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.