The forecast was for rain this day. It was a Wednesday, which
meant at least two things, it was my day off and I was hiking
somewhere. Waking up this morning to my wife and coffee waiting for me was grand. I am truly spoiled and blessed when it comes to my wife and children.
I probably don't always deserve the kindness, but maybe. What I do know is, it is a great place to be in.
Today had all the makings of a fine trail day. I had a few things to do with the family and then off to the trail it was. My wife dropped me off and was going to pick me up at my final destination, which would be determined while on the trail. Today I would be hiking from 19 mile Rd. to Highbanks rollaways or Baxter Bridge Rd. Because of timing I chose the Highbanks. It ended up being between 8 and 9 miles and followed closely along the banks of the Manistee River.
The hike starts off on a high bank and starts to descend to the river in the first ten minutes of the hike to the east. Many mixed trees and lots of pines. The ferns are very showy as they have reached waist heighth and perfect green. About 30 minutes into the hike the trail descends into a creek valley, it is in that valley that the trail crosses Anderson Creek. It just a few yards to the right the creek empties into the Mnaistee River. It has been dry and the creek still flows pretty well here. It looks like it could handle quite a bit of water. Walking east still there are some bonfire campsites within a few minutes of Anderson Creek. The trail follows along the low banks for a good 45 minutes and then the trail turns to the north and feels like practically straight up. You are rewarded with beautiful views if you make the climb. Incredible are the sights to the south. You can see Mesick and Cadillac and beyond , all from this viewpoint. This view in the winter time is worth the snowshoe walk in. Most don't see this view. It is here for a fortunate few. The trail follows along the ridge for just about five minutes and the turns left and north into a stand of red pine. The trail is soft as it is carpeted by pine needles. Seems that the feet work better on certain trail surfaces. I pay attention to these things. That statement is always true. The trail turns east or left and drop in and out of a valley and continues along the highbanks of the river. There is a beautiful orange flower out in the woods here. I can't say
that I remember them last year. Very bright are they. On this hike was a large sandy bank high above the sharpest hairpin turn I have seen on the Manistee River. That sight alone is worth the hike in. It was cloudy this day and I can imagine what a sight it would be on a sunny winter day. At about two hours and twenty minutes into the hike I come across a bench on the right side of the trail overlooking the river. I know this bench and know that it is not far now to the High Rollaways trailhead. The trail here also follows along the highbank but the woods are mostly older, large hard woods. Lots of massive oaks. Big and strong and powerful is what they feel like here. The largest of the trees almost stand as if they are sticking out there chests. Big and proud. It is healthy here. My wife and I watched the sunrise here one year. I remember that walk. We were without children that morning. The remainder of the hike only takes eight minutes and total time for today's hike is two and a half hours. Wildlife today were many birds a doe and her fawn up close. Two canoes passed by and zero hikers were met on the trail. It was a no passing zone all the way today.