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.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Hiking in Yankee Springs

Paul Henry/ Thornapple Trail bridge
Paul Henry Thornapple/North Country Trail (photo from Fortune Bay Expeditionary Team)

OutdoorBlips: vote it up!
if you like this article, click the Blip chiclet!
submitted by Pathfinder for the Fortune Bay Expeditionary Team

Members on this hike, Pathfinder, Vic, Papa, and Magellan. The Fortune Bay Expeditionary Team is a wilderness exploration group and educational institution. The team is open to everyone of all ages, regardless of skill level or ability. The Team is on a quest to hike the North Country Trail in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

I was hoping that we would get a winter storm for our hike this morning, but no dice. I always love a good challenge.

There was a challenge however, and that turned out to be the trail in Yankee Springs. Now, I have taken the trail a few times through Yankee Springs and it has always seemed to be well marked. I have also spent some time hiking the Chief Noonday trail sections and have always been pleased with what they have.

But, I have to admit that we had a very difficulty following the trail at times, today. We first wonder why they are using nail up blazes down there. Is it a requirement of the land manager? The nail up blazes seemed to be a victim of vandals at times and just plain old weakness at others. Parts of the trail are completely unmarked for over 200 yards. Some turns are unmarked and at other times, the trail simply isn't there because of the confusing nature of two tracks. I would like to let any noondayers [Chief Noonday Chapter Members] on the group know that the Yankee Springs section north of Hall Lake Rd needs some attention, especially Hall Lake to 179. Otherwise, great job on the reroute south of Gun Lake Rd. There are painted blazes on that section. If you can paint, please do.

Very few hikers out there, today. The turkeys however are all over. At times, we discovered 100's in fields.

The day was mostly filled with crunching and sliding. Two sets of hunters were headed out to take down tree stands. The winter sports parking area was empty and a few brave souls have ventured out onto Hall Lake to try their luck (in a couple of ways - fishing and stable ice).

About 9 miles of crunching an slippery walking today. We will be doing about 6 miles on Monday which should bring us to the doorstep of Middleville. It will be a short day as we have another "Christmas" celebration that day.

This segment is on NCTA map MI-02

See Chief Noonday Chapter of the NCTA
See Fortune Bay Expeditionary Team

1 comment:

Chief Noonday Chapter said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the need for blazing north of Hall Lake toward M-179. We tend to think of that section as it is in spring, summer and fall -- when the path is so obvious that you could practically follow it blind-folded! In winter -- not so much.

Those plastic blazes were put up when the DNR required us to use them, and they've gradually deteriorated so that enough have fallen off apparently to create a problem for hikers not already familiar with the section. We'll have blaze-painting on our to-do list as soon as weather permits.


Mick Hawkins
Webmaster for Chief Noonday Chapter, NCTA