A Northern trip was in order to shut down the camp site for the winter and take in the sights of the ‘Naked Forest’. I loaded up the mountain bike and headed north with hopes of checking out the finish of the Ice Man race that Andy and Jim from Beat The Train had entered. The warm Southern wind greeted me as I stepped out of the suv and into the meadow of wild oats. Ahhhhh up north once again! There is something magical about the forest. I call it an instant snap to the moment. The energy the silence the clarity! The Wild Wood Pathway is just 150 yards from our land and as tempting as it was I made a fire and started on with the chores of camp deconstruction. I finished up around 4:00 and headed into Petoskey and onto the trail head parking lot in Bay Harbor.
During the past few years the folks at Emmett County have spent a small fortune finishing off the improvements and repairs to the old railroad grade trail that runs along Little Traverse Bay. This evening was my first chance to shred this new pathway over to Harbor Springs and Back. The trail is breathtaking as it overlooks the bay on one side with a steep embankment on the other. There are a few parking areas with benches and tables that afford the participants a chance to rest, relax or just take it all in.
Slicing by the water treatment plant the trail jogs a bit and then returns to some fun twisty swizzelineee curves and roundabouts as you make your way over the Bear River on through to the waterside park. Traveling on the trail becomes a sidewalk that leads along US 31 for most, not for me. I sniffed out the old railroad grade as it ducks behind Bay view and continues along the edge of the water were I stopped and gave the northern sky 20 proper. It is grass and more of a trial lawn expanse than a sidewalk, wide and fun. Making my way behind the Bay View Inn the trail arch’s towards the Petoskey State Park. On the left there is a little opening/entry and one hell of a sand trap waiting for you as you enter into the back side of the Park. Curving through the park I made my way back out to the bike path that runs parallel to M-119.
Turning left on beach road I made my way through a winding dark forest area onto Pennsylvania Ave. Another quick left and I was at the water’s edge looking at the historical homes of Wequetonsing I ripped my way into Harbor Springs feeling a bit cold from the wind. I stopped at the Bar Harbor. The owner tells me that a bar had been at this corner as long as the town had been alive. Presently he has been the owner for some 29 years. Taking off my layers so that they could dry out I ordered a beer to go with my ice water. A Harp draft and some rubbing of my face to warm the chilled surface, a fellow asked “Bike Detroit?” “What are you doing way up here?” I told him that I was enjoying the view and exploring on a Friday night, which seems to have become my pattern now that our organized Thursday night rides were over. Three beers down to go along with the two Ice waters and I was ready for the return trip back around the Bay.
The return journey was wonderful! Quite Dark and with the wind it felt like I was soaring even though my two wheels were stuck to the ground. Made it back to my point of origin loaded up and was on my way.
J. Meyers bike explorer