Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kitchel-Lindquist / Harold Hartger Dunes Preserve

Connie and Gerald Lindquist, Harold Hartger, and Marjorie Hendricks made it possible for us to take a walk through this 112 acre dunes preserve.

The Connie Lindquist Trail and Marjorie Hendricks Trail are both interpretive trails. There is a box at the trailhead with the brochures but it is typically empty. The city of Ferrysburg was kind enough to email me the brochures which I have posted here.

Connie Lindquist and Marjorie Hendricks Brochure
Marjorie Hendricks Brochure

I was also told next year they will do a better job of having the boxes full as well as create a trail map for the Harold Hartger Trail.

There is a parking lot on Berwyck St. Map

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Killarney Provincial Park

If you're looking for a challenging and remote trip, Killarney Provincial Park's La Silhouette Trail Loop in Ontario, Canada is the hike to do! This is a very scenic area with many lakes and a number of excellent lookouts on the mountain peaks.

For the most part we would not see anybody except for a couple of locations where day hikers can make it in and the canoers/kayakers on the lakes. We went counter clockwise and crossed a couple of hikers each day going in the opposite direction as us. Clockwise is the normal direction for most, leaving the most difficult days for when your pack is the lightest.

The Friends of Killarney are very helpful and will help you plan your trip.  When you are ready to book you can call Ontario Parks and reserve your backcountry sites. This is a tough hike, make sure to plan the mileage according to your ability. They say you should plan at least 6 nights, but there are people who have done it in 2-3. I don't recommend it unless you and your group are in excellent shape.  ;)

Ontario Parks Website
Friends of Killarney

Book with Ontario Parks Reservations:
Trip Planner with Friends of Killarney:
705-287-2800 (careful with this number, you may get extra charges on your bill since it is international)

I highly suggest purchasing the waterproof Map and La Silhouette Trail Guide Book. The book describes the campsites, wildlife, trail, and also provides a nice mileage map. Unfortunately there is not a lot of information online on the La Silhouette Trail making purchasing these items a must.

Make sure to purchase these early.  It took a couple of weeks for these to travel snail mail to Michigan from Canada. You will also want to make sure to plan your trip early! The campsites are not shared which is very nice for solitude and privacy, but its first come first serve when making reservations. We did not do this and ended up doing the trip counter clockwise in order to book some campsites.

The terrain is very rugged so make sure to have sturdy comfortable hiking boots.  We saw a guy wearing his camp sandals because both of the soles of his hiking boots blew out!  I should have taken a picture, it was kind of awesome. I suggest a hiking pole as well.

View Killarney in a larger map

VanRaalte Farm

Take a stroll through VanRaalte Farm in Holland, MI.
There are 160 acres of meadows, forest, ponds, and streams.
It is accessible from both 16th street and 24th street.
This farm is also open in the winter for cross country skiing AND they have a sled hill.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Early Spring Flowers

The first warm days of spring are upon us.  :)
Get out and get hiking, and keep your eyes peeled for April Michigan Wildflowers.

Top: Bloodwoot, Dutchman's Breeches, Hepatica, Jack-in-the-pulpit
Bottom: Marsh Marigold, Spring Beauty, Wild Garlic, Skunk Cabbage

DNR Michigan Wildflower Viewing Sites Guide

Michigan Wildflower Photo Contest Muskegon, MI

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sleeping System

So I hear you're in the market for a sleeping bag?
Some questions you will have to ask yourself:
  • What is my budget? (Buy the best you can afford, or you will probably be upgrading in the future)
  • What is the weather like? (Bags have temperature ranges for different seasons. We have a summer and a spring/fall sleeping bag)
  • What kind of camping am I doing, backcountry? (If so, you'll want to keep weight in consideration and go as light as possible)

Down vs. Synthetic Guide
Down Pros: Warmer, retains shape and can last forever, lightweight, highly compressible, moisture wicking
Down Cons: Loses insulation value when wet, requires special cleaning, costly, potential allergens
Synthetic Pros: Dries quickly, provides insulation when wet, easy to care for, less expensive, hypoallergenic
Synthetic Cons: Bulky, heavier than down, breaks down over time.

Popular Brands: MarmotBig AgnesMountain HardwareThe North Face, Western Mountaineering

Sleeping bags come with a right or left zipper. If you travel with a companion and want to zip the sleeping bags together, you'll want to get one of each. Also think about what side the zipper on your tent is on and have your sleeping bag open in that direction for convenience.

Sleeping Pad: We carry a Therm-a-Rest to sleep on, we're also a fan of the compact seating system that turns your sleeping pad into a camp chair. You will want to consider the questions at the top. If you are backpacking you'll want something lighter, if you are camping in colder weather you will want something with more R-value, get something that fits your needs and comfort level.

Pillow: Most minimalist backpackers will try not to carry anything they don't need. Some stuff their clothes into a pillow case for a pillow, but I like to travel with a small thermarest pillow. I have to be honest though, it can be cumbersome to pack.

Liner: A liner will keep your body oils and dirt from getting on the bag. The liner can be machine washed very easy compared to the bag itself.  It also adds a little bit of warmth. Most backpacking bags simply have nylon inside which is sticky to the skin, a liner is usually made of a more comfortable polyester or fleece. I have used the Cocoon. Disclaimer, if you toss and turn in your bag, you’re apt to have the liner twisted around you tighter than a pair of briefs by morning.

Care: Be sure to air it out after each use. Sweat and condensation get in the bag when you sleep. Even if it feels dry to the touch, it will be moist enough inside. You don’t want it smelling or degrading the insulation over time. Give it a couple hours hanging in the breeze to let it air out when you get home.

Storage: When storing your sleeping bag and pad, NEVER leave them compressed and crunched down, most sleeping bags will come with a large mesh storage bag and a small stuff sack with compression straps for carrying. Make sure to fluff everything up and put it in the large bag for storage.

LOL, or you can just get these:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Manistee River Trail

I have spring fever and backpacking has been on my mind. One of my favorite hikes is the Manistee River Trail. The scenery is beautiful, the camping spots are great and the distance is up to you. You can choose to do a 20 mile loop by adding in the North Country Trail (NCT), or just hike in so many miles and camp for a night or two, and hike back out.

Information and Directions to the Trailheads
Printable Trail Map
NCT Map MI-05
DNR Site

The NCT side of the loop has its ups and downs. There is no water access on the NCT and it is physically challenging, but you will have a sense of accomplishment, solidarity, and a great workout.

On the NCT side, there are 15 miles of new trail north of the Hodenpyl Dam! This trail is on my list of places to hike for 2011. Maps and information can be found here:

Friday, February 25, 2011