I left Cleveland around 4pm on Wednesday, 14 August. I stopped to visit family along the way before getting back on the road at 11pm. Driving overnight is very easy given that there really is no traffic. The drive up was fine and I arrived at the Cabin at about 4:30 am.
As has become standard, the Cabin was in pretty good shape despite not having been used for about 10 months. There was again the usual pile of stuff near the center stanchion, but it seemed smaller than in recent years. Getting the gas on, refrigerator fired up, plastic removed, and my stuff moved in did not take much time. After the customary shot of Krupnik I was ready for a little sleep.
I finished opening the Cabin after getting some rest. There was a small downed tree overhanging the driveway. Not enough to stop me from driving in, so I waited to clear it until the morning. I also fixed another gas leak outside the new kitchen wall. It must have been there since the new wall was put in. A quick look around showed that the culvert near the Cabin is eroding, as expected. It is not a problem, yet, but it is working its way into the road. Also quite near there I found the easiest rail road spike ever. It was sitting in the middle of road right near the driveway entrance. It is the only one I found on the trip. The grass was rather high, as compared to recent years, so some cutting was done. The mosquitoes also were more abundant than recent years.
I was rather tired and slept a lot. Further, it was warm most days limiting the amount of time I wanted to working very hard. One task I did undertake was digging a new fire pit and beginning covering the old one. The new fire pit is moved back further from where we drive in and closer to the creek. It should be more convenient.
The new fire pit was necessary since the oven was out of service, thus I planned on cooking over the fire for a few meals. The first was a sausage and vegetable foil pack dinner. This worked extremely well: just wrap up the food in foil, bury it in the coals, wait about 45 minutes, and enjoy. The left overs were great with eggs for breakfast.
Due to the mosquitoes I also set up the screened in canopy in front of the Cabin where the should be a screened in porch .... It was quite pleasant, particularly given the heat of the days. The canopy got a lot use on the trip.
Despite the heat I hiked the "big loop", past the Lucky Buck and back around across Harvey Creek. It is a hike I have done before and there was nothing extraordinary about it.
I again tried cooking over the fire, this time some pita bread pizzas. I made a make shift pizza oven using a grill and the cover from the Weber. It was a rather poor attempt. In this case the top took too long to cook and the bottoms got burned. Though edible, I would not call it a success.
Of more success was the baked apple. This was an apple stuffed with brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon, then wrapped in aluminum foil and buried in the coals for about 10-15 minutes. This came out quite good.
This was a rainy day. It rained for much of the day, precluding too much activity. It unfortunately did not lower the temperature too much. Most of the day was spent in the canopy, reading, protected from both the rain and bugs. Just like a screened in porch would do, but without the convenience of being able to go back into the Cabin without stepping into the rain ....
Despite the continued heat and rain the previous day, I decided to do a cross country hike through the wet grass. I headed north from the Cabin following the creek. I made it to the Loop and followed it to the old beaver dam. The dam has been disappearing year after year. It is now almost completely gone/hidden. The pond it had created it much smaller and crossing the creek is getting harder and harder since there is so little structure left to walk on. I kept along to the north up to the Sucker river. I did not find a good crossing place and the heat was annoying so I headed back to the Cabin.
I decided to try pizza on the fire again. To avoid the bottom burning I modified the "oven" by putting foil on the grill. Unfortunately, this time the coals were not as hot. This means the bottom did not burn, but it also means it took a long time to cook the pizza. This was not a pizza oven! But the pizzas did come out fine. I cannot say the same for the apple. Since the coals were not hot enough, it did not melt the filling sufficiently. So, again, it was a partial success.
Despite the warm weather, I finally decided to go for a longer hike. I took the fork of 443 off McCloud Grade walking part of the "big loop" in the reverse direction than I usually take. I took a side trip to Camp Delton. I found it interesting that they have "Radisson Riders" sign from Kalamazoo hanging on the side. It is also in a very nice location overlooking Harvey creek.
The hike was mostly over known trails. I did encounter a small deer. Though it is far too common to see herds of deer in the city, it is quite rare in the woods where they are hunted. This one was clearly young since it let me get too close to it, pull out a camera, and take pictures of it. Even when it ran into the woods it did not go very far and I could still see it from the road. In the end it was about a 9.5 mile hike.
It finally cooled down enough to take a decent hike. I decided to take the road north of the Sucker river, then head north from there. I had only ever been on this road by starting north from the Cabin and crossing the rivers in between. This time I hiked up to the surprisingly out of place bridge on Old Seney and following the road from its beginning. I hiked past a cabin along this road up to the campsite over looking the Sucker river. From here I headed north to another road that I have partially hiked. This road ends abruptly so I again cut through the woods heading north.
From here I made it up to Whitewash road which I had not hiked before. There are many different types of forests you walk through to get there. One part was clearly planted intentionally since all the trees were nicely lined up in rows. I am not sure if it had the desired effect. All these trees were rather thin and quite a few have blown down over the years.
I hiked along Whitewash road which clearly gets a fair bit of traffic, though I saw no one. I did see signs of a bear that had also walked on the road. There were some interesting sites, including a loop in the road with a maintained stairway leading down to the Sucker river and a foot path at the bottom. I did not follow the path, unfortunately. There was also a place where people come and build fires, as was quite evident from the trash they left behind.
I ended up walking around the Airport to the north, past the turn off for the rifle range, then back along Old Seney. Again crossing the out of place bridge before getting back to the Cabin. This was a comfortable 13 mile hike over at least some trails I had not traversed before. To the north of the Cabin there are surprisingly few trails, unlike to the south where there is an intricate network.
All good things must come to an end. Of course it was another cooler day, but I had to head back. After closing up the Cabin I got on the road around 12:30pm. Again I stopped briefly on the way to visit family, breaking up the driving before getting back to Cleveland.
As always it was a great trip. Despite being a week, it felt too short. Of course I never went into town. Of course I slept every night in my hammock and spent most of my time outside, often in the canopy when at the Cabin. In reusable jugs I had brought up 10 gallons of nonpotable water for cleaning and 6 gallons of potable water. This was more than enough for the entire trip so I never even tried to use the pump and thus do not know the state of the well. It is something that still needs to be looked into.
Also as always, there were mice around but they did not cause too much trouble. When I left paper towels in the kitchen they would chew on them, and once when I left water in the bin in the sink one unpleasantly failed at swimming over night. Of more interest was a red squirrel that came in one day and I saw hanging around outside after that. Perhaps all the inhabitants are not just mice....
Finally, as always, I am looking forward to the next trip up.