Hiking and Snowshoeing
Ashford Lake Pathw.
How-to ~ Ideas
For years, decades even, hiking was something we talked about, thought about,
were interested in, but didn't very often fit into our active lives. Though if
we were to wear a pedometer around the homestead we certainly added up enough
steps to quality for a hike most any day! And we did enjoy many really nice
walks and hikes through the years, including some time spent working on the
AuTrain section of the North Country Trail. It just hadn't come regularly into our lives in a bigger way.
But that was soon to change.
Below is our hiking/snowshoeing log (generally not including walks of less than two hours), starting in December 2020 through spring of 2022. Click on the date to go to that trail's page for full description/stories, map and photos of each hike. You can also get to the individual trails via the links on the menu bar above right. We have continued hiking but are not listing each one here now. But the stories continue on the individual trail pages listed, and linked, above.
April 5, 2022 -- Back to Days River, and then on to Thompson Beach
Would there be bare ground yet? With a no-precipitation day we had to find out.
And, of course, we also had to see how the Beach was doing.
April 1 and 3, 2022 -- Still Fascinated with Thompson Beach Changes
What an ever changing landscape as winter recedes and spring makes its way on to summer.
March 29, 2022 -- First Days River Hike of the Year - plus Thompson Beach
The skiiers are gone and the hikers have emerged. It's still too early for "nice" walking but that doesn't stop those who are anxious to get out on the trails, including us.
Then a stop to walk Thompson Beach on the way home - different every time we go!
March 20, 2022 -- Around the Block - then - Thompson Beach
Sunny and above 40! Still snow so we walked around our neighborhood "block", about six miles, then headed on down to Thompson Beach to find more bare ground (or sand).
March 18, 2022 -- Full Moon Cheers!
And what better way to celebrate than a nice walk. We've had a stretch of warm above freezing days and the snow is disappearing fast. We just had to head down to Thompson Beach to check it out.
4, 2022 -- It's a Hiking Day!
February 25, 2022 -- Back to Pine Marten
With a week of stormy weather we've been making do with short walks around the homestead. But the weather calmed down and we were ready to go for a longer hike. Pine Marten is about 20 miles north of us so we knew there would be more snow but didn't know how much.
February 25, 2022 -- Flat Snow Beach
As we drove south from our snowshoe at Pine Marten Pathway towards home the sky cleared and the sun shone brightly. It was still early so we decided to go on down to Thompson and go for a walk on the beach in the sun.
February 17, 2022 -- Presque Isle
Marquette trips almost always include a
visit to Presque Isle and another wonderful new view of the cold Lake.
February 14, 2022 -- Thompson Beach
A Valentine's Day walk to see what changes
had occurred along the beach and shoreline.
February 10 & January 29, 2022 -- Fayette State Park Trails
A phone call to the Fayette State Park headed us on down for a very nice late afternoon hour and a half walk on the trails there. Two weeks ago we had gone down for their annual Lantern Lit Bluff Trail Walk.
February 8, 2022 -- Escanaba Pathway
A bit over an hour walking the nice shorter (the more cleared part) of the snowshoe trail then on around on Loop 1, no snowshoes needed.
February 8, 2022 -- Days River Nature Trail
When we had explored the small Days River Nature Trail in November we had said we'd stop back in the winter where it would be different in the snow. So that was our first stop, and it was not only a "new" trail with snow but still a delight.
February 5, 2022 -- McKeever Hills Trails
We just had to go back to see if the trail was as nice as it was last trip. And it was! Firm base, enough snow for traction, cool but not too cold.
January 28, 2022 -- Ice Mounds on Thompson Beach
Though a bit chilly (low teens) and cloudy it was calm, and after a long stretch of cold and windy weather we wanted to get out for a walk. Since we also were wondering how the beach ice at Thompson-Rogers Park was doing we went on down and walked the beach. The recent high winds had scoured the frozen beach so there were patches of bare (very hard!) sand and only maybe 4" snow most other places.
January 17, 2022 -- Return to McKeever Hills on Snowshoe
We thought we'd snowshoe Bruno's Run today. But when checking out the few spots to park off the road we saw that a plow had gone into McKeever Hills. Could it be? Steve pulled in and we found a fully plowed parking lot! Not only that -- a wide groomed pathway with ski tracks down the middle and plenty of room on either side for snowshoeing. Wonderful!
January 12, 2022 -- Pine Marten East Trailhead
We had planned a longer walk and there was still daylight so we drove up to the East Trailhead of Pine Marten to see if there was a place to park along the road to walk in from there. I'd called the Forest Service Office earlier to find that no, they would not be plowing the PM Trailheads. Sigh...
January 12, 2022 (01122022) -- Return to Ashford Lake Pathway
We wondered if the Ashford Lake Pathway had any action yet this year so decided to check it out. We had less than a foot of snow at home but there would be more as we head north. The main roads were clear which is always nice. When we arrived we found, as last year, the generous parking area plowed. A few vehicles had been in, but still no markers or signs.
January 7, 2022 -- Escanaba Pathway on Snowshoes
We had hiked on the Escanaba Pathway with bare ground, with a little snow, with more snow, and now there was snowshoe snow. Would the Snowshoe Path be more easily traversed with more snow? Would it be easier to just walk on the Ski Paths since they are mostly wide enough for snowshoeing along the edge? We decided to find out.
Hike day! A warm one amidst the cold, getting into the upper 20's in the afternoon, cloudy but little to no wind. After lunch we headed over to the nearby Indian Lake Pathway trail. Then on to the Manistique Boardwalk and a fascinating shoreline.
Snowshoes in the car, off we went to check out the Days River Snowshoe Trail and the adjacent snowmobile trail. Would the former be marked now? Would the latter be groomed yet? Either way we figured we'd find a place to snowshoe.
December 23, 2021 -- Snowshoe Hike at Pine Marten
We had planned to hike the Hardwood Loop at Pine Marten Run but a snow bank blocked that plan (no safe place to park). The West Trailhead, however, on a not-plowed section of road had less snow and with with the Subaru we could pull in far enough off the road. We would walk there instead.
December 20, 2021 -- Solstice Beach Walks
When Steve drove along the Lake on US-2 between Thompson and Manistique after the big gale storm he noticed something very different along the shoreline. We went down late afternoon today to check it out, and the Boardwalk in Manistique.
December 18, 2021 -- Picking Up Sticks at Fayette
With the storms, big melt, and gales over we figured it would be nice to head out and help clear a trail and go for a walk. Mildly cold, mid to upper 20's, not much wind, cloudy, occasional flurries -- a good walking day. Maybe down at Fayette we might even find some bare ground to walk on.
December 8, 2021 -- Checking Out the Snowshoe Trails
It was a bit chilly this morning, about zero but with clear skies and a forecast of calm and 24 degrees later. We were on our way to Trenary so we tossed in the snowshoes. The recent snowstorm had been pretty widespread across the U.P. so snow and snowshoeing was pretty much assured, starting from our front door. A good day to check out some of the trails.
December 3, 2021 -- the North Country Trail at the Forestville Trailhead
A day similar to our Seney walk Monday (mostly cloudy, mild wind, about 32 deg.) found us in Marquette and ready to stretch our legs after the 2 hr drive. We took care of our other commitments and headed out into the confusing pattern of trails and roads among which was to be found the Forestville Trailhead to walk another section of the NCT.
November 29, 2021 -- Seney National Wildlife Refuge
A few days ago I ran across a mention of Cross Country Ski Trails at Seney Wildlife Refuge. Seney? Sure enough, they have made trails around and through the small area of upland ridges on the Refuge -- the Northern Hardwoods Hiking/Cross Country Ski trails. This was something that required looking into.
November 24, 2021 -- the Days River Nature Trail
Since it was only mid afternoon when we left the Escanaba Pathway we decided this might be the day to check out the small Days River Nature Trail on the way home. We'd passed it by many times because of wet ground but we expected it might be dry enough now.
November 24, 2021 -- Checking for Trail Markers on the Escanaba Pathway
An appointment in Gladstone today meant a good excuse to head on over to the Escanaba Pathway to see if they had put up any more trail markers. It was 45 degrees, hazily sunny, a bit windy but no precipitation -- we just had to go for a walk somewhere.
November 19, 2021 -- Days River Loop 5 Beckons
It was cool, not yet above freezing, but the forecast was for low 30's, with light wind, and dry -- a day made for hiking. Since it was still firearm deer hunting season we figured Days River Pathway would be one of the safer places to walk in the woods.
November 10, 2021 -- McKeever Hills
No casual sauntering here! Surrounded by lakes and woods and hills and valleys, and the popular Bruno's Run Trail, resides this amazing "for advanced skiiers only" trail. Whahoo!!! Be prepared. We'll for sure go back again.
November 7, 2021 -- AuTrain Beach / Valley Spur
Too cold for bare feet beach walking in the water but it was a pleasing hike on the sand at AuTrain Beach. Then we headed on over to Valley Spur to walk some trail in this beautiful woods as the trees continued their change over to bare branches. It was our 'new' Subaru Impreza's first road trip! It did great.
November 1, 2021 -- Rapid River Ski Trail
The significant ups and downs of the Rapid River Trail was a perfect match to the significant ups and downs of November weather. A perfect start to the month revisiting these fun trails in a much dryer season than our last visit.
October 29, 2021 -- NCT - Noquemanon Marquette North Trails
This is a wonderful and popular trail system with wonderfully varied
terrain. This trip had far fewer mosquitoes and black flies (hurray!!)
than our last hike here, so we went on a bit farther.
October 21, 2021 -- Escanaba Pathway
Since we'd had a fairly dry season we decided to give the west end of
the trail a second chance, and found some happy surprises.
October 1, 2021 -- AuTrain Beach
This is a walk we did many times this summer; one of our favorite places. On this warm October day we went up for possibly the last bare foot beach and water walk for the year, soaking up this special patch of Lake Superior.
May 5, 2021 -- Bruno's Run Full Circle
We knew we wanted to walk the entire Bruno's Run Trail, about 11 miles, and wanted it warm enough to be able to enjoy our breaks. But also before "they" arrived. No doubts about it, today was the day. Low 40's, brisk cold north wind, mostly sunny. Perfect.
April 25, 2021 -- Walking the Skating Loops at Rapid River Ski Trail
With a stretch of rain/snow/sleet days forecast today was the last day to get in a hike before those indoor days started. When we'd been on the Rapid River Ski Trail in December it had been well wooded with wind-blocking conifers, just right for this north-wind day.
April 16, 2021 -- Days River
After more than a week without a long walk we were ready to hit the trails. And since today was expected to be in the mid 40's, almost partly sunny, no rain, and less than gale force winds it was a day for a hike, though there was a bit of a brisk north wind to contend with.
April 6, 2021 -- Little Presque Isle
A coming rainy spell meant get in one more hike before. It was foggy, mid 40's cool, and there was mention of wind and scattered showers but this was our day to go to Marquette and walk the awesome Little Presque Isle trail along the Lake, starting farther north at the parking lot near the Point and the Isle.
April 5, 2021 -- Re-visiting Indian Lake Pathway
When we walked the local snowmobile trail Saturday we passed by two spots where the Indian Lake Pathway trail crosses, a reminder that we wanted to walk that trail now that the snow was gone, and before mosquito season, since we had guessed that the lower Loop area might be wet. Today we had to go into Manistique so we stopped on our way home to walk the now bare trail.
April 3, 2021 -- A Long Walk North-Northeast
Warm weather - light south wind - sunshine, the odd weather pattern continues. We enjoyed working on the homestead yesterday and this day we decided to enjoy a long hike. Not inclined to drive anywhere we walked out our front door north, then east along the local snowmobile trail, now ORV two-track. We were on our way by 10:30 and it was already warm in the low 40's.
March 25, 2021 -- Bare Ground at Days River!
What a difference a few weeks can make. We had stopped by Days River a a week ago on our way home from Escanaba to find the trail melting but still pretty muddy and quite a bit of ice and packed snow. Today we were in the mood for a longer hike and were pretty sure Days River paths would be clear. And they were!
March 23, 2021 -- Town Hikes Can be Nice, too - and Finding Little Gems
Last week we walked for a couple of hours around Escanaba with hiking friends, enjoying spending time together and walking their home paths, talking about hikes past and those to come. One doesn't need to be on a woods trail to enjoy a hike. On our way home we added to the day by heading down Stonington Peninsula to check out the Bayshore Trail along Little Bay de Noc.
March 19, 2021 -- Going South - to Fayette
Going south to avoid the snow is a normal part of life for many in the U.P. so we decided to give it a try. Our snow is melting (very fast this year) but the packed paths are still pretty much covered with hard to walk slush, ice, or packed snow. So we headed south (about 26 miles) to Fayette State Park on the Garden Peninsula. We were pretty sure the snow would be gone there and (for the most part) it was.
March 13, 2021 -- Around the Country Block, plus
It was a great forecast - sunny, high of 52 degrees. Wow! We'd walk the block, maybe take a lunch, go a little farther to find a spot to sit and bask in the sun. The roads would be clear of snow, maybe a bit muddy in spots but it should be good walking.
March 9, 2021 -- Revisiting the North Country Trail
A snowbank had been plowed up blocking the NCT trail entrance across the road from Valley Spur. But there was a clear fresh NCT marker visible beyond and we knew the trail was there, or at least had been. It had been ten or fifteen years since we'd been on that trail. We clumsily (in snowshoes) climbed up and over the bank and began our re-acquaintance with this great trail section.
March 9, 2021 -- Valley Spur's Snowman Snowshoe Trail
On a trip to Marquette we tossed in our snowshoes in case we might be able to get a walk in somewhere. We knew they'd still have snow up north. We could have just walked in town but decided to stop at Valley Spur on our way home and take a quick walk on whatever version of little snowshoe trail they had. There was indeed the common short Bunny Loop but to our surprise also a longer 2.6 mile long snowshoes-only Loop.
Since we we'd had a good work-out with yesterday's hike this was a no-hike day. But it was so beautiful out, clear blue, sunny, almost warm and Days River was right on our way home from a trip to Esky. We'd just stop and see how the trails looked. And maybe a quick loop around the snowshoe path would be nice to stretch our legs.
March 3, 2021 -- Checking Out Bruno's Run
The forecast was for partly cloudy (which we read as Partly Sunny), low 30's and light wind. The trails would be well frozen. Should be easy to walk. We decided to head north and walk another piece of Bruno's Run.
February 27, 2021 -- ManyTracks - Hint of Spring
Not everyone can get excited about muddy roads but this was a beautiful sight to us. Clear blue sky, above freezing temperature, and roads clear of snow -- so we went for another walk around the neighborhood block.
February 25, 2021 -- A New Trail - Ashford Lake Pathway
A little known, little used, old DNR Pathway that was only 30 miles from home - we had to check this one out. So next trip to Manistique we took along snowshoes and packs and headed north of town to see if this unknown trail was worth exploring.
February 17, 2021 -- ManyTracks - Checking Out the Neighborhood
Upper teens, clear blue skies, light south-sw wind -- a beautiful day. After a few weeks of February-cold temperatures and colder wind chills this forecast sounded downright balmy. A walk was in order.
February 11, 2021 -- ManyTracks - First Longer Snowshoe Hike of the Season
Though it was only an hour and a half I figure it rates as a 3 hour hike since it was plenty long on snowshoes this early in the season (I know, it's mid February, full into winter, but since our first real snow only came last week it is early for those snowshoeing muscles). Besides, we did take hot drink and snacks, so it was a hike.
Since this was possibly the last chance for awhile to walk the trails without snowshoes (depending on what really happens with the forecasted storm) we, of course, took advantage of the beautiful sunny calm 28-32 degree day to hike. Having spent 3 hrs at the Escanaba Pathway we didn't have a lot of time left in the day but we wanted to take at least a short hike at Days River on the way home.
February 1, 2021 -- Starting February with the Indian Lake Ski Trail
Only 8 miles from home is a nice little 4.5 mile hiking/biking/skiing DNR trail - the Indian Lake Pathway. Since it was a beautiful, upper 20's, calm wind, partly cloudy day, and we had need to go into Manistique, we decided to look into this trail on our way home.
January 29, 2021 -- Clear Blue Sky and Beautiful Sunshine -- Revisiting SnoMo2
True 100% sun this time, right from the get-go. What a boost. Of course, we had to go hiking. It was a bit cool at 15 degrees when we left home but it was heading up and was in the low 20's for the hike, with hardly any wind. What a beautiful day! ... ... A little more than 3 hours later, as the sun was dropping behind the trees and it was cooling off, we were back at the car.
January 23, 2021 -- Sunshine and a New Trail Section - Rapid River Snowmobile2
With the promise of sunshine and calm winds we decided to head out for a hike this afternoon. Very little new snow in the south-central U.P. which meant the snowmobile trails would still be OK to walk. It was a bit cool in the low 20's but we had plenty of layers ... ... We felt good after a very nice three hours on the trail.
January 13, 2021 -- Sunshine! Clear Skies! -- Bruno's Run 2
We awoke this morning to a rare day -- stars in the sky turning into clear dawn and the sun coming up into a beautiful cloudless blue. ... So we chose our destination and after an early lunch headed north to Bruno's Run to hike the south-west part of that trail, starting at Widewaters.
January 10, 2021 -- Back to Days River and SnoMo2
This time we knew where we were headed -- the short Days River Pathway hike/snowshoe trail to the ORV/ snowmobile2 trail where we turned south instead of north over the bridge as we'd done last week. Another mild cloudy day, no new snow, calm, about 32 degrees - like a film strip stuck in rewind/replay, same weather we'd been having for quite some time now.
January 9, 2021 -- Is it a Hike or a Walk -- Days River Pathway
January 9, 2021 -- Is it a Hike or a Walk -- Snowmobile Trail #2
The new year begins, and the hiking continues. No new snow so we're still in boots, enjoying still walking on almost bare ground. ... we decided to check out the Days River Pathway Snowshoe Track. ... ... But to our surprise, halfway around the hiking/snowshoe trail, it crossed an ORV/snowmobile trail (SnoMo2) at the bridge. A wide, snow-covered, groomed, trail! A delightful place to walk.
Hiking - What a great way to keep fit
and see the world. January 2021
The first of the longer days made a good reason to celebrate - with a hike! And the Days River Pathway seemed an appropriate destination. I know we'll continue to have beautiful days but today was likely the last of this warm dry stretch and, depending on whether or not there is any real snow accumulation with the forecasted storm, may be the end of walking on the ski trails.
With light snow cover, light wind, the promise of longer days to come -- we simply had to start our Solstice celebration with a hike. We started out with the sun shining through the hardwoods, though clouds took over the sky as we went along, but the temperature stayed plus or minus 32, with little wind down in the woods. This is a wonderful single track...
December 18, 2020 -- A Day Off ... to Marquette and Presque Isle
Today was a "day off" from hiking. Instead we headed up to Marquette to go shoe shopping, something becoming increasingly needed since both of us had hiking shoes with "issues". ... We got lunch, went out to our favorite and usual spot at Presque Isle Park to eat, watch the choppy waves on the Lake as the wind picked up. ... around to the other side, added a few layers, and walked along the black rock area and up into the woods. ...
December 17, 2020 -- Still No Snow - Checking out the Escanaba NMV Trail
We had to go to Escanaba and we'd have time for a short hike. So we decided to check out the nearby Escanaba Recreational Non-motorized Pathway ... They say it is for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter; and hiking, biking, running in the summer. With a couple feet of snow I'm sure it will be a nice cross country ski trail. But the hiking, biking, running is a bit overstated, at least at the south-east section... ...
December 15, 2020 -- A New Day, A New Trail at Rapid River
It just keeps happening - another good day to go for a hike. A little colder than the last one but not too much, 23 to begin with and calm, partly sunny (hurray!) and it warmed up a few degrees later on. No new snow. Might as well check out another ski trail. This time the Rapid River National Cross Country Ski Trail. We don't know what makes it national but we know it's very popular with skiing friends. And we found it to be yet another great hiking destination, about 40 miles from home.
December 13, 2020 -- Pine Marten Run
About 20 miles north of us is a Forest Service recreation area called Pine Marten Run. It's mostly a horse trail system with multiple loops through pine and hardwood forests. With several camping areas it's very popular and well used in the no-snow season by the equestrian crowd. However, horse season ends Nov. 30 and with this year's extended hiking season we decided to check out these trails.
December 4, 2020 -- Enjoying Bare Ground at Days River Pathway
We continue to have dry and relatively mild weather. No snow on the ground and outdoor chores done (at least those that don't require warmer temperatures) so ...we checked out the smaller DNR Days River Pathway, north of Gladstone-Rapid River. A very nice park - it was easily navigatable whether skiing, biking, or walking, and they welcome all three. ...
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© Susan Robishaw and Stephen Schmeck
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