I never did write about my hiking trip in Michigan. My sister Diana and I took a two-day trip (that was all she had off from work) and went up to Mesick/Wellston, MI.
We didn't have a shuttle, so did things creatively. First, we drove up to Seaton Lake Campground and set up our tent, then 10 miles south to the Red Bridge and left our car there.
So, Day 1, we hiked on the North Country Scenic Trail, from Red Bridge to the Little Mac Suspension Bridge, the second longest suspension bridge in MI (any guesses as to the longest one?) :). We'd done this section last year at Memorial Day (except that we went up to Hodenpyl Dam instead of the Little Mac) so were familiar with it... except that I didn't remember the long climb at the beginning that left me a bit winded... probably because we walked the opposite direction last year. ;)
We left our car at 4:45ish and pulled into camp around 9, so it took us around 4.15 hours to hike 12 miles (or so... calculating mileage is difficult). We just had a basic map, but I was unsure of the last part of the hike where I didn't have a map (leading up to the Little Mac). At one point we were unsure of the trail... had seen some teal diamonds but the information I had said to follow grey markers. We ended up by the dam, I pulled out my mini compass someone had given me years ago, we followed a dirt road, and eventually found what we hoped was the path... and it did lead to the campsite!
Seaton Creek Campground was great... HUGE campsites, jack pine all over the place, and a pretty nice pit toilet. Our neighbors (the only other people in the campsite) had a generator, though, and we could see flickering lights throughout the night. Generator, really? Why did you choose a primitive campsite, then?
Day 2: headed back to the car. This time we walked the Manistee River Trail, which follows the Manistee River pretty closely. Last year we'd canoed the same section of river, so I've been up and down it four times... Diana thinks she's done it at least six. Diana's favorite phrase: "we can rest when we get to the next bench." Except this isn't a state park with benches on the trail!
This was a pretty trail... the river views were very nice, but I still prefer the hardwood growth of the NCSC to the MRT. Plus, I wasn't feeling well the second day, so it took us a long time (almost five hours) to hike the 10.5 miles. The only people we saw on the trail was a couple backpacking... and Diana thinks it's the same couple we saw the night before. :) Supposedly teh MRT had mile markers, but we only saw two.
There was one point that had a great view-- a big beech tree had fallen directly across the trail, and it was impossible to walk past it without stopping to sit. When you looked out over the river, you could see a bit of a field/peninsula, with smallish whispy trees that had fallen into the water, all the same direction, at the edge. Beyond that were hills... it looked like a smaller version of pictures I've seen of Montana.
Overall, it was a great hike! Diana is the perfect hiking companion because we have similar paces (except up hills, when I slow waaayyy down and she powers up).