The dog takes the trail, I take the Gu

Jordan River Pathway with three friends and my dog.

Day One:
We set out early Saturday morning and headed up to Gaylord where we stopped for breakfast and a few last minute supplies. Then off to the trail head... of sorts. One of the guys was only able to do the first day so we dropped off a vehicle down at the backwoods camp sight. Now we debated if we should be parking a vehicle there or not, the DNR wants the campground to be a hike in only place. We all then jumped into one vehicle and headed to the trail head.

Once we arrived we back at the trail head we strapped on our packs and off we went. At first I had Nuba (my dog) on a leash... okay that is a challenge to use trekking poles and hold onto a lead of a dog that just wants to run all over and take in the smells. After we got down the trail a bit I took her off her lead. To my excitement she did great off the lead. Nuba basically trek along about 20 to 30 feet in front of us and stop to make sure we were still with her. With a quick whistle she would stop or come running back to my side. Oh that made trekking so much easier. As we dropped into the river bottom we came across a couple places where the beaver dams we causing the water to run over and down the trail for short sections. One of the best parts about day one and the entire trek is the differing terrines you go through; everything from marsh, meadows, ridges, to forested back country.

We stopped at the same little spot in the river bend for lunch. The rushing water is so loud that is drowns out all other sounds and you have to speak up to be able to talk to each other. After lunch we got back on the trail and only made it a short distance before we noticed some salmon spawning in the river. That is the first time that I have seen salmon in the wild and that close up.

Knowing a large hill was approaching I thought I would try out some of the Gu Energy Gel that I brought with. That stuff is tasty and does give a boost to ones step. Strolling along we finally made it to the base of the only major hill on the first day, nick named Awful Awful by one of the members of the group. This little hill sneaks up on you and then the assent is steep and rapid... well steep for Michigan. But once at the top you are presented with a wonderful vista of the valley below. We stopped to take in the view and Nuba finally laid down for the first time all day. The camp grounds are only a quick trek down the trail.

We setup camp and started to collect up some fire wood. After that we kicked back and played some euchre. Joe and I schooled (maybe not that bad) Dave and Dan in both matches while Nuba looked on from a deep sleep. For dinner we had the following: Jamaican BBQ Chicken, Cashew Chicken Curry, and Beef Stroganoff. I would not recommend the cashew chicken curry. After dinner we really stoke up the fire and kept warm. This year the temps did not drop as low as last year so we did not have to huddle as close just o keep warm. The night also brought quick ribbons of rain followed by a huge down pour just about the time I crawled in the tent... that was good timing. So as I attempted to fall asleep the rain poured down and the wind really kicked up. I could hear some sizable branches and trees falling down.

Day Two:
Ah the joys of bringing the dog... she decided that it was time for breakfast and her potty break at 05:00... that is right 05:00. I did get up and let her out to go to the bathroom but I refused to feed her at that point. I held her off until 07:00 when I could not take her pawing at my sleeping bag any more. About that same time we all rolled out of the tents and started in on breakfast. I had brought blueberry pancake mix and started whipping those up for everyone. My little stove has great temp control so it was easy to get the pan to just the right temp for cooking... the down fall was I did not have a heat resistant spatula to flip them with... so I ended up melting my lexan fork through the process... note to self, get heat resistant spatula.

After cleaning up camp we said good bye to Joe and headed out for the second day trek. Thats right... day two starts out with an ascent up steeper hill than Awful Awful.. and the ascent is longer. Oh, but by the time you hit the top of the hill you need to stop and take off outer layers and get down to your base layer because you are warmed up now. As we trekked along we could see the mild devastation that the wind had caused the night before.

As we approached the first creek crossing I attempted to get Nuba to come down stream a bit from the bridge and get some water... she had other plans. Across the little walking bridge she went and then right to bank to get a drink. Well that is all well and good but she just jumped right on in with all four feet. The water was a little deeper than she thought and was then swimming against the current across the stream to the other side where Dan (not me the other Dan) was. At the same time I was on the bank were she jumped in and I called her back... she turned around and proceeded to get of her front legs trapped between to branches. Just as I was about to jump in and rescue her Dan reached out and grabbed the handle on the back of her pack and lifted her up on to the bridge. Wet but not shaken. I took minute to readjust her back and off we went again.

Now we worked our way down the portion of the hike that weaves in and out of the ridge. While out on the ridge it was a bit nippy from the wind. After we stopped for lunch at the overlook I ended up having to put my fleece back on and kept it on the rest of the trek. As we approached were the trail meets up with the day hike loop we kicked up our pace. Next thing we know Nuba is on full point. What is it girl.. she had spotted a flock of about a dozen wild turkeys. Those things look freaky when they fly.

Almost there... a top dead mans hill for the victory yell. The wind was really whipping up now so we took in the view quickly and headed down to the vehicle.

Well that is about it. I did manage to bend the mid section of one of the trekking poles but I called up Leki today and they are sending me out a replacement. Nuba has been totally sacked out for a couple of days and I think is ready to go again... she is going to have to wait for another big hike until spring, I am not up for winter hiking yet.

For what it's worth.


Awesome sounding time, did you get any photo's of the hike by chance? And you got to just love dogs! :)

Posted by Jeffrey Olson on November 15, 2005 at 08:16 AM EST #

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