Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cabin Adventure - Day 3

The last day of our outing we did the usually morning things, shower, dress, breakfast, walk the dog, then packed up for the ride home.  We decided to take the Six Mile bridge way home.  Back to the Michigan County Atlas book, I see just SW of the bridge is a place called Links Pond, I have no idea what this thing is so we checked it out. 
Little Manistee River at Six Mile bridge

After stopping briefly at Six Mile bridge and walking along the shore  in a fruitless search of dead Bottle Gentian, we got back in the car, crossing the bridge (south) then turning right (west) on Old Stronach Road, the road marked Weir. 
One and a half miles down the road we came to a sign, Links Pond, OK.
There is a good two-track through the woods, 1/4 mile to an area to park.  We got Tilly out of the car and started to walk.  This is a cool and curious place.  There are lots of marshy areas and ponds, also the Little Manistee River.  We find lots of cedar trees, probably a great place for wildflowers earlier in the year.  But what was this place?  There is a small dam with a footbridge.
 We saw several numbered posts along the path.  I could contact the ranger station in Manistee, they must know what this was used for.  Maybe it is an old weir.  More research is needed. 
This sign was at Links Pond, hm...Michigan Wildlife Habitat Foundation.  It helps to take pictures of signs then I don't have to write this info down.  Links Pond is a cool place, I definitely want to go back there.
 Little Manistee River at Links Pond, notice the Larch turned yellow soon to lose its needles.

Mike, Tilly, and I walked ~one mile around the big pond and off into the woods, we crossed a small stream, but turned back not having a map and not quite sure where we were going. 

Back in the car and continuing west, less than a mile down the road, we came to the weir.

We ended up driving to Old Stronach Bridge.

There was a paved parking area here with a picnic table and grill, maybe a port-a-potty.  The bridge, I think, was recently redone as was the little park area. 

Now we went north over the bridge and turned east to get on Little River Road.  We are on the north side of the Little Manistee.  There is an overlook marked on the map, we got out to look.  It was a steep drop to the river, lots of beautiful trees blocked the overlook view.  
We traveled on until we again crossed Six Mile bridge then drove on to stop in at Hoag's Lake.
Hoag's Lake
After this we jumped on US 31 getting off in Hart for La Fiesta.
Crossing the bridge over Hart Lake in Hart Michigan.
The rest of the way home, the sky was full of wonderful clouds.  We got home and again it seemed like we had been away a week instead of 50 hours! 
It is always good to be home. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cabin Adventure - Day 2

Friday morning, second day of our trip and our 34th wedding anniversary, we took a hike on the Manistee River trail.  But before we left and after a hearty breakfast, we took Tilly out for a walk since she would be staying at the cabin while we went for the longer hike.  Last year we took her on a 10 mile walk, it is just too much for her 14 year old body.
                      Sunrise at the cabin
There was frost over night, probably the first frost of the season.  The car was frosty and the dry brown ferns had a coat of white.  Below is a picture of moss so pretty with little ice crystals on them.

We decided on starting our hike at Red Bridge on Coates Highway, this is the south end of the Manistee River Trail.

There is a parking area just east of the bridge on the south side of the road, to access the trail you cross the road (Coates Highway) then follow the trail along the road about 1/4 mile to trailhead.

OK good now we get on the trail and head north(ish), before long you are high above the river and have a great vista of the river valley below.
Many trees had a hazy smoke look to them, they must have already dropped their leaves.

Many signs have been updated in several of the US forest lands.  And this boardwalk has been replaced, it was pretty wet walking through here before.

Cool tree

We walked as far as Cedar Creek, it was a beautiful day with perfect weather.  And we hadn't seen one other person on the trail.  We had it all to ourselves!

If I remember right we were out for about 4 hours total, we weren't walking fast and we stopped several times to take in the view.  From the parking area on Coates Highway to Cedar Creek is ~3 1/2 miles, so we walked 7 miles, not counting going up and down the hills!  Perfect.
We drove to Wellston and checked out some stores, then drove to Irons for a good fish dinner at the Oak Grove Tavern.  The place looks a bit scary from the outside, but the food was good.  I would go there again.
Back to the cabin we went, Tilly was glad to see us and we walked her to the creek for a swim (her not us).  A serene evening up to about 8:30 when the owner of the cabin, Fern Dog, showed up along with two other people and 5 dogs.  Well it is a big cabin.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cabin Adventure- Day 1

October 27, 28, 29 Mike took a couple days off from work so we could enjoy our anniversary with a trip to Fern Dog's cabin.  The weather was changing almost constantly, with rain one minute then sunshine the next.
We headed up US 31 turning off on M-120 to go northeast, there was still beautiful autumn color in the trees.

We saw the sign for Pines Point (M-120 and west on Garfield Rd. to south 168th Ave.) and decided it was a good time to revisit this place.  It is beautiful here, right along the White River.
Pines Point is in the Manistee National Forest and there is a fee to visit.  You will find that the canoe/kayak is a walk-in landing. This site is popular for tubing on the White River during the summer, with a half-hour float around the peninsula located in the picnic area. It is quiet and secluded, surrounded by towering white pine.
Tilly got out of the car to stretch her legs and have a sniff here and there.  She likes going for car rides, but it is getting very hard for her to get in and out of the car.  We have to put the front seat all the way forward then she can get her front paws up on the floor of the backseat area.  Usually she needs a boost with her rear half.  Not sure how many more trips she will be with us.
Mike wanted a different way to go north, so checking my Michigan County Atlas by Dave Brown, I saw the Walkinshaw Wetlands were just a bit north from here, so that's where we went.  I don't know much about this place.  Here is some info about Walkinshaw Wetlands.  It is a 1,000 acre expanse of marsh and wet meadows.  America's third largest bird the Sandhill Crane, known for its leaping displays in the spring mating season, nest here in the Walkinshaw Wetlands, part of the Manistee National Forest, southeast of Walkerville.

Next stop Green Cottage Access point on the Pere Marquette River, also in the Manistee National Forest.  This site has canoe access, a boat launch, parking, toilets, angler walk-in fishing.  And this green cottage.  Nearest intersection is Peacock Rd. and 72nd St., this is just a few miles southwest of Baldwin.
Pere Marquette River
After this we bumped over to Baldwin and stopped in at the US Forest Service Ranger Station.  This is a great places to stop for info and maps, I even bought three new nature books.

Along M 37, at some point we turned west again and drove through the towns of Irons, Dublin, and Wellston.  Dublin General Store located at 18372 Hoxeyville Rd Wellston, MI 49689 is a favorite stop, they have tons of good stuff, we got some beef jerky.  They have 50 varieties of delicious home cured jerky. 

We went north on Synder Rd. and Mike saw Stronach Dam Rd. and thought it looked interesting, so we followed this to the east and it dead ended at Consumer Energy property with this sign.
So we all bailed out of the car for more exploration to find... the Pine River.  Checking the map later I realized we were just south of the Cooley Bridge on M-55, huh.
What a cool little stop that turned out to be!  I found 6 different kinds of wildflowers blooming, Brown-eyed Susan, Spotted Knapweed, goldenrod, asters, Bouncing Bet, and Red Clover.
We finished our drive arriving at the cabin,

made a fire in the woodstove, went for a walk, ate good stuff, relaxed.  Ah.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sisters complete (a variation of) a triathlon!

2011 October 18  My sweet sister, Sugar, and I completed our first "triathlon"!  We began at Rosy Mound Natural Area (13925 Lakeshore Drive Grand Haven, MI 49417) dragging our bikes out of our cars all by ourselves, already some exertion! 

We rode south on the bike path along Lakeshore Avenue all the way to Palomita Reserve (10630 Lakeshore Dr, West Olive, Michigan 49460) owned by The Land Conservancy of West Michigan,  about a 10 mile (round trip) bike ride.
Returning to Rosy Mound Natural Area we stowed our bicycles into the cars, then off we went on the second part of the triathlon, taking over 1000 (stair)  steps to Lake Michigan and back.  

 While at Lake Michigan we completed the third portion of this trek by swimming (our finger tips) in the lake!

Fun time!
 We saw lots of Hepatica leaves along the trail.
Rosy Mound is a classic Great Lakes dune system including high wooded dunes, foredunes, beach and a dune blowout. A 0.7 mile (one way) hiking trail from the parking area to the Lake Michigan shoreline includes 1,000 feet of stairs up and down the dunes and scenic views of woods, the dune blowout and Lake Michigan. A unique shade canopy, dune boardwalk trail and pit toilets are located near the beach. Improvements to this 164 acre park were completed in April 2004.  No pets.

We are "triathlon-ers".  Ha Ha!