all who wander are not lost

May 09, 2019

First Meetup Hike 20190508

Belle Isle

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.

  1. I don’t know the area
  2. There doesn’t appear to be a terminus only a loop on Belle Isle
  3. I wanted to get AWAY from traffic and people, not CLOSER
  4. 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

Red Birds

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.

Setting Out

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.

Walking down the Trail

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!

The Woods

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!

some of the Group

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 Notes

Trail: Brighton Recreation Area

Distance: 5.4 Miles

Difficulty: Easy

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.