Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Early Fall in the North Woods
This two days of hiking had a lot of roads. And bulldozed grades that used to be roads. And wannabe roads that were ATV tracks. And old logging skid trails. There were roads full of water-filled mud-pits. There was a washed out culvert where someone had thrown down an old wood palate to get across. There was a place where locals had blacked out the few blazes and didn't want the local chapter to publicize the route.
Not the best of the North Country Trail. Not the best weather, either. Fog and some rain, attested to by Hat 72 from a misty vista.
It was a section to endure, to get through, and on to the good stuff.
Yet there were benefits. A young bear was a recent passer-by on one of the sandy, less-traveled roads.
Fortunately there was some good stuff. Unique in my hiking since eastern Ohio, there was a 2½ mile section of trail that followed the Little Garlic River, a noisy, bubbling, tumbling mountain stream in verdant undisturbed woods -- property donated to the state of Michigan by Elliott Donnelley (1903-1975). I love being accompanied by that constant peaceful sound of water. It's why I love to walk the beach.
Where the river got steeper the noise became a roar.
But elsewhere I passed some serene quiet waters too. The headline photo shows such a place. Here the beauty is in the perfect silence.
There were signs of the change of seasons everywhere. I especially appreciated the color in the ground cover - the ferns and little blueberry bushes.
You can see hints of it where Hat 73 posed at the 'lone pine' in a logged out area at the end of the road walk.
This was the beginning of a truly mountain-like and challenging stretch of trail through the McCormick Wilderness. That's tomorrow's story. Today's tracks look remote enough from above.
So I can't complain. Road walking in the woods sure beats walking busy highways.