Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pinckney Blind Lake Backpacking Dec '18

Potawatomi Trail
Pinckney State Recreation Area
Trailhead Elevation: 888 ft.

Dec. 28 Hike In:

  Distance: 6.94 mi.
  Elevation Gain: 185 ft.
  Start Time: 2:15pm
  End Time: 4:45pm

Dec. 29 Hike Out:
  Distance: 4.18 mi.
  Elevation Gain: 208 ft.
  Start Time: 8:40am
  End Time: 10:18am

Trip Report:
Amazingly, it had been a whole year since I was able to get out the backpack to head to my favorite spots at Blind Lake. Last year I had the great adventure in 8 inches of snow and my first taste of snow camping. This year there would be no snow, at least not expected. When I set out on a Friday afternoon the temps were nearing 50 degrees and it was nearly perfect hiking weather. There was little-to-no precipitation in the forecast and it seemed the right time to hike. I even had bits of sun on the hike in. I brought along all of my usual winter gear and plenty of things to keep me warm overnight. For the hike in I wore just a tech short-sleeve and tech long-sleeve shirt with wind pants and that was more than enough. As I hiked in the temps did continuously drop from that nice 50 at the start. I was probably nearing low 30's when I finally hit camp.

Just a few highlights from the hike in: as I was passing trail near Hiland Lake I really took notice of what a wonderful kayaking destination that would be. While I wasn't backpacking this past summer I did purchase a pair of kayaks for my family and we have really enjoyed taking them out. In October I even came up to Pinckney by myself and paddled Halfmoon Lake and Blind Lake to get a view of things from the watery side. Hiland Lake was definitely added onto my list for next summer.

When I was hiking the stretches near the west end of Halfmoon Lake I was beginning to pick out sights that I had remembered from my kayaking out on the water. It was interesting to make these connections. After passing over the bridge at Halfmoon and thereafter hitting a small junction before the big hill climb, I decided to take the trail offshoot. I had seen this many times before and this was the first time I realized it was really close to the wooden road bridge that forms the barrier between Halfmoon and Blind lakes. I decided to check it out. I remember paddling under this bridge in October. I had wondered where the dirt road all went. I decided to walk the dirt road and bypass the trail section on the hilly side. I figured out I could just follow the road a mile or so to where the trail rejoins it to head to Blind Lake camp. This worked out well and I enjoyed seeing the different houses that line the west side of Blind Lake. It seemed a nice little neighborhood.

When I did hit Blind Lake I found another guy camping there already, probably in site 7 or 8. I had wanted site 1 or 2 as I usually do but the website said one of them was already taken. Well nobody ever showed up there. So I had picked 4 and it turned out to be just fine. I got my Quarter Dome 2 tent setup and then proceeded to attempt a fire. I gathered up a very reasonable amount of sticks and other small items like pine needles and cones but had absolutely no luck. Things were still fairly moist. So I bailed and got my camp stove started up and boiled water for my freeze-dried supper. I also did up a cup of hot cocoa. Things were getting chilly but I had the right clothing to stay mostly warm. I stayed outside the tent til near 7p. Another two groups ended up showing up. One stayed at site 3 near the water and were loud and fairly rude and obnoxious. Another stayed at the site near the bathroom and slept in hammocks.

My evening went by pleasantly and I had a good enough sleep through the night staying warm. I could hear little pellets of some kind of precip hitting my tent roof from time to time. I was surprised as there really shouldn't have been rain in the forecast. In the morning I was surprised to wake up and find about a quarter inch of snow had fallen. I had to shake my tent roof off to be able to pack it up in the morning. Things were pretty chilly, upper 20s likely, so I made quick haste at getting things packed up. As usual, I just wanted to hit trail. I ate my breakfast during the hike out as I got my food items warmed up and unfrozen in a pocket. The hike out went nice enough and I ran into quite a number of trail runners from the Dirtbag Runners group that I follow on facebook.

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).  

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