Today I started implementing the out-and-back plan which will result in a lot slower progress, but at least it keeps me going.
The day began by meeting two interesting people, Jim and Karen. When I got to where I was going to park my car (plenty of room for us both), there was a red truck there with a couple (about my age) in it. I waved- they waved back. I went over and asked if they were hunting or hiking. Neither. It seems they live nearby but can get no cell signal at their house so they drive out to this spot each morning to make phone calls and play their games for a while. Hey! Retired people can do whatever we want.
The first 0.7 mile was up Meridian Rd, then into the woods. Almost immediately, the trail starts across a logged-over aspen stand. The young aspen are 12-14 feet tall, about a foot apart. The loggers did what they were supposed to. There are 8-foot stumps left across the area with blazes on them. However, you may have just noticed I said the aspen are 12-14 feet tall. I am five feet tall (OK, 5 foot 1 inch) Yes, that blue arrow is pointing to a post with a blaze. See my problem?
Got out into that a little way and realized that if I couldn't find the next post I was hung. Turned around and made sure I could identify where I came into the mess. The stand of pines beyond the aspen is my landmark. I seared the pattern of each tree into my brain and kept turning around to check where it was, but I pressed on.
It was about 0.2 miles across this area. I did lose the blazes, but knew they were on my left (west), so when I got to the hardwoods beyond, I roamed west until it was becoming southwest and never found a blaze. Just beyond the band of hardwoods was another logged area just like the one I had just traversed. It's over a mile to the next road if I keep bushwhacking. This is really difficult walking. I turned around. Didn't bother looking for blazes, just went back to my landmark pines, and then back to Meridian. Thought I'd walk up Meridian. It has been blocked off and the right-of-way is all grown up beyond. The dirt road veered right, so I thought maybe this was just a jog around. Nope. That road headed off to the east. Went back to the corner where I first went into the woods. I've now been walking for 2 hours and have made 0.7 mile forward progress.
Not an auspicious start, but one I'm becoming used to (wary of).
Took the road walk the other direction to get around this, which was a better choice than Meridian anyway. Picked up the blazes where I would have come out of the woods. The trail continued up this road for a little way, past an intersection (picture two two-tracks crossing in the woods with no signs or anything, but I'm following the map really closely).
Followed the road right into an area of selective hardwood logging where all blazes have been obliterated.
Back to the road I just crossed which roughly parallels the trail. Well, it was a beautiful day. Take the blessing that is sent.
Turned northeast till I got to Baraga Rd, and turned left hoping to find the trail again. I did!
And I was also hoping to learn if the trail went near enough to Bear Lake to be useful. It does, and it's wonderful. It would make a great water access and/or camping spot.
From there I found actual trail for the rest of the way to the corner of Robinson Lake Road, at which point I turned around. Just walked roads back to my car.
But when I got back to the corner where my car was, guess who was there. Jim and Karen also come in the afternoon, park in a different spot to catch the shade and play some more games. We chatted a while again. Jim said he can hardly walk any more and needs back surgery, but he used to like to hunt and fish. So grateful that my health continues good.
Now I'm in a really cute little cabin, reasonable price. Possibility of a bad storm tonight.
Actual miles walked today- something over 10. Forward progress on the trail, about 4.5 miles. Total to date: 70 miles.
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