January 02, 2016
January 1 / Day 1 Hike 100
Brewed and stowed 32oz coffee in my handy Nalgine bottle and once we loaded up we headed to the Mancelona Rd Trail head. We waited a bit and found it looked like it would be a solo hike. Drove down
to Starvation Lake Rd. I spied a unique Pavement to Gravel sign that struck me as funny so I took a
We arrived at the trail/road crossing, strapped on our packs and struck out after we snapped a quick picture.
We left out snowshoes behind, the snow wasn’t deep enough for them to be made of much use and would be more of a hindrance than advantage. The Trail ran along through rows of old CCC forest. The trees towered majestically above us as they lined up standing at attention.
After traveling for just a short while we scared a flock of turkeys who being unable to cope with the 4 to 6 inches of snow took flight. Although I know turkey’s have the ability to fly I had never actually seen turkeys fly. It was both amazing and comical like giant feathered bowling balls floating upward.
The lined forest gave way to trees ordered by nature, where seeds fall or sky opens until we crossed an unnamed road perpendicular to Sand Lake rd. Across this unimproved road the forest had been clear cut and other than a carsonite marking the trail / road crossing. Crossing the road the trail was hidden by the snow and impossible to see in the criss-crossing limbs left behind by the logging operation that had laid waste to the area. I spied a sea green blaze that was followed by another. I checked our location and the map and these off color blazes were moving in the correct direction so we decided to follow them till they ran out and then make a decision. After trudging a bit we did finally see a blue blaze, not boundary blue, looked more like royal or ford blue but it was blue and a more defined trail.
The trail wound through a younger forest with a mix of trees and with fresh snow
deadening our footfalls it was very quiet. On occasion the whine of a snow-machine would pierce the cloak of silence enveloping us. Crossing a small meadow I heard something familiar but foreign. At first I thought it was turkeys and I stopped and asked little dude to listen with me. It was over head behind us we looked and he saw a flock of geese. Finally heading south for the winter, a really big flock.
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
Click for video
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.
Wanderlust: 5.1 Miles
Daydreaming: 3 Hours 22 Minutes
Fauna: Turkeys, Geese, Homo Sapiens on Snomobiles
Coffee: 23 OZ
NCT 2016 Miles Hiked: 5.1