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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Only 10.3 Miles?

  I thought my total was going to be more like 11 or 12 miles, so I'm a little disappointed in that, but 10.3 isn't shabby. Loren and I started at the North Country Trail Udell Trailhead on M-55 and went north. There was the April Fool snow on the ground. After a mile in the woods, the trail comes out on Cedar Creek Road (which isn't very road-like on the west end so it makes a nice easy piece of trail). Cedar Creek Road in snow

The best feature of this section of trail is Pine Creek. Pine Creek

The sun came out, and with a sandy bed the creek looked golden. Pine Creek

A fallen tree with roots washed bare seemed artistic. bare tree roots

A lovely bed of Norhern Ground Cedar accented with Reindeer Moss. Northern Ground Cedar and Reindeer moss

We returned to Udell and ate lunch. Loren had enough, but I went in the other direction. By now, almost all the snow was melted away. The air was crisp and the temperature stayed in the 30s, but it was nice for walking. trail in sunlight

This section is much hillier. These are called the Udell Hills, and that's where the trailhead gets its name. My plan was to go outbound on the NCT until the place where it is closest to the Shanty Boy trail that is part of the Big M system. Here's where I bushwhacked across. I'm standing on the NCT looking north. I think the far line of hills is on the north side of the Manistee River. But all I had to do was drop down the hill- you can see the edge practically at my feet- (carefully) to reach Shanty Boy at the bottom. hills in Manistee National Forest

Easily found the other trail and headed back to the junction with the NCT that I had passed earlier. One very very cool thing is that this is a piece of local trail I've never seen before. The outer loop at Big M is about 25 miles long. It's primarily for mountain bikes, although hiking is allowed. I need to get out there and do an overnight to see all of that loop! Anyway, Here is part of the Shanty Boy Trail Shanty Boy Trail

One interesting feature was a big glacial erratic boulder. These are not very common here. We mostly jut have sand, and this one is huge for our area. glacial erratic boulder

Anyway, my afternoon hike would make a nice loop for a group as long as they didn't mind the steep descent from the NCT to Shanty Boy. Fun stuff! My total for the day, 10.3 miles.

North Country Trail miles for 2021 is at 155.

In other news: I'm doing a little work on a web site, but the hiking took most of the day.

See MNF Challenge Hike #11

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