Monday, November 29, 2021

Doing Time at Michigan's Pinckney State Recreation Area


Within day-trip distance of where I grew up in Michigan is the Pinckney State Recreation Area. (I don’t know if it’s correct but all my life I have concidered the first ‘n’ as silent so I call it Pickney as in pick-your-nose)


As both a child of a Mom - and Aunt - that spent part of the short Michigan, school-free summers entertaining their passel of kids with picnic-lunch trips to the many swimming beaches, (Holy Crap that water’s cold! I can’t believe we swam in that!) and as a member of an active, out-doors oriented scout troop, I spent a great deal of my childhood here.

It’s been a long time since that enriched childhood and I don’t think I've been here since the 70's, but circumstances have left me with several extra days to fill, so I’m back now,


greeting a glorious sunrise and ready to re-quaint myself with the area.

But nope.

No swimming this trip!

Everything, the picnic tables, the racks of rental boats, and the rope-with-floats that marks the limits of the swimming area, have all been packed up for the winter. As have all the running-water facilities which are drained, winterized, and locked up tight until winter retreats again - in many long months.

 Besides, have I mentioned how cold the water stays around here year-round because there’s just not enough summer to warm it up to civilized levels? This whole swimming in northern waters thing is for – well – northerners! And now that I’ve lived over 2/3rds of my life in the south, I’m no longer one of them!

So that leaves the more civilized activity of hiking.


And there’s plenty of trail to be hiked out here. (Or cross-country-skied during the depths of snow-season which thankfully isn’t here just yet.)

Unfortunately, because of the impromptu nature of my extended stay in Michigan I haven’t done my usual planning and this late in the season finding paper maps at the trailheads just isn’t going to happen, (The map pictured in the brochure above, which I didn't find until my second day there anyway, is NOT a proper hiking map!) so I’m breaking one of my prime rules and hiking without a proper paper map today. ('Today' was November 8th)

I’m such a rebel!

Fortunately my Guia app has the area well mapped so I'm not completely without.

Which is a good thing in an area that has been glaciated into a warren of numerous short-but-steep ridges and a plethora of potholes, (Marsh, ponds, and lakes that formed where chunks of ice got left behind during the glacial retreat.) all of which soon begin to look alike.

When out walking around in this it’s easy to see why Michigan has ended up with two Initial Survey Points (The first one was lost for a while so a second, un-lost one was established.)

 But even without Guia,


the way is pretty well marked as long as I stay on the trails.


The State even makes sure that you don’t get confused by the short little feeder-trails


the locals who live around the fringes use to access the main trail system.

So I don’t hesitate to strap on my pack and get on out there,

electing to circle Crooked Lake today.

But, though I've long since lost track of Michigan hunting seasons, I kinda suspect it's bow-season and this is a popular hunting area, so I make sure I'm displaying my hunter-orange bandanna in a prominent place!

 While my feet take me one way on this near perfect, sparkly day fallen leaves lightly ride the creeks and streams another.

At one point I come across this bench which is a little more elaborate than the usual two-planker you usually see.

This one was so comfortable I settle in for an extended stay and read a book for a while.

 But there is more exploring to be done so I eventually move on.

 If you look real close here, out on the water - center left - just to the right of the big tree-trunk


you can see someone else out here enjoying the day.

There are 16 fish-able lakes within the borders of this one recreation area!

 It’s hard to imagine, but people did homestead this area.

Today this spot is known as ‘The Chimney’

 and it, along with the root-cellar, are all that remains, other than memories, of one of those early homesteads.

The days are short this time of year, as the lights that line the far side, the privately owned side, of a cove in one corner of Silver Lake remind me, so it isn't long before it’s time for me to head on back to The Sisters’ house, (to the great relief of the state employee that though I might try to illegally spend the night.) but due to circumstances I'll be back again tomorrow.

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