Congrats on the award too. You definitely deserve it. Can’t wait to see you walk the Relay for Life in Taylor for 24 hours too! We’ll all walk laps with you.

  • Sarah

    Hey Christopher, this is really cool! Michigan has so many beautiful place to see! I’m from Michigan, but now live in Northwest Montana. The reason I’m writing is because I worked in Glacier National Park the summer of 2005 and think I may have met you. I remember meeting an avid hiker that was visiting the Park and he spoke of hiking the AT. This is probably far off, but I had to know. Anyways happy hiking!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hi Sharon and Tom! Thank you so much. The Taylor Relay For Life is going to be great. I hope to raise as much money as possible for the American Cancer Society. The Governors Fitness Awards are on April 25th and I start my big hike the next morning. Wish me luck!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hey Sarah – Sadly, it was not me in Glacier National Park. In 2005, I was in the state of Washington climbing Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams. Now, I’m back in Michigan, hiking all the great trails our state has to offer. You should be, too!

  • Nan & Phil Frazier

    Hi, Chris. I too am proud to read & hear about all your hiking accomplishments & the many more ahead. And Phil & I will be with the ‘team’ & walk as much as we can. I admire your spirit & your stamina. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

  • Chris Hillier

    Hi Nancy and Phil! Thank you very much for the kindness and support. I would hike with you two anytime! Get your boots on and let’s go! Did you know that the man who started the Relay For Life (Dr. Klatt) did all 24 hours on his own? He’s MY inspiration.

  • free

    bla bla bla….. thru hiked the AT, PCT and….? So what did you give back? Just hit a McDonalds and keep checking things off your list….. and get some help and … never mind, you can’t understand….

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Dear Free – Not sure I understand your comment but I do believe it’s important to give back. I give financially to the ACT and the PCTA and I volunteer to do trail maintenance. One of the main reasons I’m hiking this new trail is to assess it for navigability, maintenance needs and access so that others can get out there and enjoy it.

  • http://reelinn.com mike verhamme

    Chris
    Good luck to you and best wishes. We hike the north country trail all summer and winter. My favorate time of year is winter in the UP. We put on our backcounry skies and see places very few people get to enjoy. Adventure is in your heart I understand that. come up to the UP in spring early march when we still have a lot of snow. Pictured rocks is amazeing this time of year. Hope to see you in the UP sometime It would be nice to have you speak at the Fallingrock cafe in Munising on your adventures. You and Andy Skurka would make a great team. Met him when he was hiking the NC trail from NY to Montana. What is your goal for millage per day.

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hey Mike – Thank you for all the kind words. First things first – I would LOVE to speak at the Fallingrock Cafe and I WILL be hiking through Munising sometime in June. I’ll be dirty and stinky from about 7 weeks on the trail at that point but I could talk about hiking and gear all day long. My goal for mileage is 18 to 20 per day in the LP. As for the UP, I don’t know as I’ve never hiked up there before. Mike, I’d like to speak to you more about the UP part of my adventure. Please email me at cbhillier2@gmail.com and THANK YOU!

  • Jerry Allen

    Hi Chris; I assume that you will be using the Midland to Mackinaw Trail thru a large portion of the LP. If you need info on the M2M, feel free to contact me. I’m currently in charge of maintenance on the trail. Also, I can steer you to people with the North Country Trail who can provide you with current conditions on that trail in the UP (Duck Lake fire area etc.). Love to hear from you re. conditions on the M2M as you pass through. Our Boy Scout caretakers need feedback from hikers. Enjoy your hike.

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Jerry! That is EXACTLY the kind of info I need! I’ve been looking at the M2M but haven’t found that much info. It’s a HUGE part of the trail I’m hiking. I need re-supply points, water info, etc.. I need to talk to you. I’m so glad you posted. Please email me directly at cbhillier2 at gmail.com or find me on Facebook as Hiker Resupply.

    Thank you for doing trail maintenance. You make the hiking experience better for everyone. I mean that sincerely.

  • karen

    Just want to say that I think this is awesome and inspiring! i wish you the best!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Thank you Karen! Get your boots on and come with me!

  • Marylin

    Inspired!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Thank you for leaving a comment, Marylin. You’re welcome to hike with me anytime!

  • jeff kerekes

    Hi Chris, A group of friends and myself have started a group on Facebook… Downriver and Friends and we would love to able to track your journey in the room, so could you let us know if you would be interested in that? thanks and good luck on your Journey

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Jeff – That sounds awesome! I’d love to join and post to your group. Find me on Facebook as Hiker Resupply and send a friend request. Thanks for inviting me!

  • trish

    Just a note to say, “HELLO!” I met you at Mazama Campground, Crater Lake Nat.Pk. 2012. It was good talking with you and I have been enjoying your blog.

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Trish! I remember you! You shared yummy food with me and I saw you two days later at the gift store. Thank you so much for the comment and keep reading the blog – I start a brand new adventure April 26th. Keep in touch!

  • Lisa

    Hello Chris, very interesting to hear of your new adventure……..i was wondering if your travels will take you to the marquette area? my sister lives off off of M-28, she once fed that man that was “walking around the world”….and I’m sure she would love to have you stop in also…..just wondering…..safe travels, lisa

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Dear Lisa – My trail will go right through Marquette and I will be far from home and needing a friend at that point. If for no other reason than to point me in the right way! Would you consider contacting me at chillier2@gmail.com? Thank you for posting on Pure Michigan!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Dear Lisa – My trail will go right through Marquette and I will be far from home and needing a friend at that point. If for no other reason than to point me in the right way! Would you consider contacting me at cbhillier2 at gmail.com? Thank you for posting on Pure Michigan!

  • jim mildren

    Looking forward to meeting you in Ironwood at our beautiful new downtown Depot Park and Trailhead – Chris

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Hey Jim – It was a pleasure to meet you. The new park is fantastic! I had a great time at Festival Ironwood!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    As you can tell from the post above, I completed my hike from Detroit to Ironwood. It took longer than I thought and was harder than I thought. I started April 26th from Belle Isle in Detroit and finished on July 18th in Ironwood. I saw so many cool things and met so many amazing people that it would be hard to describe it all here. Feel free to read about my adventures at Woverinehikesmichigan dot blogspot dot com or, if you have specific questions, I’ll check this blog often to respond. Thanks, everyone, for all the well wishes and support!

  • http://wolverinehikesmichigan.blogspot.com Chris Hillier

    Big thanks to everyone who followed and posted on this blog. Great news: I’ll soon be back out on the trail! This time, I’m hiking 250 miles of the Great Lake to Lake Trail from South Haven to Port Huron. I’ll be writing about the trail for Pure Michigan when Im finished. In the meantime, get all the details about this fantastic multi-use trail at: wolverinehikesmichigan dot blogspot dot com.

  • Suresh

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