Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Treasures North of THE Bridge

cygnet swimming
baby swan (photo by JHY)

by JHY

I just completed another 45 miles of trail (total now 3702), from St. Ignace to Trout Brook Pond, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. St. Ignace is working hard to become a trail town, and their boardwalk which follows Lake Huron (only Huron shore on the NCT) through town is a real treat. This cygnet, with siblings was learning to dabble for its dinner.

Mackinac Bridge towers from the North Country Trail
Mackinac Bridge towers from the NCT (photo by JHY)

Here's a view of the bridge you won't see from anywhere except on the NCT. At a strategic high point of land, a bench dedicated to the memory of Eric Cox (son of Duane and Joan Cox- frequent conference attendees) has been placed. After you climb to reach it, you are likely to sit down to rest. You will discover that you find yourself facing, over the tops of the trees, the familiar towers. Remember that they are about a mile apart!

yellow lady slipper
yellow lady slipper (photo by JHY)

There were plenty of pink lady slipper blooming too, but somehow it seems like there are more of them. I found yellow ones blooming right along the rail trail out of town, and later near East Lake as well.
rock wall of Maple Hill
Maple Hill (photo by JHY)

And finally, here's a treat I almost hate to share! Why? Because I love delightful surprises in the woods. And I did NOT know this was coming. Of course I could see on the map that there is a funky little mound called Maple Hill between Forest Roads 3114 and 3323 northeast of East Lake. So when a few rocks started to sprout from the ground on my left and form a small ridge I knew I'd arrived at the southern edge of Maple Hill. The ridge grew and was covered with dirt and trees... ordinary, just higher than where I was. Then the trail took a swing upwards and... WOW. The rocks just leaped from the earth and grew into a massive wall of columns and blocks! Moss and ferns in some of the cracks, but mostly just bare rock faces. What a surprise in the middle of a day of mostly level terrain! But now you won't be surprised.

Thanks to the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter for keeping this section in good repair, and to Stan and Kay Kujawa for helping me spot a car.

P.S. The mosquitoes were brutal!

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