The trial of miles; miles of trials.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jordan River Pathway


I first heard about the Jordan River Pathway (JRP) about 15 years ago from a friend in college.  The JRP is often compared to the Manistee River Trail (MRT) as they are similar in distance and scenery.  It was a long time coming, but I finally got my chance to see the JRP first hand on August 20, 2010.  I was making a solo trip to the UP to work on my in-law's cabin so it was easy to get the run in on the way.  I arrived at the trail head off

Water, Garmin, duct tape, lighter, TP, GU, chia seeds, LCP.
Deadman's Hill Road shortly after 11:00 AM and after a quick gear sort on the trunk of my car I was off.

I had planned to run the trail in a clockwise direction but ended up getting turned around out of the gates and headed out counter clockwise.  That ended up being a pretty big mistake.  The trail immediately drops almost 400' to the floor of the Jordan River Valley.  As I was headed down the ridiculously steep trail I was thinking how I might have gotten in over my head as I really hadn't planned for a ton of elevation.

The first 8-9 miles were a joy, fairly mellow and not too hilly.  I stopped a few times to take photos but it was rather uneventful.  The trail wound through a lot of marshy areas that were pretty muddy in a few spots.  There were actually a lot of open meadows that were bordered with hardwood forest which I assume would make this area beautiful in mid-October.  I was disappointed at how little contact the trail makes with the Jordan River.  It just wasn't enough for me.  I was able to snap this photo just after Pinney Bridge Campground. The river and associated drainage (even the swamps) were very clear.
The Jordan

Once the JRP left the campground it was a completely different trail.  Hills galore.  The trail traversed along steep hillsides, through heavy Cedar and Hemlock forests and along creeks.  It was pretty, that's for sure, but very hilly.  I really started hurting around mile 11 or 12.  I had to walk up almost every hill.  By mile 14 I was having flashbacks of the Bayshore and wondering how I would finish in one piece.  I had to sit down for a few minutes and choke down my GU.  After that I felt a little better and was able to tough it out, walking up the hills and lumbering along the flats and downhill sections.

In the end, I would say the MRT is much more scenic.  The MRT is easier in terms of elevation, but I would say when paired with the North County Trail, the JRP and MRT are very similar in difficulty.  I recommend following the JRP in a clockwise direction to get the bigger hills out of the way in the beginning.  I will return some day, but it will be in mid-October.

For Sale, 5 months old, lightly used.  Jason?
Shortly after arriving in the UP, I found myself on a boat flying up the Tahquamenon River with this guy:
John had to retrieve a game camera that he placed earlier this summer.  He thought the camera was in a really active area but ended up only getting five pictures and on of them was a picture of his shoulder.  I think there was one picture of a small spotted fawn.  It was about a 25 min. boat trip (one way).  We tried to outrun a T-storm but ended up getting pinned down in a grove of Helmock as the storm passed overhead.  I'm not sure I've ever been caught in such a heavy storm.  Loud!!  Cotton gets really heavy when wet!
Tahquamenon River

 We saw a bald eagle which was pretty cool.  We got off the river just before dark and were off the the bar for food and beer.  It was a good cap to a great day. 



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