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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Six Miles, No Car, No Road

Today, I walked out my back door, and did a six mile hike without driving anywhere, and without walking on (public) roads. I was on a campground drive, and a service drive for short stretches.

Who could resist going out on a day like today if they didn't have other commitments? It was gorgeous. A tiny bit chilly when the breeze picked up, but with the sun, who cared? And Saturdays (because they follow Friday nights at work) are, for me, a complete crap shoot as to how I'll feel. Last week I had a headache all day and didn't want to move. Today, I felt great. And that's in spite of a very long night at work.

blue sky

You can come along on my walk.

First, I headed for the Pere Marquette River. That's about a mile south of me. When you reach the bluff along the river you look down to one of my favorite places to sit and ponder the world. I call it Hemlock Cove. At the linked post is a picture of it from river level.

Pere Marquette River

There I turned left and walked along the top of the bluff. This is combination of deer trails and bushwhacking. It used to be an easier walk, but a lot of autumn olive has grown up. Along the way, I passed The Dragon's Backbone.

Next I skirted the closed Scottville landfill. It's just a quiet place now.

closed landfill

Continuing east, as you approach Scottville, you look down on the river flats. At this time of year they are too marshy and flooded to walk, but in August that entire area below the river is filled with lizard tail.

Pere Marquette River

I slid on my butt down the edge of the bluff to get to the parking lot at Scottville Riverside Park docks. Then I crossed the road and the river on the road bridge. OK, I lied. I was on the road the get over the river.

Then I entered the main park. I've often taken you on the loop hike there, although I usually drive there and just do the 1.5 mile loop. However... when the river is high, you can't walk the whole loop. Sometimes you can get all the way around, almost back to the campground, only to discover the channel from the bottomland hardwood swamp is flowing and you'd need to get pretty wet to cross it.

So instead, I went to check that first. The trail would go out on that spit of land from left to right and then continue on the raised ridge of land. But, you can see that the water is cutting off that path. The river is in the background and the swamp in the foreground.

Pere Marquette River

Change in plans! I didn't feel like getting soaked since there were other options. I walked around the back edge of the campsites. At this time of year they are still empty so I wasn't bothering anyone. I explored some places I haven't been before, but was cut off by high water again. So I returned to the camp road, and then skirted the relatively new disc golf course they've installed in the filled lagoons of the old wastewater treatment plant.

When I reached the spot where this connects with the actual trail... that end of the access to the river edge is also under water. In this picture you can see that spit of land that looks like it's going right out into the river. That's the trail. The water there would actually be quite shallow on the river flats for another 150 to 200 feet before you reach the river channel. This bridge used to be at the end of the spit of land. I think the city has pretty much abandoned this trail, now that they've built the golf course.

Pere Marquette River

I looped all around the park, joining the actual trail where it isn't in the river flats. I found a much better way to get up to the top of the river bluff (and down for next time), and walked around the other edge of the old landfill.

The final piece of the walk, before I reach my property, takes me through this stand of red pine and Scots pine. It's south of the grain elevators.

red pines

After passing through the trees, I can see my destination ahead. The railroad tracks are down in that cut that divides the picture.


Now we're home again. Wasn't that fun? I have some nice closeups to share another day.

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The Furry Gnome said...

Yes, that looks like a great walk!

Ann said...

thanks for the walk. I needed that :)

vanilla said...

Not only your Quality Day, seems as though it was your Perfect Day! I went for a walk, too. Total distance: perhaps 3/8 mile. :-)

Secondary Roads said...

I enjoyed your walk. Well, the pix therefrom actually. Like Vanilla, I went for a walk too, but mine was even shorter than his.

The Oceanside Animals said...

hello sharkbytes its dennis the vizsla dog hay that luks like a nice walk and dada sez ware we ar going we dont need rodes!!! and then hes saying sumthing abowt bak to the fyootcher!!! i hope he is not planning to steel my doghowse of justiss time masheen!!! ok bye

Sharkbytes said...

Stew- perhaps some day we can take a walk together

Ann- any time!

Vanilla- I think in light of your recent adventures, you put forth more effort than I did

Chuck- hey, as I understand it, a walk of any length is an accomplishment for you

Dennis and Dada- I'm sure you love your walks, as long as there are no birds or thunder.

Secondary Roads said...

Unfortunately, that is true, Sharkey. I love to take advantage of the good days.