This past weekend, Dave and I did a short backpacking trip on the Manistee River Trail. After the roughly four hour drive, we hiked in 2 miles and found a place to camp. This stretch of the Manistee River Trail overlaps the North Country Trail and you can camp anywhere 200 feet from the trail. Dave found a nice flat area on the top of a hill to set-up our tent. We had a big lunch that day, so dinner was a Clif Bar each. I never sleep well the first night anywhere (tent, hotel, other people’s houses, etc.) and I was a little paranoid about bears especially since a twelve year old girl had been attacked nearby and I was told about it by at least five different people. Every twig snap made me jump and the twig snaps continued all night long. I swear the deer were holding a dance party around our tent.
The next day, we slept in a bit and managed to start hiking by 9am. We hiked 12 miles, eventually leaving the North Country Trail behind. Both trails were well worn and maintained, only a few down trees to duck under or go around here and there. The North Country Trail was better marked with blazes compared to the Manistee River Trail. We crossed the river using the longest suspension footbridge in the lower peninsula (pictured above).
We camped at a site right along the river. It was perfect. It was far off from the trail for privacy even with another camper at a site nearby. The best was being so close to the river. I’m a much happier backpacker if I get the chance to wash up and I got to do more than wash up, I actually got to swim a bit. It was heavenly. We split a dehydrated dinner (Backpacker’s Pantry Cuban Black Beans and Rice, it was very tasty and filling), played a game of Rivals of Catan (a fabulous two-player game, highly recommend!), and read a bit before hitting the hay.
On our last day, we only had 6 miles left since we went a bit farther on Saturday. The trail was pretty hilly and both of our legs were getting pretty tight and tired, but we had the motivation of lunch at a restaurant to get us moving. We got out of the woods right about lunchtime. The trip was great, a little hotter than I would have liked, but overall it was good weather. Neither of us had problems with knees or blisters or anything. And we didn’t get attacked by bears!