Sunday, October 10, 2010

MRT - Fall Colors!

MRT - Manistee River Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done.  I first hiked the MRT in the fall of 07 and fell in love with the views of the Manistee River and the vivid colors in the fall.

The MRT is between Hodenpyl Dam and Red Bridge.  The 18" wide trail is on  the east bank of the Manistee River and follows above the river for 10 1/2 miles.  The MRT crosses several streams with wooden bridges and you can see several small waterfalls from the spring fed streams.  The trail is well marked with blue diamond trail markers.

After two friends cancelled out on the Saturday hike, I recruited two students from my Manistee Glass Bead class.  One wanted to bring her dog, which worked out fine.

I drove several two tracks before the hike to find a spot halfway down the trail to park one of the vehicles for a shorter day hike but decided to do a down and back hike to save the newer cars from going down a small dirt trail.

My student and her dog, Cindy, at the start of the hike.

Cindy did turn around for a better photo but she didn't like to cross the suspension bridge.  Maria dug out her hiking shoes for the 4 hour hike.  We decided that with the Michigan - Michigan State game on at 3:30, we would just do about half of the hike today.

The trail is above the river and we saw lots of people on the trail and floating down the river.  The great weather had someone camping in every other spot along the river.  There are about 10 camping sites on the east side of the the river.  Most are on bluffs above the river and some are down near the water.  About 1/2 of the hikers had camping gear and 1/2 of the kayaks/canoes were going to camp also.  The weather was in the high 60's.

The fall colors were about 95% out!  What a great day for a hike.

The great weather brought out lots of people on the river.   I have never seen the parking lots so full!  It was nice to hike along the river and see people hiking up and down the trail.  We saw younger people with backpacks, single hikers, and whole families out for a hike.  How many more beautiful day do we get this fall?  I don't know but I intend to get out every day I can.

You can see how high we are above the river.  It makes for great views of the site and sights!  Cindy, the dog, was on one of those retractable leashes of about 15 feet.  She did a nice job of leading us up the trail and not getting tangled around the trees.

Remember to click on any picture that you want to blow up to a larger picture.  The trail was well-maintained and had nice wooden walkways over the small streams.  Most of the trail was level but there were a few switchbacks up and down some hills.

The leaves were mostly yellow on the east side of the river and we could see red and orange leaves on the west side.

This young man and his dog hiked in3 miles and set up camp for the weekend.  He was reading against the tree with his dog watching the hiking traffic.  A nice spot with a great river view.

I love being in the woods and hiking along through it.  Being in the woods right beside the river is even better.

As we were leaving, I noticed that the woods beside the road had some great color also.  Everyone was a little tired from the 4 1/2 hour hike but we all vowed that we would return and do the whole 10 1/2 miles hike next time.

As we drove by the lower end of the trail, we stopped at Red Bridge and saw an over-flowing parking lot.

Ah, one last look at the river and the foliage in prime colors.  Just one more reason that I am happy to live "up north".

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall Fishing

Fall is a great time to go fishing.  Actually any time is a great time to go fishing.  I decided to just post a few pictures of fall fishing.

This a shot of Little Bay de Noc, near Gladstone, in the UP.  We fished here for 4 days and the weather and waves were a little nasty.

Chris got a nice pike and the only two walleyes of the trip.

Yes, we know how to take fish photos!

Here is one heck of a sucker.

Yes, the fall perch were biting also.  We only caught about 6 perch and only 4 were keepers.

This Chris's boat.  It did well on the big bay but the wind and waves were heavy most of the time.  The front that came through really slowed down the fishing.

This is Jim's boat.  Jim, Gary, and Mikey-Pikey fished out of this boat.  I don't have any pictures of their fish because they didn't catch very many.  Gary caught a couple of perch but forgot to take them out of the boat to clean.  Next day, the fish were dead and stiff.  Little Bay do Noc was suppose to be a great walleye bay but the bad weather just put a damper on the fishing.

Here is the everyday scene after fishing.  We had wet rainsuits to dry off to put back on and go back out again.  We even got wet while wearing our rainsuits.  Now that's some rain!!

After we got home, I took my boat to the backwaters of Tippy Dam.

It was a beautiful fall day, not rainy!

This smallmouth bass hit my minnow plug close to the bank.  I got a pike on a nightcrawler that day also.

The next day I went back to the backwaters with Guy and managed to catch a few fish.  I lost one large fish that ate my Rapala shadrap.  I know I should be using a wire leader.  I lost two other lures to snagged stumps in the water.

Speaking of snagged stumps.  We call them 'deadheads".  I recently put on a stainless steel prop protector on both of my fishing boats.  Gravel bars, rocks, and deadheads can ruin your prop. 

Below is a carpenter's toolbelt that goes around a 5 gallon bucket that I mounted inside my boat to organize things in the boat.

I really like that idea.  It keeps things off the floor and I can see what tools for fishing  I might need.

The next day we decided to hit Portage Lake.  We put in at the DNR ramp on the West side of the lake and fished the bays.  I was drifting a crawler harness and casting a Rapala plug.  This pike hit my crawler.  I later caught two perch, a rockbass, and and a smallmouth bass.  I had a 4 species of fish day!

Now, where are those walleyes?