View Full Version : michigan newbie and season marine

08-14-2012, 22:53
We live in Michigan and want to do a 3 - 5 day hike. Can you suggest a good start off point for us? maybe something we can jump on a train to get to. My buddy is a marine vet and a current national guardsmen. I am a rookie when it comes to overnight hikes. I have rustic camped before, so im not worried on living 3-5 days on a minimum.

our plans are wide open right now, next spring/summer is our only set plan.

so we need a good starting point and ending point. Help me out experts.


Papa D
08-14-2012, 23:08
With all due respect, your friend being a Marine and his experiences in the Marines will not typically translate very well to AT backpacking. You can be very comfortable on the AT with a very light pack and a light impact. Marines are used to carrying very heavy loads and being uncomfortable all the time. You live in Michigan so you are planning on traveling if you are considering the AT. New England is beautiful in the late spring and summer. The trail stays pretty muddy until about May. Maybe check out the trail in NJ,NY,CT,MA,or,VT. You can go to the website: www.atdist.com to give you a rough mileage idea. You can also order maps and guidebooks from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy - the website is www.appalachiantrail.org Most new backpackers would do well to plan on traveling less than 10 miles per day - - for a 4 day trip, I'd suggest about 32-35 miles which will feel longer than you think. Look at packing lists here on WB and get some advice from local (and if possible, independent) outfitter stores. A Marine will likely try to carry a lot of stuff you don't really need and might miss a few items that make trail-folks comfortable. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun if you do a little planning. Best regards and have fun.

08-15-2012, 00:46
Bastian, VA is about an 8 hour drive from where we live.

08-15-2012, 09:19
Harpers Ferry WV has a train station within a couple of blocks from the trail. Going north into Maryland is fairly gentle and a nice section of the trail. You can either do an out and back, or arrange for a shuttle to drop you off to the north and hike back to Harpers Ferry. If you shuttle, they could take you to the Mason Dixon Line on the MD/PA border which is a not too challenging 4 day hike back to the train.

08-15-2012, 09:31
Amtrak serves Harpers Ferry (and Martinsburg, WV) from Chicago (Capitol Limited).
Southbound from HF to, say, Front Royal, VA is also an option with possible bus/shuttle opportunities back to HF/Martinsburg.
Northbound is nicer though, IMO.

08-15-2012, 20:35
If you wanted to hike a loop trail for a couple/three overnights in Michigan, you might want to look at the Manistee River Trail/North Country Trail loop that I've enjoyed hiking several times (about a 20 mile loop start to finish or so -- I just camped wherever I wanted to camp). Lots of fish seen when looking down from the suspension footbridge at the midpoint of the loop. Has a relatively easy grade compared to the AT also. I hiked this loop several times when preparing for my AT thru-hike. I'd herded a flock of ~40 turkeys one Friday evening with the Datmobile on my way to the MRT (they gave me the Magic head-fake and returned to the right side of the road while the Datmobile drove into the left side ditch and back up onto the road -- I wrote about this hike in 1999 and gave directions to get there at this link -- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/greatlakeshikes/message/2069).

Links to the MRT/NCT loop:



http://www.backpacker.com/june_1998_destinations_michigan_manistee_river_tra il/destinations/784

Also, you can hike the Jordan River Pathway in Michigan which I've enjoyed hiking many times too.



08-15-2012, 21:21
Not sure of your location but the Lakeshore Tail through Pictured Rocks, is a good begining trail for a newbie, plenty of bailout points, Drop your car @ Munnising and shuttle to Grand Marais, hike back to your car, 3-4 days. http://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm