Saturday, December 31, 2016

Crosswinds Marsh

I'd seen Crosswinds Marsh on the map a few times and it didn't look like much until I did some investigating and found there are several miles of really good trail there. A few weeks back I stopped in for a few minutes to grab a picture of the trail map though I didn't have time to do anything that day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A World Series for the Generations

The seemingly impossible has become possible, the Cubs are World Series champs for the first time in over a century.  For 108 years Cubs fans have been waiting for this elusive third World Series title.  Who would have thought that after winning 2 of the first 5 World Series in history that the next would have to wait for more than a century. They did, after all, make it to seven World Series in the next 37 years which is no small accomplishment. Yet, not once in those next seven tries did they win the whole thing.  Once World War II came and went and the Cubs made the Series in 1945 the real drought began as the Cubs would not even make the Series again until this year, 2016. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Jordan Valley Pathway

Jordan Valley Pathway
TH Elevation: 1332 ft.
Low Elevation: 841 ft.
Distance: 12.03 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 992 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 1:28pm
End Time 3:52pm

Trip Report:
This was one of those trails that I'd never heard, never even seen a hint of it on any map, and out of the blue I saw someone posting about it on a Trail-runners facebook group and their pictures had me hooked. Several expansive views with some growing fall colors and it looked great. Even better, I was going to be headed towards Boyne a week or so after I saw the photos and so it would all work out perfectly.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pikes Peak Marathon 2016

This story begins six years prior. It was August 3, 2010 that I was hiking Pikes Peak for the first time with my father and my very good friend Matt. We were on the Barr Trail making our ascent and found it to be such an enjoyable and inspiring trail. We were hiking on Pikes Peak after an already busy week of summitting 14ers. We had summitted Mts. Harvard & Columbia as well as the Lincoln-Bross-Democrat combination and even San Luis Peak. After such a busy week we were well acclimated and in great shape for the Barr Trail, and it showed. We pushed up the trail with few stops and were feeling great. In fact, I can still recall reaching the 16 Golden Stairs and being ready to almost jog up them. It was there I also was treated to a new sight: a number of men and women running up and down the trail, there, above 13,500 ft. I was amazed to see people able to move so well, so quickly at such an elevation. I thought I had impressed myself just being able to hike well. This was one of my first experiences with trail-running and it was quickly an eye opener. My Dad was aware of the Pikes Peak Marathon and so we talked with awe at these folks and what they were preparing for in such a few short weeks.

The notion of actually running this myself didn't come for a few more years. I would have success at the Chicago Marathon in 2014 and the North Country Trail Marathon in 2015. I would also develop a growing love of trail-running and so the idea finally came to mind. When I had finished North Country, which itself had 3000 feet of elevation change, I started to think I was wanted to try something even more. It didn't take long for my sights to head towards the Pikes Peak Marathon. With my love and experience for hiking the 14ers and my growing skills for trail-running this looked like the perfect combination.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mt. Evans from Summit Lake

Route Name: West Ridge via Mt. Spalding
Summit Lake (TH) Elevation: 12,847 ft.
Mt. Spalding Elevation: 13,842 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,264 ft.
Distance: 2.95 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1,718 ft.
Start Time: 8:45am
Summit Time: 10:35am

Trip Report:

Today was step 2 on my high altitude acclimation tour in preparation for the Pikes Peak Marathon.  Having flown out to Denver and spent my evenings in Dillon, I began my tour with La Plata Peak yesterday as a full-blown acclimation hike.  Today I wanted to look for less mileage, an easier toll on the legs, yet still high altitude time.  Mt. Evans from Summit Lake fit the bill.  Last summer I hiked Evans for the first time on an epic hike from Guanella Pass over Bierstadt and the Sawtooth.  That's the *fun* way to do Evans.  Today was the easy, almost cheating, path.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

La Plata Peak Aug 2016

Route Name: Northwest Ridge from La Plata Trailhead
Trailhead Elevation: 10,148 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,336 ft.
Distance: 9.25 mi.
Elevation Gain: 4,337 ft.
Start Time: 6:40am
Summit Time: 9:27am (35 minutes on top)
End Time: 12:06pm

Trip Report:

I'm not sure exactly what it is, but in recent years I have found myself compelled to consider La Plata with every hiking opportunity that has come along. I don't know if it is the aesthetics of the route, the convenience of its access, or what. I was on La Plata in April with my Father doing a "winter" ascent and when time came for me to head back to acclimate for the Pikes Peak Marathon La Plata flew to the top of the list of peaks to choose.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Poto Trail-run and Blind Lake Camping (Jul. '16)

This trip report combines a trail-run of the Crooked Lake and Silver Lake trails along with a backpacking hike on the trails into Blind Lake for an over night camp.  I've been on all of these trails previously and today was just more fun on some of my most favorite local trails.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Waterloo DTE Trail-run

DTE Foundation Trail
Waterloo State Recreation Area
TH Elevation: 948 ft.
High Elevation: 1001 ft.
Distance: 4.77 mi. (my FR230) (Trail is marked as 5.2mi)
Elevation Gain: 461 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 7:30pm
End Time 8:19pm

Indiana Dunes, Trail-running 8, 9, 10

This Trip Report includes details from three separate trail runs all on the same day in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore/State Park.  With a plethora of trails to choose from I think I was fortunate, after having done some research to settle in on some of the more quality trail choices available at Indiana Dunes.  I was able to hit these trails while driving home from Chicago to southeast Michigan and Indiana Dunes was right on the way.  I hadn't been there since my college days when I came camping with some friends.  It also seems I had picked a great day to come out.  The crowds were building fast upon my arrival, though I would hardly notice during my time in the Park.  While the beaches were jam packed with people the trails were sparsely populated. Yay!  When I left the park around 3pm the line of cars to get in was astounding!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Porcupine Mountains: Escarpment Trail

Escarpment Trail
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Start Elevation: 1338 ft.
Cuyahoga Peak Elevation: 1572 ft.
End Elevation: 985 ft.
Distance: 4.24 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 989 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 10:59am
End Time 2:03pm

Porcupine Mountains: Overlook Trail

Overlook Trail - Trail Run
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Start Elevation: 972 ft.
Overlook Elevation: 1506 ft.
Distance: 3.41 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 950 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 7:03am
End Time 7:54am

Monday, July 4, 2016

Porcupine Mountains: Summit Peak to Lake of the Clouds Overlook via Mirror Lake

Summit Peak Trail, South Mirror Lake Trail, North Mirror Lake Trail
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Start Elevation: 1712 ft.
Summit Peak Elevation: 1952 ft.
Lake of the Clouds foot bridge Elevation: 1053 ft.
Overlook Elevation: 1375 ft.
Distance: 6.79 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 1380 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 4:22pm
End Time 7:23pm

McLain State Park and Bear Lake Trail Run

Bear Lake
Bear Lake Trail + McLain State Park Trail Run
McLain State Park
Start Elevation: 520 ft.
High Point Elevation: 650 ft.
Distance: 5.19 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 273 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 8:19am
End Time 9:20am

Trip Report:
When I first gave a look at McLain State Park and possible trails to run I really didn't find anything at all. I did some searching around and didn't see anything nearby. I let it go until we had arrived at the park itself. Upon arriving I was looking through some of their literature and came across the Bear Lake Loop. This sounded promising. It wasn't long and I even noticed the trailhead signage which was across the road from the main entrance to McLain. With a short plan in mind to check out Bear Lake I decided to give it a go this morning before we moved on to the next park.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Isle Royale: Daisy Farm Camp to Rock Harbor

Daisy Farm Camp to Rock Harbor
Isle Royale National Park
Daisy Farm Camp Elevation: 616 ft.
Rock Harbor Elevation: 613 ft.
Distance: 7.16 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 296 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 7:37am
End Time 12:20pm

Isle Royale 4-Part Series
1. Fri, Jul. 1, Stoll Trail + Scoville Point
2. Fri, Jul. 1, Rock Harbor to Three Mile Camp via Tobin Harbor
3. Sat, Jul. 2, Three Mile Camp to Daisy Farm Camp via the Greenstone Ridge
4. Sun, Jul. 3, Daisy Farm Camp to Rock Harbor

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Isle Royale: Three Mile Camp to Daisy Farm Camp via Greenstone Ridge

Three Mile Camp to Daisy Farm Camp via Greenstone Ridge
Isle Royale National Park
Mt. Franklin Trail to Greenstone Ridge Trail to Mt. Ojibway Trail
Three Mile Camp Elevation: 612 ft.
Mt. Franklin Elevation: 1,086 ft.
Mt. Ojibway Elevation: 1,144 ft.
Daisy Farm Camp Elevation: 616 ft.
Distance: 7.17 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 1060 ft. (my FR230)
Start Time: 9:36am
Mt. Franklin Time: 11:38am (37 mins)
Mt. Ojibway Time: 1:34pm (18 mins)
End Time 2:52pm

Isle Royale 4-Part Series
1. Fri, Jul. 1, Stoll Trail + Scoville Point
2. Fri, Jul. 1, Rock Harbor to Three Mile Camp via Tobin Harbor
3. Sat, Jul. 2, Three Mile Camp to Daisy Farm Camp via the Greenstone Ridge
4. Sun, Jul. 3, Daisy Farm Camp to Rock Harbor

Friday, July 1, 2016

Isle Royale: Rock Harbor to Three Mile Camp via Tobin Harbor

Rock Harbor to Three Mile Camp via Tobin Harbor Trail
Isle Royale National Park
Rock Harbor Elevation: 613 ft.
Three Mile Camp Elevation: 612 ft.
Distance: 3.83 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 450 ft. (my FR230)
Start Time: 2:41pm
End Time: 4:52pm

Isle Royale 4-Part Series
1. Fri, Jul. 1, Stoll Trail + Scoville Point
2. Fri, Jul. 1, Rock Harbor to Three Mile Camp via Tobin Harbor
3. Sat, Jul. 2, Three Mile Camp to Daisy Farm Camp via the Greenstone Ridge
4. Sun, Jul. 3, Daisy Farm Camp to Rock Harbor

Trip Report:
After bidding fairwell to Sarah and my mother on their return trip on the Queen Royale IV, we set out for our journey to the night's camp at Three Mile camp. Our original thought was to simply take the Rock Harbor trail as that seemed the most straightforward. My Dad got talking to a nice gentleman there in the harbor who was evidently a local expert, and he recommended the Tobin Harbor trail. The distance is a bit longer, but he said it was a much easier trail. The Rock Harbor trail has a few more small ups and downs and is somewhat slower travel, or so we were told.

Isle Royale: Stoll Trail + Scoville Point

Stoll Trail + Scoville Point
Isle Royale National Park
Rock Harbor Elevation: 613 ft.
Scoville Point Elevation: 613 ft.
Distance: 4.88 mi. (my FR230)
Elevation Gain: 294 ft. (my FR230)
Start Time: 12:21pm
Scoville Point Time: 1:24pm
End Time: 1:58pm

Isle Royale 4-Part Series
1. Fri, Jul. 1, Stoll Trail + Scoville Point
2. Fri, Jul. 1, Rock Harbor to Three Mile Camp via Tobin Harbor
3. Sat, Jul. 2, Three Mile Camp to Daisy Farm Camp via the Greenstone Ridge
4. Sun, Jul. 3, Daisy Farm Camp to Rock Harbor

Trip Report:
We decided to take the Queen Royale IV as our vessel to Isle Royale largely due to scheduling. The Ranger III out of Houghton is cheaper, but it only runs on certain days and they didn't fit our itinerary. The QR IV is more expensive but runs more days and we really had a great experience with them as a largely family run business. The Queen Royale leaves Copper Harbor at 8am and is scheduled to get in about 11:30am on Isle Royale. Ours arrived about 15 minutes late. Mom and Sarah came along to daytrip along with Dad, myself and my three boys. The return ferry leaves at 2:45p, and while coupling the need to be 30 minutes early for it, plus the orientation upon arriving on the island, Sarah and Mom really had about 2 hours to work with on the island.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pictured Rocks Cruise (Jun 2016)

Miner's Castle
When creating the itinerary for our Upper Peninsula trip we knew that Pictured Rocks had to be one
of our destinations. We've seen some of the pictures, we've had family share their own stories, and so it was time for us to give it a look. As usual, I did research on various hiking trails and sites to see on the map. While this indeed looked fun and I hope to check out the trails, it was evident that taking one of the boat cruises was the real way to enjoy this National Lakeshore.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tahquamenon Falls River Trail Family Hike (There and back again...)

River Trail (There and back again...)
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Trailhead Elevation: 645 ft.
Lower to Upper Distance (including observation decks): 6.2 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Upper to Lower Distance: 5.15 mi.
Elevation Gain: 1107 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 12:12pm
Lunch Stop Time: 3:50pm
Starting Back Time: 4:23pm
End Time 6:22pm

Tahquamenon Falls River + Lower Falls Loop Trail Run

River Trail + Lower Falls Loop Trail (North Country Trail segments)
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Trailhead Elevation: 645 ft.
Distance: 6.2 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 1179 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 7:05am
End Time: 8:30pm

Trip Report:
Went for another early morning on our trip across the U.P. of Michigan. It was relatively cool this morning and so I went with a long-sleeve running shirt and shorts. On the plus side I had clear skies and the sun was on its way up. I got out of the trailer and headed for the trails just after 7am.

I had numerous possibilities of trail runs here at Tahquamenon Falls, the easiest of which would be to run a segment of the North Country Trail. Not 100 feet from our camp site was an easy trailhead for the NCT heading east. I considered this but it was heading more into the unknown at an early hour. I could drive to one of the many other trails in the State Park. I opted for the other easy choice, hop the NCT heading west through the park. This involved picking up the NCT as it worked through the campground and then through the Lower Falls area. I only ran into a small handful of people at this early hour. I snagged some fantastic pictures along the way. The NCT then becomes the River Trail which travels from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls along the Tahquamenon River.

I didn't see a single person along the River Trail at this morning hour. As I left the boardwalks and headed onto the River Trail proper I immediately hit a muddy area and a heavily rooted area. These would be early indicators of the difficulty of this trail run. It doesn't take long and the trail also heads up and over a modest hill before leveling out along the river for most of the way. There were of course the occasional ups and downs along the river including several small staircases.

It was a beautiful trail and you could always see the river and hear it with a handful of sections having rapids. It was a technical enough trail I was forced into a walk at several points. As I could tell my progress was going slowly I decided that a smart turnaround point, rather than trying to make the entire way to the Upper Falls, would be the half-way point at mile 2 on the River Trail. The last half mile to this turn-around was through some fairly thick brush. I was saying my prayers none of it was poison ivy. I was about 45 minutes in at the turn-around.

Thick brush along the trail

On my way back I made it to the boardwalks again and then quickly found the cut-off for the Lower Falls Loop Trail that runs by Hemlock Camp. This was about 1.3 miles long but it bypasses 0.4 miles of the Lower Falls area. This trail ascended a hill and ran a ridge for awhile when it then hit Hemlock. It then wound its way back down to the Lower Falls. Great signage along all the trails today and easy to follow. No real views on the Loop Trail but it was, aside from the hill climb, a relatively easy and less rocky and rooted trail to run. I was back to camp by 8:30am.

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in a KML file that you are welcome to download and use (at your own risk).

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wilderness SP Red Pine & Nebo Trail Run

Red Pine Trail + Nebo Trail (North Country Trail segments)
Wilderness State Park
Trailhead Elevation: 601 ft.
Distance: 3.94 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 73 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 6:36am
End Time: 7:22pm

Trip Report:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Highland Loops Trail Race 2016

I can't remember when I first caught word of this new race, but I am so glad that I did.  I suppose it must have been on the RunMichigan calendar as I looked for trail race opportunities that I first learned of it and immediately it looked like something worth trying.  I soon figured out this was an inaugural race and so an opportunity to join the fun on the ground floor.  

From the moment I first set eyes on the website and began to check out the course I was pleased with what I saw.  The thought of running 16 miles in the Highland Rec area, which I'd never been to, looked like a very pleasing place to be.  

As the months and then weeks rolled by towards May I certainly grew anxious to give this race a try.  Two weeks prior I was able to find an opportunity to stop by and give the trails a test run.  I ran the A-loop with the possibility of also running the B-loop.  I was amazed at the tight corners and the overall winding nature of the trail.  I ended up only running the A-loop that day but I felt at least I knew more of what I was getting into for race day.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pinckney Trail Half Marathon Race 2016

The Trail Half was one of my favorite races in 2015 and so I wasted no time in getting signed up for the 2016 version.  An added bonus was this year was the 30th anniversary of the race and so they had special wooden medals to be handed out.  While I did opt for the Half again this year I do still harbor aspirations, when my calendar allows, to still attempt the full marathon or even the 50K.  

Once again I made sure to arrive plenty early as I recalled from last year how quickly the lots began to fill up.  I left home about 5:40am or so and was at the Silver Lake lots just before 6am.  A good handful of cars were already there.  

It was about 38° outsde at the start of things, but with the sun out and no real breeze it didn’t feel too bad. By the lake it was the coolest, but after that, on the trail especially, it felt pretty decent.  Upon arrival I grabbed my race shirt and bib and then headed back to the car where I sat in the warmth listening to the radio for 20 minutes.  Plenty of other individuals were in there cars with engines and heat running.  Just before 7:30a I headed out to hit the bathroom and then get a mile or so warm-up jog in.  I headed up from the trailhead and over the two boardwalks to get close to a mile.  Also on the return jogged out to the point and back to the car.  I was able to get another 10-15 minutes at the car to change up clothes and shoes and get ready for the race.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Island Lake Yellow Loop

Island Lake Yellow Loop:
Island Lake State Recreation Area
Trailhead Elevation: 913 ft.
Distance: 5.52 mi. (my Forerunner 230)
Elevation Gain: 624 ft. (my GPS)
Start Time: 2:49pm
End Time: 3:46pm

Trip Report:

With a business conference up in Flint all morning and into the afternoon, it seemed like the perfect day to shoot for another good trail-run after the other responsibilities were finished. I had debated heading over to Brighton again where I had run last October. I was also interested in exploring Highland where I plan to run the Highland Loops 25k in a few weeks, but ultimately I decided that Island Lake would fit my needs perfectly. I was hoping if time allowed to do the full Blue Loop but that wouldn't be the case. I had about an hour to spare and the distance of the Yellow Loop suited that perfectly.

Friday, April 1, 2016

"Winter" La Plata Peak Climb

Route Name: Northwest Ridge (with winter variation) from La Plata Trailhead
Trailhead Elevation: 10,148 ft.
Summit Elevation: 14,336 ft.
Distance: 9.89 mi.
Elevation Gain: 4,191 ft.
Start Time: 5:40am
Summit Time: 11:55am (7 minutes on top)
End Time: 3:46pm

Trip Report:

Basic Technical Info
This was our sixth year of heading out to Colorado for a "winter" 14er ascent.  As with last year, we are stretching the technical definition of "winter" ascent beyond calendar winter to absolutely "winter" conditions.  Our list of easy and safe winter 14ers is starting to get thinner but La Plata has been one on my radar for years, for both summer and winter.  I still can't quite pinpoint precisely what is drawing me to this peak but I was pleased to see it this year.  The experience we had this day only confirmed my draw.  The aesthetics of the trail and the views and the summit approach made for an awesome climb.  

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Snowshoeing Hoosier Pass West

Route Name: Hoosier Pass West
Trailhead Elevation: 11,538 ft.
Summit Elevation: 12,105 ft.
Distance: 2.92 mi.
Elevation Gain: 544 ft.
Start Time: 10:00am
Saddle Time: 11:30am (5 minutes on top)
End Time: 12:09pm

Trip Report:

Every year we like to get in a snowshoeing outing to just enjoy the snow as a family at a leisurely pace.  Having done Tennessee Pass last year we opted to head back to familiar territory on Hoosier Pass.  It was around 20 degrees that morning at the pass and so we bundled up pretty warmly.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Leave the Mountain with Jesus"

Luke 9:28-36
February 7, 2016

Brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you, Amen.

Today we stand atop the mountain with Jesus. We see Him there today alongside Moses and Elijah, as well as His disciples Peter, James, and John. We’ve been climbing this mountain throughout the Epiphany season. We’ve followed Jesus from the visit by the Magi in Bethlehem to His first miracle in Cana, and on through His early ministry of healing and teaching. Along the way we’ve been unraveling layer by layer the true identity of Jesus. As we’ve climbed higher and higher this Epiphany season we now find ourselves atop the mountain peak with the conclusive evidence of Jesus’ identity: the full glory of God is revealed in Him today as He is transfigured and shines dazzling white, and we hear the voice of the Father, "This is my Son."

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