Monday, September 21, 2015

Manistee River Trail Trip: Part 1

This year, we took a mini vacation up north to the Manistee National Forrest. There is a 21 mile trail that loopes up the west side of the river on the North County Trail, crosses the river on a suspension bridge, and comes back south along the river on the Manistee River Trail. It was soooo breathtakingly beautiful! It was also our first experience living in the wild for 3 days and hiking to our destinations, getting water from the creeks and living off of nature! We had SUCH a blast and the kids all did SO great! Here is the excerpt from my journal: July 26, 2015 Today was the first day of our vacation. This year, we are taking a few days and hiking the Manistee River Trail and backwaters. It was about a 3.5 hour drive or so from St. Joe. We left at about 10 a.m., stopped for lunch (our last hurrah with civilization for a few days!) and got to the Red River Access at about 2:30 p.m. The first leg of the trail was the west side of the loop, west of the Manistee River, which is a challenging bluff walk. We hiked for four hours (with packs that weighed a LOT, mine was 25lbs) before we reached Eddington Creek .... about 8.5 miles. (The trail is about 21 miles total). It was a rough go at the end—everyone's feet, hips and backs and necks were aching. (my knees!!). And we were running out of water fast. Then we hit Eddington Creek, filled all our water bottles by filtering water out of the clear, sandy bottomed creek, and kept going for a bit across the bridge and down the trail on the other side of the creek. It quickly went into a grassy area with power lines. When we left the trail up the grassy area, we found a lovely campsite, with a fire pit and everything, up high, under pine trees, tucked out of the way. We went down to the creek to cool off, gathered firewood, and had some chicken cowboy chili. YUM! The Manistee River Trail should be less daunting tomorrow, and closer to the river, for some swimming. LOVELY DAY! ... In the evening we finished dinner, it was great! Then we washed the dishes in the creek and Nate's water filter stopped working. So we had to boil a bunch of water to refill all the water bottles, although Eddington Creek runs fast and clean and cold, with a sand bottom, so it's probably fine without filtering. Then we roasted marshmallows and the kids had me tell the "Golden Arm" ghost story (originally told by Mark Twain). I jumped at Rhy, but she didn't even squeak ... Asher, on the other hand, was terrified. Then we went to put more wood on the fire.... there was a pile that had been left behind and had been sitting there quite awhile I suppose ... and there was a little grey mouse sitting under the logs, watching us! He wouldn't move! Gabe held onto Roubi's collar, in case she saw it, and boy she sure did! Just as the mouse darted, Roubi lunged and pulled Gabe on his belly about 12 feet. It was HILARIOUS!! The mouse got away. The night was rough sleeping, as it got chillier than we expected and we only brouht three sleeping bags between us. I made usre the kids were covered, but then couldn't sleep for shivering. Luckily, Roubi sidled up and I ended up hugging her for dear life -- she was quite warm! I got up twice, during the night, and oh the stars! Toward dawn, Nate and I heard a Barred Owl... "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" Very cool! Other than that, there's been little wildlife. The boys saw some herons or loons fly across the valley (we're very high up in our campsite) and Rhylah has found two toads on the trail, which she's proud of. The mosquitoes haven't been terrible ... really great last night, but a bit worse this morning. Lots of sunshine this morning and lots of birdsong...probably 67 degrees.

1 comment:

DawnK said...

Wow, your camera batteries lasted a long time, to take all these pictures! Or did you have extra batteries? I've never been on a trip a week long, that all we did was camp. My camping trips were only over a couple of days. Although, one of the nights of our youth group canoe trip, we had a thunderstorm while camped out on a sandbar in the middle of the Wisconsin River.