Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Huron-Manistee National Forest-Manistee River Trail

My friend Paul Imm took me on a 7.6-mile hike on the Manistee River Trail while visiting him in the Cadillac, Michigan area. We accessed the trail from the Slagle Creek Road.

A bridge that crosses over the Slagle Creek

We took several breaks along our hike and took in the panoramic views from the high banks.

There weren't many hikers so Sunny, and Gypsy was able to go leashless for most of the trip.

I found this an intriguing portion of the forest. Instead of the forest floor being covered in dead leafs this area was very grassy.

Our destination was here at a small waterfall from a creek that emptied in the Manistee River.

The dogs and I viewing the falls from the bridge.

One of many designated campsites with a fire ring for backpackers.  

The Manistee River Trail is 11 miles long, and if you combine the North Country Trail on the other side of the river, you can make it a loop of 20 miles. This would make a nice 2-3 day backpacking trip. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Huron-Manistee National Forest- Wakeley Lake

All the years living no more than forty-five minutes from Wakeley Lake,  I never hiked the trails, but do remember walking once to the lake, and fished on an intertube. While on vacation in my hometown of Mio, Michigan, I took the 20-minute drive West on M-72 from where I was lodging and hikes for two and a half hours (approximately 5- miles). 

Wakeley Lake land area is 2100 acres and is considered moderate in size. I'm not sure the size of the lake, but it was larger than I had remembered. If I hadn't had some commitments later on in the day, I would have hike most all the trails, but on this day I hiked from the trailhead to intersection 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, then back to 4, 3,2, then out. 

Gypsy and I started off going down the Beaver Pond Loop.

Much of the Wakeley Lake Trails looked like this- a narrow footpath through a typical Michigan mix forest overgrown with Bracken ferns.

One of the larger beaver ponds that I had passed by loaded with Lillypads.

Ant mound.

Intersection 6 the post is leaning up against tree and map is missing. I got my first glimpse of the lake.

If it has been rainy, between intersection 6 and 4, there is no way in which your feet are going to stay dry.  The trail goes between two swampy bodies of water on a somewhat elevated portion of land. I thought maybe walking on the edge where you see the grass would have been dry but still had to slush through several inches a muke and water.

Wakeley Lake.

The lake access and campsite 1 (5 campsites total) are only approximately quarter miles from the trailhead.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

South Mountains State Park-High Shoals Falls Loop Trail

You would not guess this was going to be a strenuous hike because of the way it starts. First, you're walking on an asphalt path, then it turns into a wide gravel trail. When you reach the fork where the High Shoals Fall Loop Trail connects is where the fun really starts. The last half-mile you gain 550 vertical feet up through boulders and stairs.

It is 1-mile to High Shoals Waterfall. At this junction, you're going to have a total elevation gain of 1237 feet, and once you reach the waterfall, you climb to the back side on some steep stairs and cross the Jacob Fork River then enter an open area with a lone picnic table. From there you follow the blue dots and loop back around for a nice 2.7 hike.

This was just the beginning of Aaron getting his feet wet. Eventually, he would swim in bluejeans and all.

 A rather tame portion of the Jacob Fork River, but nonetheless scenic.

There are so many variations to the Jacob Fork River from calm flowing water to massive boulders to rapids, and a course an incredible waterfall!

Coming towards the waterfall, you see two smaller falls cascading down from the rocks at the base of the main waterfall.

High Shoals Waterfall drops 80-feet over granite.

Weighed down with soaking wet bluejeans the hike around the loop became tiresome for Aaron, but the rumble of an approaching thunderstorm made him pick up the pace getting back to the Jeep. Here we took a break and drank some water and ate our trail mix.

Video of High Shoal Waterfall


When I was recording this video, I couldn't help but think of Steppenwolf's song Born to be Wild, especially the opening lyrics of  Get your motor running. Head out on the highway. Looking for adventure. In whatever comes our way.


Aaron takes a plunge off a large boulder.


Aaron's forward flip at High Shoal Waterfall


Friday, September 1, 2017

Blue Ridge Mountains-Duggers Falls/Duggers Loop Trail

Normally I wouldn't even consider bothering doing a post on such a short trail, but this trail is mentioned among the 58 or so North Carolina trails in the Blue Ridge Parkway Outdoor Guide. Everyone's ability isn't the same and what may seem like just a leg stretcher to me is all someone else may care to walk. Duggers Falls is at the same location as the Linville Falls (mile post 316.4). Starting at the restrooms and gift shop turning left (yellow arrow pointing the way) the Duggers Falls is a small creek waterfall, and in comparing it to the Linville Falls, it's like a tadpole to a whale. 

One of a few placards along the trail of quotes by someone about nature.This one I particularly like.

Just as the sign says, it's a 20-minute walk.

The bridge over Duggers Creek

Nothing much to look at but was a relaxing sound.

This was the return bridge back to the Jeep. Aaron is helping mom steady herself on the rocks.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lee & Vivian Reynolds Greenway

Traveling on US 321 (Blowing Rock Road) turn on Boone Heights Rd then right on State Farm Rd then a left on Hunting Lane which will take you to the Greenway's parking lot on the left side of the street.

There are three bridges. The Covered Bridge, Middle Bridge, and End Bridge as they are called.

Just before the Covered Bridge is a marshy area with lily pads and flowering plants.

  The Middle and End Bridges are identical and this is what they look like.

The view of the South Fork New River from the End Bridge.

1915-1924 this dam supplied electricity to Boone, and in 1924 dynamite couldn't even demolish the dam completely.

The greenway dead ends at Casey Lane near the water treatment plant. This side of the greenway is easier to access from US 421/221 by turning on New River Hills Rd. Turn left on Casey Lane, and you will see the parking area.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Elk Knob State Park-Summit Trail

Elk Knob State Park is a 1100 acre mountain state park with a picnic area, hiking trails, backpacking campsites, an amphitheater, and restrooms. Elk Knob via the Summit Trail is the main attraction with a trail rating of "Hard" because you continuously climb for nearly 1000 feet to reach the panoramic view from the cleared knob at 5520 feet. 

We were all smiles at the beginning, but it didn't take long for the Summit Trail to wipe that off our faces.

Unusual to see that many Shelf Mushrooms on a tree.

One of several rest stops we took. The trail is well maintained with rock steps that aided our ascend in the particularly steep portions of the trail. 

The Summit Trail wasn't no "white dot " trail but a blue diamond with many switchbacks. At a little more than a mile, Kelly decided she had enough, so Aaron didn't want mom to be alone, so he escorted her down the mountain while Gypsy and I continued to the top.

At the 1-mile post, the trail does a switchback at a clearing, and you have this view. Someone had said to us if you think you can't make it the rest of the way this would be a good place to turn around. 

 Finally, I made it to the top 5520 feet above sea level.

I have seen many impressive views while hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, and this is just as beautiful as any of those were. Elk Knob and the Summit Trail is truly a classic North Carolina hike, and a must do if you're visiting Boone.

Site B1 at the KOA campground in Boone, NC. We enjoyed our stay here and will return next year.