The map below shows hikes that I have posted. Double click to zoom in on an area. Click on a hiker icon to discover great hikes! Red stars indicate long distance hikes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Appalachian Trail: Annapolis Rock

March 5, 2016
5.4 miles

While visiting my brother in Maryland, I had the opportunity to go for a scenic hike on the Appalachian Trail with some good friends. We decided to hike to one of the best viewpoints on the AT in Maryland.  For a route description see here:

We started at the parking area on US 40 and only had time to make it to Annapolis Rock. Within a short distance we reached the pedestrian bridge over I70.  

We turned right and started to Annapolis Rock.

The trail was rocky and somewhat steep in places.  It had just snowed the day before.

It was mainly a forested walk.

We reached Annapolis Rock and enjoyed the spectacular view.

There were a few others nearby enjoying the view, but it wasn't that crowded.

Greenbrier Lake was visible down below.

It was a fairly uneventful hike back to the parking lot.

This was a fun hike with friends and a rewarding view. There are also campsites near the overlook and a shelter on the trail if interested in a quick overnight trip.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hiking the Beach: Southwest Michigan

November 2015-April 2016
~75 miles roundtrip with day hikes

After going to school in southwest Michigan, I returned to the area for a travel PT job November 2015-early May 2016.  I had previously explored much of the nearby state parks including Warren Dunes and Grand Mere.  I decided to try to connect as much beach hiking as I could and most of it was excellent hiking.  Nice sections of beach are visible on google maps, but depending on water level it is hard to predict if wading will be necessary.    Typically these sections are on beautiful sandy beaches. There are some challenges including: finding beach access, power plant barriers, and occasionally rocky or wet terrain. Hiking in sand isn't easy. I did at least 8 separate out and back hikes. I have listed them by direction from south to north. I didn't fully connect all of them as I didn't complete the section north of Grand Mere State Park to Silver Beach.

1. New Buffalo to Mile Marker 9.0
~10 miles roundtrip

I started at the picnic area by the Galien River and hiked north.

There were a few people on the beach and lots of birds.

Soon I had the beach nearly all to myself.

There was a small dune to my right and I had to dodge a few waves.

There are signs indicating no trespassing, but walking the beach by the high water mark is legal in Michigan.

There were some mile marker signs along the beach.  I decided to turn around at Mile Marker 9.

It was a pleasant hike back.

There were a few spots with rocks.

2. Warren Dunes to Mile Marker 9.0
~10 miles roundtrip

I had so much fun the day before, so I decided to connect the section from Warren Dunes to where I had finished at Mile Marker 9.0. I hiked south from the main Warren Dunes Parking lot.

Looking north to the parking lot at Warren Dunes.

I crossed a few small streams.

I connected to the point I had been at the day before and turned around.

I decided to run back.  On the way someone's poodle chased me and bit me on the leg.

Back at Warren Dunes State Park

3. Warren Dunes to Cook Nuclear
~11 miles roundtrip

I started at the Warren Dunes parking lot and hiked north. 

I could see the power plant in the distance. I walked past Weko Beach Recreation Area.

I walked beside some steep dunes.

I reached the Cook Nuclear Power Plant.

I turned around and started back.

At Weko Beach I climbed up a dune for a nice view.

Then I entered the state park.

I went past an old well that I have explored many times.

Then I left the beach and climbed up some impressive dunes.

I decided to detour and climb the largest dune that I have climbed many times.

It was a beautiful evening.

I paralleled the lake while up on the dunes.

 There was a nice sunset.

 Lots of birds flying

4. Grand Mere State Park to Cook Nuclear
~5 miles roundtrip

I started at the public access off Grand Mere Road.

I went south and entered Grand Mere State Park.

I reached the barrier of the Cook Nuclear Power Plant.

I turned around and decided to climb a large dune.

This dune is pretty high, but not quite as strenuous as the one at Warren Dunes.

The view from the top.

I could also see some inland lakes.

I returned to my car via some inland state park trails.

5. Silver Beach
April 10, 2015
~3 miles

On a windy weekend day, I went for a short run on Silver Beach, one of the most popular in the area. The lighthouse is visible out on the pier.

6. Tiscornia Park to steep dune with American Flag
~11 miles roundtrip

I started at Tiscornia Park on the north side of the St. Joseph River.

It was a chilly but pleasant day.

I began my hike north, unsure how far I would go.

There was some ice on a log.

I came to a barrier that I had to climb over.

There were some interesting structures out in the lake.

I went past an impressive wall.

There were some steep dunes and even a building in the lake.

I looked up and saw an American flag and decided it was a good marker to turn around at.

There was a wall that I walked beside and tried to keep my feet dry.

Back at the lighthouse

6. Roadside park to steep dune with American flag
~11 miles

I completed this hike with my brother who was visiting for the weekend. We parked at the Roadside Park just northwest of Jacobs Chapel Lake, but on the Blue Star Highway and hiked south to meet up with the American flag up high on a steep dune.

The lake looked much different in February.

We navigated around a river.

We climbed up some stairs at a public access point for a better view.

Then we hiked on the ice. Andrew got his foot wet once.


At one point, I turned around and Andrew wasn't there so I called him with my phone and he said he was tired.

There were some interesting and unique dune formations.

I hoped I hadn't missed the American flag, and was excited to see it up on the dunes.

I started the return journey.

I found my brother resting on the beach, and we continued our way back on the sandy ice.

Past the icebergs

In the evening we reached the roadside park.

7. Roadside park to river
~2 miles

This was a short hike that was limited by some fierce weather.  I started at the Roadside Park near Jacobs Chapel Lake and hiked north. There were some serious clouds.

The view of Lake Michigan was quite dramatic.

I reached a river and decided to turn around instead of wading across.

8. Roadside Park to Palisades Nuclear Plant
~12 miles

I again started at the roadside park, so this hike included the same portion I had done previously, but much more! I hiked north.

There was a balloon floating in the lake.

Some dunes

I reached the river that I had decided not to cross last time.

I could barely see the Palisades Power Plant.

I reached a portion without much beach next to some houses.

I looked to my right and discovered a boardwalk.

It was a resort community near Palisades Park. I crossed a river.

I followed a road and then found a beach access to complete the short distance to the power plant.

Palisades Power Plant

I began my return journey.

I scrambled over a few rocks.

Then ducked under a collapsing platform.

I crossed the river and took a break on a log. Soon I was back at the parking lot.

 That's it for the beach hikes I've completed in southwest Michigan.  There are quite a few state parks to the north that will probably have lots of great hiking as well. Overall, most of the beach hiking is excellent and I really enjoyed seeing the differences with seasons and weather. 

About Me

I've been born and raised in the great state of Michigan. I recently graduated from physical therapy school. I enjoy being active, playing sports, and running. Backpacking has become a great interest as it is a physical challenge that provides many rewarding views and experiences. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those encounter in every day life, on the trail, or even just on this blog. May God bless each of you. Now go find an adventure! It's only a few feet away!