A quick reunion weekend trip with a friend from Notre Dame. He was coming from Chicago and I from Ann Arbor. We were to meet in Grand Rapids drop a car then drive up near Traverse city for a day of Floating down the Platte River. That night we would catch up in Traverse City before heading out for a couple days of hiking on North Manitou island (reached by ferry from Leland MI).
Here is the basic itinerary as it was planned and somewhat like it turned out
Mike had to start a bit earlier than I coming from chicago so i did not head out until about 8am. We dropped my car at a Hampton Inn parking lot and made Traverse City by 1pm. I of course came prepared with my dual tube and cooler setup. Mike asked why we didn't just rent a tube instead of lugging it up there....novice.
We stopped by the rental place to sign up from them to transport us back up river once we dropped the car at the end point. It turned out we could have just hitchhiked or ran the 2 miles, but here is the company we used.
Above is our tube and the river route. It was a 2 hour float. Of course we made some mixed drinks for the ride, which entailed dumping a 5th of Vodka in 2 Nalgene bottles and dusting it with Squirt. We had to carry the tube for 5 minutes to the water but then we were off.
The water was flowing slow so I had to get out and push a couple times, which was ok as I had to use the bathroom anyway. We probably could have floated another hour but the booze was gone and that usually dictates the culmination of an event. We ended in Lake Michigan. After deflating we heading back into Traverse City for the night.
We were staying at the Holiday Inn which is the epicenter of the nightlife on weekends. It was a Thursday so things might be a little tamer. We droped bags, showered, iron some clothes and were off. We made it to a couple of bars, but the lack of food, excess of sun and libations caught up with one of us a bit too early. Below is a shot of Mike looking for something in the bottom of this trashcan. I am not sure if he found it but that was the last action of the night. Notice the sun still shinning in the background.
The next morning we were down having breakfast by 7am. I took full advantage of the buffet. Mike, not so much. We drove over to Leland for the next phase of the trip. The ferry runs over to North Manitou Island from the docks here. They made the docks a little retro-looking and call the area "Fish Town"
We had a couple hours to kill so we pretty much just sat by the dock as neither of us wanted to add alcohol to the swaying of the ferry trip after last night.
Below is a map of North Manitou Island and below that is PDF visitor's guide with another map. Our plan was to hit the island and head South from the part that says "Village Area." We would wrap around the bottom of the island and camp over on the West side at an area called "Crescent City" It was around 8 miles. The next day we would follow the trail along the north island for a little less distance and camp back at the Village to be ready for the ferry on Sunday morning.
North Manitou PDF Visitors Guide
After last night we decided 1 day hiking would be fine and were able to change our ferry to return on Saturday afternoon as oposed to Sunday morning. Here is a shot of all the hikers waiting to board the ferry. I had an idea that the island was remote and isolated. I guess not.
Our Ferry coming in to view
Packed and ready to go!
This is the scene getting off the ferry at the island. Everyone helps unload the bags in a sorta fireman ladder. Of course I was not helping.
Everyone met up at the ranger station and got briefed on the rules. No fires, no alcohol, camp 300 ft from another camper and 300 ft from the shore. By about 3pm we were on the trail
We completely missed the trail heading to the West part of the island. It was to be a shortcut for us due to the late start and the fact that we were now only spending 1 night. As we got near the southern tip we decided to camp near the Cemetery because it was supposed to be a good beach and we didn't really want to keep going.
I wanted to go swimming. So we left our crap and went down to the beach. I heard the water was cold as a kid from Ann Arbor had died the week before from hypothermia. It really was not that bad and frolicked for about 30 minutes.
After that we paced off 300 ft and set up camp and made dinner. It was about 7pm at this point so we chilled by the beach for a bit and then promptly passed out.
Around 2am I woke up. This usually happens and I struggle getting back to sleep. I had to take a piss so i used an old drink bottle. About 30 minutes later I rolled over and realized i had actually pissed all over my pants and fleece blanket. The problem here is that I had no other long sleve pants and no other blanket. I was already cold so I knew this would not go well. I climbed out and went down to the lake to stare at the stars and the lights back on the mainland. After realizing this was colder than by camp i went back up and started a fire.
I sat by the fire until morning. Catching some sleep once it warmed up and putting it out. Approximately 1 hour from 7- 8am. Here is a nice shot of the baby sleeping in his fancy tent. He never got up but I really wanted to disturb him multiple times.
We made some breakfast and hiked back to the ferry station. About 6 miles in 2 days. Quite a long hiking trip!
We walked around the shore for a couple hours waiting for a ride. It turns out that there were about 50 people on the other side of the island (Boy Scouts) so we were fortunate not to run into any and have the southern tip to ourselves.
Once we got back to the mainland it was back to Traverse city for a Saturday night. We stayed at a decent place and walked the mile into town. We learned our lesson and filled up for dinner before spending the night at the patio bar with live music.
A good trip that felt much too short. I need to get up here more often as the weather was perfect and the atmosphere is incredible. I had to put a rush on this blog because in less than a week I am back up north for 3 day kayaking trip.
Until next time,