Saturday, September 1, 2012

North Country Trail - Red Bridge to Hodenpyl Dam Hike & Paddle Planning

Chrissy and I were discussing the fact that I had bought a canoe earlier in the summer and we'd never taken a trip in it.  Our schedules were getting tight with the kids being back in school, so we were going to have to make it a quick trip.  We both really enjoyed the North Country Trail side of the Manistee River Trail loop, so we decided that we were going to hide the canoe near the Hodenpyl Dam and hike to it from Red Bridge.

On our hike in the spring we found a great camping spot on a ridge about 3 miles north of Red Bridge.  It's on a point to the east of the trail overlooking the valley, we'd really like to stay there on our first night.

Itinerary:
Friday: Drive north to Hodenpyl Dam and hide the canoe near the dam.  Drive back to Red Bridge, park the truck and hike north on the NCT to the campsite on the ridge.

Saturday: Hike to Hodenpyl Dam.  Load our gear into the canoe and float downriver a few miles.  Set up camp along the river somewhere and stay the night.

Sunday:  Float to Red Bridge.  Load up the truck, head to Big Al's for a late lunch and head home.

 Hike to Day 1

Sunday, July 15, 2012

North Manitou Island - Afterthoughts

The long first day was a little rough on the group. I was disappointed that we didn't find what we were looking for at the Pot Holes. I did more research after returning home and it looks like we were just a few hundred yards west of where we should have been. They are still on my list to see on a future trip.

Mac collected a couple deer ticks, but the Permethrin treatment on our clothes seemed to have helped keep them away from Chrissy and I.

A huge thanks to the Lenawee County Undersheriff for rescuing us from our missing key. I always make sure to double check to make sure I know where it is when I lock the truck now. I spoke with the fine folks at Manitou Island Transit, and they said they would be more than happy to hold onto your key at their ticket counter until you returned from the island. Double check with them when you check in prior to leaving.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I managed to get into some poison ivy. I hate poison ivy almost as much as I hate mosquitoes, and slightly more than I hate ticks. I won't snicker the next time I see somebody walking down the trail with long pants, gaiters, and hiking boots on next time, I suppose it's what I get for enjoying shorts and sandals.

When we go back I think we will base camp for a couple days, do some exploring, then move to a new site. The island is small enough to be able to access quite a bit from well placed base camp.

It seems that Big Al's is starting to become an after trip tradition. I wouldn't say they are the best pizza shop in the State, Fricano's in Grand Haven, MI has a firm grip on that record, but their subs are delicious especially after a few days of trail food.

Stay tuned for more adventures!

Monday, July 2, 2012

North Manitou Island - Day 4

I had promised Chrissy that we would sit and watch a sunset before we left the Island, but our position on the eastern shore prevented us from seeing a sunset. We woke up early on our last day of the island and headed to a nice vantage point to see the sunrise over the Manitou Passage. The sunrise was beautiful!

After sunrise we returned to camp for breakfast and began breaking down camp. Somewhere between the time I placed the tent in my pack and grabbing the last bit of personal items I realized that I would need my key to my car, so I might as well place it in my pocket now. My key... where was my key? Great question, if you happen to know, please let me know. I turned my phone on to try to start working out a way to get a key, but it wasn't meant to be. Oh well, the key was lost, lets enjoy our last couple hours on the Island.

The short mile hike back to the Village was uneventful. Once there we dropped our packs on the dock and watched the boat come in from the mainland. We watched the happy smiling faces of the passengers of the boat as they stepped off the boat and onto the dock. The truth is that it was a great place to watch people. They were all full of energy and excited to be there, and we were all tired and ready for a shower. We were farther back in line boarding the boat so we sat on the main deck in the open aft section.
We watched the dock fade into the haze and sat down to enjoy the ride. It was much quieter on the way back to the mainland, no excited conversation about religion, politics, or trashy novels.


When we arrived back in Leeland I checked to see if there was a lost and found that may have had my key. Nope. We walked to the car hoping we had left the key somewhere there. Nope. I called a car dealership and my insurance company, between the two of them they figured out how to make me a key, I just had to get to Traverse City to pick it up. I checked at the dock to see if any of the workers there would be willing to give us a ride to the dealership. The only offer we got was from a kid who wanted $50 plus gas! Mac got on his phone and started making calls, a few minutes later he smiled and said that the Sheriff's Department was going to send a car to take me to the dealership and back. Wow... I owe some return favors for this one!

We had lunch at the Village Cheese Shanty and it was just as good as everyone had told us it would be. As we finished lunch a Sheriff's Department car pulled up and a very friendly Deputy gave me a ride. He told me we may get diverted if he got a call, but we'd get there eventually. I didn't care, his car was air conditioned and we were on our way to get the key. We picked up the key, returned to Leeland, packed the car, and headed south.

As has become tradition, we stopped at Big Al's Pizza for a sub and huge fountain pop.

 The rest of the trip home was a blur, most of the passengers were sleeping by the time we reached Ludington and slept most of the way home. Once home we unpacked our gear, took showers, and laid on the bed enjoying the air conditioning.

To date, we haven't found the key.

Approximate miles traveled on foot: 1