View Full Version : 140 mile hike though the Manistee National Forest

07-31-2011, 15:26
Well the days are going by faster as I near the start of my 140 mile section hike of the NCT through the Manistee National Forest (LP Michigan). I leave Tuesday for my grandparents house and will layover there until Saturday morning when they drop my off at my starting point. Nearly one year ago to the date (Tuesday, coincidentally) I had left my grandparents house heading north for Pictured Rocks National Lake. Wanting to take the more "scenic" drive through Michigan me and my friend decided to take M-37 up to Traverse City and then 31 to the bridge. Less than 2 hours on the road we passed a sign saying Hodenpyl Dam Rd. Out of pure curiosity and a drive to make as many side trips on our road trip we drove down to see the dam. Driving down Hodenpyl Dam Rd. I kept on seeing blue marks on the trees, and thinking that they were marked to be cut down or something I didn't think much of them. That was until I saw a little sign that said So And So trail. This time thinking that it was a short state park trail it never entered my mind again.

When we finally made it to Pictured Rocks we found our way to the information center and bought our map. I barely even took note of the North Country Trail emblem on it as it was the first time I've heard of it (it never really showed up in our research). On our first day of hiking I saw what turned out to be the only NCT emblem that I noticed and took a picture of it. On the way back from Picture rocks, and only a couple miles from my Grandparents house, we passed a little clearing in the woods that turned out to be a trail head, and a sign that said North Country Trail! Wow, I thought to myself, could this really be the same trail that I was on some couple hundred miles north? As soon as we got back to my grandparents house I jumped on Google and was amazed that I could have walked from Pictured Rocks to my grandparents house and wondered how I have spent nearly half of every summer of my life at their house and I never knew of a 4000+ miles trail that was literally a few miles from their front door.

Fast forward to today and I am now sitting with with two NCT maps that cover the entire Manistee National Forest section of the trail, getting ready to venture out once again on the NCT. I like the fact that a year ago I had never heard of the NCT and today I can look at the trail map and see my grandparents house on it. Makes my story up above even cooler to me. I will be hiking for what will amount to 7.5 days and roughly 143.1 miles of trail. Early Saturday morning I will be driven 2 hours north on M-37 to the southern terminous of the Manistee River Trail where it meets the NCT. From there I will hike north on the NCT until I reach the Hodenpyl Dam (less than a week ago to the day when I walked across it one year ago), then turn east on the connector trail to the MRT, then start heading south for the next 130 miles. The NCT trail follows a ridge line (not sure how much of a ridge line it really is) along the west side of the Manistee river, and the Manistee River Trail follows along the east side, creating a nice 20+ mile loop hike. At the end of the MRT I will get back onto the NCT the same place I started one day prior, but this time turning south for the next 120 miles. I will end my hike at the 40th street trail head and will walk the 4 or so miles to my grandparents house, triumphantly jumping into the lake their house is on.

I will be posting on trailjournals and have already opened an account under the name "highline". My post up above will serve as my sort of "intro" entry and over the next week or so until the start of my hike I will post more entries about planning, gear, go into more detail about the hike, etc.

07-31-2011, 23:24
Enjoy your hike, hope that you enjoyed the Lake Shore Trail at Pictured Rocks last year.