All in Adventures
Saw beautiful weather coming so I headed out for a quick overnighter on SE Michigan's only backpacking trail.11.5 miles out and back. Daytime temps around 70F, night time dipped to 36F and in the open fields some frost formed.
Spent the weekend in Manistee National Forest with a couple new friends. The idea was to enjoy the last beautiful weekend of the summer carrying as little as possible.
When we arrived at the trailhead for this trip I made the last minute decision to film this trip rather than write about it. At 13 days I don't think I could do the experience justice with words. The landscapes and terrain need to be seen as they are. Enjoy!
In all of Michigan there is only one place to really stretch your legs and get some miles under your feet, and that place is the North Country Trail. The NCT, like the much more popular Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail, is a National Scenic Trail. It runs for 4,600 miles from eastern New York to central North Dakota.
Red River Gorge in Kentucky is known for day hiking for the views and natural rock arches and for rock climbing. If you get creative though, you can put together some pretty nice backpacking routes!
You may have noticed that the blog has been relatively quiet since my trip to Pictured Rocks last year. The trips to Linville Gorge, Mt. Rainier, Seven Lakes Basin, and Pictured Rocks all happened within a 3 month period and my PTO for the fall was shot. Additionally I wasn't really in the mood for any short, weekend jaunts in Michigan after such an incredible series of backpacking trips.
When my friend Chris mentioned this past spring that he had secured group permits (6-12 people) for Pictured Rocks this summer I was 100% all in on the trip. I had never done a group trip, so that would be something new as well. 4 days/3 nights/42 miles in the wilderness with people you've never hiked with before could be awesome or a total disaster. We'd have the maximum of 12 people on this trip.
When Sarah and I first started dating one of the first backpacking destinations she talked to me about was Olympic National Park. She had gone there with our friends Nick and Jamie and backpacked Shi Shi Beach a couple years ago. Then she mentioned the 19 mile Seven Lakes Basin loop and how much she wanted to see it.
Sarah and I started planning our trip to Mt. Rainier National Park last year by contacting her friends Nick and Jamie who live near Seattle and also love backpacking and the outdoors.It was to be our big 2016 backpacking trip and it definitely didn't fall short of how incredible we thought it would be. 5 nights/6 days of pure backpacking goodness!
Linville Gorge Wilderness is an unwelcoming place. It is anchored by Linville Falls at the north end, which is a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But The Gorge is not the falls. It is not a park. It isn't friendly. The Gorge is wild, untamed, rugged, and at times dangerous. So, it only made sense that as someone who seeks adventure that I should visit this place.
If you've been following my adventures this summer you may recall that my trip to Sleeping Bear back in June was originally being planned as a trip to Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. The trip was derailed when I saw that thunderstorms were predicted all weekend and instead of going South we went North to Sleeping Bear. That was the right move, as we experienced perfect weather on that trip.
Some of the best memories I have from my childhood involve being in the wilderness. Camping wasn't exactly my family's "thing", but in addition to having a cottage in Golden Lake, Ontario we also went camping once in Algonquin Provincial Park and as a teenager we did an RV camping trip through the Canadian Rockies. My time spent on these trips and especially my time spent at the cottage gave me a love of the outdoors that I've been able to expand on as an adult.
I don't think there could be a more fitting inaugural adventure for a website titled "Mitten Camper" than an entry about camping at Sleeping Bear. Every year over a million people visit the area and for many people in Michigan it is a place they've enjoyed time and time again.