Saturday, July 25, 2009

NCT MI-05 19 mile Rd. to M-37

Today's forecast called for rain. I had to work only half a day and that meant one thing.... I was hitting the trail as soon as possible. It was nice and sunny, not to hot and not very wet. It didn't rain at all. Just another reason to never change plans because of rain in the forecast. I found the best thing to do when it's raining is to just let it rain. It has been about a week since being on the trail and I start to get ancy. My wife would probably agree with that statement. Today I would be hiking with my oldest boy Brandon. He hikes well. He is a "point me in the right direction" and he is gone, type of hiker. We hike well together because we keep the same pace. We are able to take breaks at the same time also.
Today we started at the 19 Mile Rd. trailhead on the north side of the Manistee River. We were planning on hiking west to M-37 just north of Mesick. Since we would be hiking out and back I really didn't know how close to M-37 we would get. Starting out on a highbank, the trail heads west and within 5 minutes it takes a nice climb. The surface is soft as it is made up of decomposed leaves. Within 15 minutes of starting point the there is an old concrete marker near the trail with the number 16 on it. As we get closer it has a plaque on it that reads "OLD INDIAN TRAIL CADILLAC TO TRAVERSE CITY" I will have to research that one. The trail stays along the highbank and continues west for 15 more minutes. So far the views along the trail to the south are incredible. The forest has been mostly hardwood. It is the best shade of green though. We can see for miles and miles over the river down below us. The clouds hide the sun every now and then, and shades the treetops in the distance. I record the images in my mind. These features are what make the hike so interesting to me. I will always be able to recall that view. I can't wait to see what is around the next bend. I walk down the trail wide eyed. In the distance there is a couple of tents set up on the edge of the highbanks. Didn't see anyone around and really we didn't see anyone else on the trail today either. Just past the campsites the trail turns to the right and north and heads into a red pine forest. It is soft and tall. The trail weaves in and out of the straight rows for only a few minutes. It starts to turn west again but still out of sight of the river and drops down into a cedar forest. Soon we come to a road crossing. It is 17 Mile Rd. This road goes north and south and to the south of the trail 17 Mile Rd. crosses the Manistee River at Harvey Bridge. We continue west on the trail and left of trail is shadowed from the light by a dense growth of big cedars. The trail does not feel like it has much elevation change thus far. It has that very familiar smell. We have been on a single track since 17 Mile Rd. crossing. The trail has been well blazed and follows a very nice path. Hiking is so much more enjoyable when the path can be found. I can say that all the volunteers do such a great job keeping the trail perfect around here. I hope that one day more people will want to get out and see what they are missing. This here trail does wonders. It is like a poison. It is all around me. It surrounds me. It comforts me.
We continue just another 20 minutes or so and we reached 15 Mile Rd. It is here we decide to have our snacks. We find the shade of a giant maple tree and sit in the cool grass and enjoy each others company. Brandon does the talking on our hikes together and I do the listening. He talks about many interesting things, mostly history and he goes into great detail. He is good.
We decide that this is as far as we will go today. His grandma came up to visit this weekend and we will go back and spend time with her. At least today we have been able to get out for a short one anyway. Sometimes that is all it takes, just a five or six mile wander on this path that is provided for us. It is right here for us.
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