Day two was warmer, although it still felt raw enough that I kept a jacket on until about the last hour. I'm going to start with the very last picture I took before arriving back at the car. The sun had just come out. This is the same place where I took the picture that was the first on yesterday's post. However, the sunshine makes the view across Leitch Bayou come alive.
The trailing arbutus finally got its act together and agreed to open! Such a delicate little blossom.
Here's another lycopodium. I saw three kinds on this hike. This one is Shining Clubmoss, Lycopodium lucidulum. There are two that look something like this, with downward pointing leaves, but this one is shiny. It looks like it's made of plastic.
This was a neat surprise for day 2, because I hadn't noticed it poking through on the first day. I saw two clumps of this. It's Lousewort or Wood Betony. Leaves can be this beautiful maroon or dark green. And the flowers can be either yellow or maroon. The leaves will get much larger, of course, about 6-8" long.
I see this every once in a while, but now I know what to call it. I haven't really gotten into studying mosses. But I believe this is Common Fern Moss, Thuidium delicatulum. At any rate, it's nifty looking.
On this piece of trail, the views across the Manistee River are always hiding behind branches. It's really hard to get a clear view of anything. However, I did find one place where you can really see the twin peaks of Caberfae Ski Resort. And the lingering snow on the slopes verifies that's what it is. They are about 7 miles away. I have hiked here on late winter afternoons when you could see the lights for night skiing. Then you can really identify it!
You can also see Briar Hill, the highest point in the Lower Peninsula, but I could not find a single place where you could get a clear shot of it through the branches. I'll have to keep hunting. Now that I know what to look for, I keep seeing it from "everywhere." This is the third place.
And this is a nifty find, sort of hiding in plain sight. I'd noticed it before, but then I was with a group. This time, I got up there (only a few feet off the trail, but above it, so it's easy to miss). This is the foundations for the Red Bridge Fire Tower. I haven't yet found any more information about it, except that it existed.
There are 10 good hills in this section. The biggest one climbs about 200 feet. There is one picture I regret not taking. And this is the time of year you'd need to do it. Makes me want to go back before the leaves come out. On a lot of those hills, moss has grown on the vertical part of where the trail is benched into the hill, so as you wind in and out of the crenelated bluffs you can see the green line of the trail tracking and climbing or falling around the head the valley ahead of you. The grade is quite uniform. I'm really impressed with the planning and execution of the trail building accomplished here. A lot of people don't like this side of the loop- the Manistee River Trail is on the other side of the river. There are more open views of the river, to be sure. But I like this side just as much. It's very quiet. The hills are a challenge. The valleys and folds of the sandy hills are pretty amazing. Some of them seem steeper than one might expect of their natural "angle of repose." There are old roads that wander through the valleys. I like to wonder who built those and what was their use.
Teeny did great- She didn't rub any raw spots. I did get a tiny "stich" in my left supraspinatus muscle. I think this can be cured by me getting in better shape. Since I had plenty of time, I made myself take a longer lunch break and read a chapter in the book I had with me. That was a good idea. I usually take a short rest (5-7 minutes) every hour. Marie and I have found this to be a great way to keep from over-taxing joints and muscles. I'm trying to stretch the walks out to 1.5 hours. Each of these two days I did 3 walks of 1.5 hours, and then two of one hour or less in the afternoon as I got more tired. I'm satisfied with my stamina in this regard.
Anyway... I had a great time. I met 6 hikers in the two days. I'm sure there are more over the weekend. This is a very popular section.
Total NCT Miles in 2020 - 168
In other news: Today I worked mostly on some of my many projects.
North Country Trail, Manistee County, Michigan, Sawdust Hole to Eddington Creek and back, 28 miles
|See Teeny's First Overnight - Day 1|