Rain was predicted to start last night and continue much of today, as we made our way from Hodenpyl Dam to Harvey Bridge. Sure enough, we woke up to rain, and then it began to POUR. Things didn’t work out too badly, though, all things considered.
Much of the heavy rain happened as we packed up our things and made the hour-long shuttle to drop all three cars. By the time we were ready to start hiking, we just faced a steady, light rain.
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Striking Out from Hodenpyl Dam
So this dam/reservoir is long and narrow, and the trail runs alongside much of it. I had hand clippers with me today, as I’ve long wanted to trim vegetation as I hiked. This would be the perfect time to do it, as the vegetation gets all droopy and heavy with water when it rains. As we trekked along, I practiced clipping as I hiked, trying not to break my stride. It’s actually a skill that takes some practice.
We didn’t get started until nearly 10 a.m., so it seemed like all too soon we were stopping for lunch. Our feet were soaked early on from stretches of trail that were underwater from all of the recent rain. Oh, and one foot broke through some rotten boardwalk – that was a first! This would have been a great day to be up on those bluffs above the Manistee River, and not on flat land along a dam. Oh, well.
Meeting Future Trail Angels
At one point, we ran into two hikers who live south of here. The man had previously hiked the PCT. I asked if there was any chance they might be able to shuttle me in a few days, and they said yes! Excellent. People are so kind.
The rain stopped around 1 p.m. and the trail moved onto the road after leaving the dam area. When we got back onto the trail, a huge area was being actively logged. As in, logging trucks were felling trees, stripping off the limbs and loading them up. The ground was muddy and full of puddles and we had to hike around on top of downed tree limbs.
After making it through there, we faced a several-mile road walk, much of it on a really busy road. The road was busy because all sorts of traffic was being diverted here due to construction elsewhere. Yuck.
Nearing the End
Our last stretch of trail was back up on the bluffs over the Manistee. Yet we still faced some issues. The path kept dipping down to cross creeks before climbing back up the bluffs. At one point, the entire trail had been turned into a river. Amy didn’t want to soak her boots, so we bushwhacked around it. In many places, the top of the bluff was very eroded and we were walking on top of a narrow ridge. I’m sure they’ll have to reroute this in the future.
Instead of primitive camping, we’d opted to book a campsite at Northern Exposure. This way, we’d have showers and not have to worry about camping in soggy vegetation. It was a good call! The campground is very nice. In fact, we booked a second night for tomorrow, since the map shows our hike will be through a lot of marshy areas which are sure to still be quite wet.
P.S. Photo is from yesterday, since the views weren’t good today.
MI NCT miles today: 16 (25.8 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 753 (1,211.8 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 1,502 (2,417.2 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 3,098 (4,985.8 km)