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Friday, October 7, 2016

HCP Day 4: Rattlesnake Hill to Pigeon Bridge Campground

July 25, 2016

There was a nice sunrise as I packed up camp.

I began the descent from Rattlesnake Hill.

I reached Rattlesnake Creek.

There was a short section of road walking.

The trail went back in the forest.

Then went through some clearings.

I neared a two track and heard a noise.  It was an elk. I couldn't get close enough to get a good picture, but it was exciting.

The trail went back and forth through clearings.

There was a somewhat distant view over the trees.

There was a sign indicating that the Black River Bridge was closed.

I reached Tubbs Creek which was flowing well.

There were lots of badger holes near the trail.

Black River

I reached the detour to avoid the dangerous Black River Bridge.  I decided to go ford the river.

Black River Bridge

Crossing the bridge could be quite dangerous.

I had enough water, so I continued on the HCP when I came to the junction to the Town Corner Lake Campground.  I passed a few day-hikers.

A short side trail went to a lookout with a bench.

Back on the HCP I came to another bench.

The HCP crossed the co-located northern spur of the Shore to Shore Trail and Midland to Mackinac Trail

I came to the other side of the detour.  Here's a map.

I hiked through some pleasant open areas.

I came to the only recent logging area of the hike.

The junction to Round Lake Campground.  The loop was nearly complete as I made my way to Pigeon Bridge Campground.

I reached the Pigeon Bridge Trailhead and another adventure was complete.

Overall, I didn't have high expectations for the HCP but I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of scenery and wildlife.  It seems that the area is starting to recover from all the logging activity and there was only a brief section of recent logging.  It's a fairly remote hike that crosses few paved roads and other hikers.  I think this hike is best completed with high mileage days. I anticipate that shorter mileage days would result in some uneventful and non-descript days. It's still doable though if you're interested in a long distance hike in the lower peninsula.

At times, finding a backcountry campsite on the HCP will be challenging.  By spacing the distance, I was able to camp at probably the two best places on the loop: Canada Creek Shelter and Rattlesnake Hill. Water sources were typically available as indicated on the map, but I wasn't able to get water from Dog Lake.  This is an area to be careful for ticks.

The HCP is a good option for experienced backpackers looking for a long distance hike. For those just getting started backpacking in Michigan, I recommend starting with something shorter and more scenic (Pictured Rocks, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Isle Royale, Porkies, NCT, ect).

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!