It is the first Wednesday after Labor day. That means a couple of things, the kids are back in school ,my wife is back driving school bus, and I am hitting the trail. With the season starting to turn to fall, I had to do some trail cleanup and blue-blaze painting. My section is along the Manistee River, near the newly closed US131 bridge. I start at the Old 131 Campground and walk a short 1 mile spur trail to get to the NCT. Today I will walk west towards Townline Rd. The spur trail follows the river closely until the train track crossing, and then works away from it for a few minutes. There is a train bridge that crosses the river here and it is quite a nice visual feature on the trail. The day is quite nice. The trail moves very well once on the NCT. There are deer here. I like hiking where there are deer because you can really almost walk within 25 to 50 feet of them, before they turn to go. I don't like intruding or feeling like I am intruding so I give ample space. Anyone who has been grunted at and stared down by a deer knows what I am saying.
The trail is mostly flat and the rivers comes in and out of sight often. There is a nice campsite overlooking the train bridge. There are a few nice streams on this stretch of the trail. Cedars surround the gulleys and valleys in which the streams run through. I stop frequently to apply fresh blazes to the trees. The NCT and the NCTA are incredible as are all the volunteers who put in countless hours to keep in so nice. Our trails here are as good as anywhere as far as up keep and pleseantness. I enjoy the trail so much, I can't say that it is working. What a way to enjoy a Wednesday.
As I walk back towards my start point, I hear faint noises like chainsaws
and heavy equipment. I soon realized it was the work crews starting to take
out the bridge on US131 and over the Manistee River. And since it was still early and I was not really feeling like I was done hiking, I walked further east on the spur trail through the campground, to an area known as the spur overlook. The spur trail ends at the spur overlook, but a short walk to the east produces views of the Manistee River Bridge and the Hiwghway US131. Today was different on US131, I was able to walk right down the middle of the road because it was closed. I was able to walk up toi the work sight and look on to all the goings on. There is a roadside park with picnic tables and bathrooms here, and I was able to enjoy them all to myself. It felt odd to have crossed US 131 on foot. I was geeked though. What a day.