Great Lakes Hikes 2005 NCTA School House Gathering

November 12, 11 Mile Road to 6 Mile Road | November 13, Trail Blazing a Trail Near the Schoolhouse

GLH Gathering, November 13, 2005 - Trail Blazing a Trail Near the Schoolhouse

Sunday early morning was a lot warmer than the previous night. It was also a lot windier. When I took wind speed readings between 8:00AM and 10:00AM I was only able to record wind speeds between 7 and 12 miles-per-hour. I’m sure the winds in the trees were higher. I’m sure the gusts were higher still, but I find myself wondering if my reading were in error somehow because even I must admit the winds felt stronger than what I was recording. Certainly during the night they were stronger (weather data for Big Rapids, Michigan generally in the low 20s MPH range with gusts well exceeding 30MPH. Big Rapids is about 25 miles northeast of White Cloud).

There is something about Sundays at the Gathering that brings out laziness in all of us. That’s not to say people aren’t packing up, having breakfast (the remaining deserts and jambalaya were hits), and cleaning up the place but things always seem so much slower. We did not head out for the trail segment until just after noon. The remnants of the entire group included me, Paul, Julie, Abbey, Andy, Elvira, Dave, Josh, Amy, Nancy, and Lynne. Today was chillier and windier than Saturday. Paint was going to be flying everywhere if the person wielding the brush was not careful. We set out on this new side trail and Paul taught us the proper way to blaze trees. After you select the best tree you need to shave off the scales on the bark, brush off any remaining debris and fungus, and then paint a 2 by 6 inch blaze using the special-purpose oil-based white paint (normally an even more specialized paint than what Paul had with him). Most everyone took a crack at doing all the tasks. I did not do any painting, but did everything else.

We were not moving fast, speed comes as confidence grows, but we were having fun. This is a nice easy going trail that passes some interesting things like the peat bog everyone else got to see. On the return trip Lynne and I pulled ahead and she tried to locate it again for me but we could not find it. But at least I got to see the cool root that Andy spotted in Camp Swampy. Instead we returned to the cars and found Nancy was the only one awake. Julie and Abbey were napping and Josh and Amy were on their way home (Josh was probably asleep by this time too). We arrived at about 3:50PM and everyone else came in 30-40 minutes later. The gathering was all but over and it was, as always, fun.


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