The natural feature that most defined today's hike is the Bear River. A lot of this is new trail since I hiked here last. We'll start where the river empties into the Little Traverse Bay. I wish the colors in the water were as stunning today as they were yesterday, but I can't complain about bright blue.
Just before the river reaches the bay, it's channelized. The waters are rushed and interesting.
Before heading up the valley, the trail passes under the historic Mitchell St. Bridge. The historic briges web site describes it as a "large, high-level concrete t-beam bridge with extensive decorative detailing." It was built in 1930.
The trail continues along the Bear River, which is still quite active as the most significant elevation drops are as it approaches the lake.
Here is the structure that made this whole re-route possible. Formerly, the trail followed city streets. This trail bridge crosses the Bear River upstream where it is more calm, but it is also wider. The Jordon Valley 45 Chapter did the bulk of the work to make this possible. They found funding for the $200K bridge. They built the approaches, and that cost is not included in the bridge. They had to clear a lot of garbage vegetation to create a path for the trail and access for the crane to bring in the bridge stringers. Bob, who is a member of that Chapter, poses on the bridge.
Yup, Bob hiked with us again today. This picture is out of chronological order, but it's not part of the river sequence. This is on the North Central Michigan College campus where the trail has had some off-road trail for about 20 years, but now there is a nice long natural-tread stretch. This bench was placed here in 2005 to commemorate Arden Johnson, who was an early volunteer with the NCT. He was still alive when I got involved, so I did know him. He was on the board, made Michigan maps before the NCTA had a mapper, scouted and built a lot of miles of trail.
There was a lot of uneven, crusty snow today. I called it quits after 6.4 miles. Tomorrow is supposed to be serious nasty rain and wind. We are not hiking in that. This all results in much slower progress than I want, but it's what I get, so I need to stop complaining.
Miles today: 6.4. Total miles so far: 4405.7.
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