Saturday, September 5, 2009

Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery

Where: Monument Hill & Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites
Trail: all trails
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: less than 1 mile loop
Adventure Rating: 1 Star
Pets: Allowed on leash

We started in the parking lot and headed for the Kreische Woods Nature Loop, crossing a tiny bridge over a tiny creek. At the trail kiosk, we switched over to the Schulenburg Ferry Trail. We took that to the upper bridge and crossed over to the Brewery Lane Trail, which took us to the brewery ruins. After that, we took the Kreische Stairway Trail. This was pretty cool because it had stone stairs to climb. We passed a barn and a smoke house as we took the Scenic and Historic Trail to the Scenic Overlook. After that, we took the trail back around to the parking lot. This was a great hike for kids--it wasn't too strenuous and it was visually interesting with bridges, rocks, stones, stairs, etc.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Where: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Trail: Lakeshore-North Country Trail
Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 14 miles one-way
Adventure Rating: 4 Stars
Pets: Allowed on some trails, see website

Prior to driving to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for camping and hiking, I made reservations with Alger County Transit to have them pick us up at Little Beaver Campground (where we parked our car) and drop us off at Miner's Castle. This allowed us to hike back to our car (since the trail isn't a loop).

We got to Miner's Castle between 8:30-9 AM. Even though it was August, the morning was quite chilly--good thing we dressed in layers. We hiked to Miner's Beach and spent a lot of time exploring the beach, rocks, and boulders.
The hike along Miner's Beach was a bit rough (hiking in soft sand always is), but we weren't in a hurry. At Mosquito Beach, we took the trail inland to see Chapel Falls, except we took the wrong trail and missed it completely and arrived back on the lake at Chapel Beach. Between the Mosquito Falls trailhead and Chapel Beach, the forest thins out and becomes very sandy--which made hiking a lot tougher, especially this late in the trip.

It was about that time that we realized that we were way behind schedule. It was also about this point that I realized that I may have miscalculated the length of our hike. I still don't know how I did this, but prior to the hike, I thought the trip was 7 miles. If you read the info above, you know the hike was actually 14 miles. This posed a problem for us since we were planning to take a Sunset Cruise. We really started pushing hard at this point, trying to get back to the car in time. The last two miles were exhausting. Every rise/hill we came upon, we were sure the car would be on the other side. The disappointment when we couldn't see it was devastating. 

Eventually, we made it back to the car, completely and utterly exhausted. At the time, it wasn't all that fun, but it has become a funny story... Remember that time we accidentally hiked 14 miles? And my brother refuses to ever go hiking with us again.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Highbanks Trail to Iargo Springs

Where: Huron National Forest, Oscoda, Michigan
Trail: Highbanks Trail (Canoer's Memorial to Iargo Springs)
Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
Adventure Rating: 1 Star
Pets: Allowed on leash

The Highbanks Trail is 7 miles long (one way). Because I was hiking with an 8-year-old and a small dog, I chose not to hike the entire length. Instead, we hiked from the Canoer's Memorial to Iargo Springs, which is about 1.75 miles one way. Iargo Springs was a good place to stop, rest, and have a snack, before hiking back to the car.

The hike is pretty easy, mostly flat dirt paths. We did wander off the path in a few places to check out the sand dunes.

The most strenuous part of the hike was when we took the 294 steps down to the river at Iargo Springs (and then had to climb back up them). After that, we still had to hike almost 2 miles back to the car at Canoer's Memorial.