I happened to be in South East Michigan to attend a conference and while many of my colleagues were making plans to go out to eat or get some drinks I was scouring the internet for places to walk in the woods. I thought it might be interesting to check out Belle Isle as it is supposed to be the Start / Terminus for the Iron Belle Trail but decided not to for several reasons.
- I don’t know the area
- There doesn’t appear to be a terminus only a loop on Belle Isle
- I wanted to get AWAY from traffic and people, not CLOSER
- I don’t know the area and don’t want to get murdered
Most wild areas appeared to be some distance from my conference but I noticed that there was an REI store nearby and I could jet out and stare at gear I wanted to buy for a couple of hours. I then logged into Meetup, a site I had just recently signed up to meet other hikers, climbers, adventurers. So I checked into my room, changed, and drove to the muster point in the Brighton Recreation Area
I arrived a little early and happened to see these pretty red birds. I discovered that I was parked int he wrong spot when after trudging around for a bit no one else seemed to be showing up so I rechecked the Meetup and found that I had the wrong location and was about a half mile away from where the hike was supposed to meet. I hurriedly jumped in my car and drove to the proper site and met up with the group.
I met Just Joe and we had introductions all around and our number totaled 16.
The group took off at a nice clip averaging between 3 and 3.5 miles per hour and Beth, the leader dutifully stopped at each trail crossing or long uphill to keep the group together.
I chatted with Peter who was from the area and we excitedly talked about out west adventures, he said he was going to go and spend some time in Utah in the next few months and go some of the places he hadn’t in Zion and Bryce. I asked him where he was originally from based on his accent I guessed Australia and he confirmed. Being from Australia where there is a lot of warm dry areas he would be well equipped for the west!
I chatted with Ray for a bit and we talked about his adventure in Scotland and I was really interested in The Great Outdoors Challenge that he participated in and planned on putting together a team for in the future. He also said he would be doing some hiking up north along the Manistee!
Overall it was a great way to spend a couple hours with new friends and was much better than going out to dinner and drinks because this is the sort of thing that soothes the soul!
Trail: Brighton Recreation Area
Distance: 5.4 Miles
Bugs: Could be during warmer seasons but none on this trip
Trail Conditions: No notable wet spots, I don’t remember any particular hill so there are no notable hills. No overlooks or views.
Trail Use: Hiking / Biking (short section) / Hiking Only (most of loop), Great for a walk in the woods near a metro area.
Notes: There are regular benches and trail markers. The trail is very easy to follow and we only experienced a couple of downed trees. The trail was otherwise well maintained and the majority is not open to Mountain Bikers although we did run into some on the trail. There was a broken bench at around mile 4 but all other structures seemed to be in good repair. This would be a great place to hike when you are in town and need something to do but I would not have come directly to this location had there not been a meetup group with people to meet.
Me, my dad, and Mr. Duane where on a hike that we used snowshoes. I started out in the front ,but my shins where hurting a lot but I didn’t tell them later. I soon was at the back of the group. It was a lot easer at the back than in the front because I could literally fallow in . Mr. Duane s or my dads footsteps. I got a good break of lying down because my dad was talking to Mr. Duane about something. After we took our half hike break we meet some nice people that where following us and my dad made a joke that the people where hiking after us so that they could go on already hiked on trails. We made the people go ahead of us so that they cleared the way for us to go. They left at the next road and we kept going. We came to a open area that snowmobiles drove around like crazy. We decided that we would go to the road that lead to the spot that Mr. Duane owned.
Started the day with a stack of waffles. A good warm breakfast before crosschecking our gear is always a good idea.
at 8:30 we piled into my truck and made our Way to the intersection of the NCT and cinder hill Rd.
Dad planed us to go to a part of the N.C.T trail today on the first of January. We did go but I usually attempt to sleep on the way. I actually stayed up and listened to the (to me) hilarious pod-casts that my dad plays. When we got there dad, as always told mom to take a picture of me and him. When we started out I was in front but dad wanted me in back so that if he dropped any thing I could pick it up and give it to him. We saw a turkey flying, who see turkeys fly it was me and dads first time seeing one . It was about 3.8 miles we hiked but to me it seemed forever. I was saved by the pod-casts dad played.
to Starvation Lake Rd. I spied a unique Pavement to Gravel sign that struck me as funny so I took a
Making it to sand lake Little Dude and I took a photo and he decided to make a snow angel. On the north end of Sand lake the trail follows Sand Lake Rd which is an unimproved road that has a dead end at sand lake but in the past
had gone around the lake. we . This trail is also joined by surrounding trails in two miles it travels toward Mancelona Rd. As we neared the last 100 Meters four snowmobiliers passed us and asked if we needed a ride they were nice and continued on and we hopped in the truck and headed back.