There is so much to decide and discuss about this trip, I hope everyone who can will attend the meeting the tue before. But the most important issue was brought up by a member of the group whose opinion I respect greatly in regards to the possible difficulty of the trip verses the inexperience of many of the rsvps. And I agree it is a valid point. Her proposition is as follows:
Start at Seton Creek (car camp first night as originally planned), hike 3 miles and set up camp next to the waterfall. The waterfall area provides an excellent water source from a spring fed, ice cold waterfall. Then those who are more experienced can do the hiking down to Redbridge which is an additional 7 miles one way, 14 miles round trip back to our campsite next to the waterfall. For those who are less experienced, or want a relaxing day, they can go swimming in the river, hang out by the waterfall, do shorter day hikes etc... Then on Sunday, hike 3 miles back to Seaton Creek and then go kayaking. That way the experienced and beginners can all have options. I like the fact that you have included kayaking in this trip. Of all the years that I've gone, I have always wanted to kayak the Manistee River, but never have. So I am especially looking forward to that part!
I like this suggestion for a few reasons. First, many people have already expressed fear of hiking so far with a pack in one day; second, other people have warned me that there is no way anyone will be able to hike back in time for, or have the energy to, kayak the river on Sunday.
The best part is that we don’t all have to do the same thing. Some of us are amazing hikers, some average, and some just starting out. To all do the same thing at the same time would frustrate some, and/or punish others.
I like the idea of us all hanging out together for the first night and starting the hike together. After that, some will backpack the entire trail as originally planned, and some won’t. If it’s super hot, more people will want to be in the water. If it’s cool, maybe more people will want to hike farther. The point is, you don’t even have to decide now.
Rod has proposed carpooling with me fairly early on Friday. Can anyone else leave early? The meeting will also be a great place to find carpools. I don’t have a formal itinerary for the meeting, and would rather the hikers most experienced with the area do most of the talking (if they show up). But most of all I want to gage experience level and what people want to do.
Below is information sent to me by a ranger. As you can see, you will still need to spend some money when you get there, but the $10 you spent to rsvp will go toward what I will pay for everyone when I get there early. And let’s try to drive as few cars there as possible to save the earth as well as parking fees.
If you rsvped and can no longer attend, you can try to sell your spot to someone else. But if you can’t sell it, please cancel your rsvp so I know not to look for and worry about you.
Here is the link for Seaton Creek Campground:
It is $14 per site per night and there is a day use fee for parking your vehicles at the trailhead $4.00 per vehicle per day.
Here is the link for the Manistee River Trail:
Here is the Manistee River Trail and North Country Trail Map showing dispersed campsites, Seaton Creek Campground, etc.
If you need additional info. please consult our website:
Have a great trip!
Baldwin Ranger District
650 N. Michigan Ave.Drawer D
Phone: [masked] ext.3117
Quick facts of the trip:
COST: $10 to RSVP (which will be applied to campground) $25 group discount rate for kayaking
Friday: Carpool to Seaton Creek Campground, spend the night
Saturday: Wake up early, good breakfast, pack, backpack between 10 and 12 miles down Manistee Trail, set up camp, play games and rest
Sunday: Start hiking back to campground early on the North Country Trail, drive to Wilderness Canoe, kayak 4 to 5hr down river, eat our remaining food together, drive home and feel great about our accomplishments
Even though I don’t yet have all the facts that I need to plan this trip in detail (the campground isn’t even open yet), I have a solid enough plan to post this event now to gage general interest. Assuming we get at least 12 people, we’ll be able to get group discounts on Sunday kayaking. The last time I backpacked the Manistee Forest trail, 26 people RSVPed yes. The day before the trip that number decreased by 10. Only 5 people actually made it. It was still a great trip, but that level of no-shows is no fun for anyone. The only I know to decrease the likelihood of no-shows is to charge just $10 to RSVP. The money will go toward the campsites.
Although it is important that you have some backpacking experience to go on this trip, even if you have zero experience right now, you can still be more than prepared by then. Many of you (about 20 out of the 45 who RSVPed, and 48 changed their minds) joined me for the Pre-Backpacking Simulation before the meet n greet or the actual Backpacking Simulation event (Phil and Emily were the only two at both:-). Of course, if you’ve taken classes somewhere else or have experience already, that will do. But it would be dangerous to show up for a backpacking event like this with zero experience and no necessary gear. Of course people will help you out, but it’s rude to completely take advantage of others that way. We will have a meeting at my house on May 28th at 7PM before leaving for the trip to help semi-beginners decide exactly what they will need.
There are many items you will need for yourself, and others you can share.
WHAT YOU MUST OWN (or borrow)
Comfortable hiking boots or supportive shoes (you can wear tennis shoes, but not “officially” recommended)
Comfortable wicking attire and hiking socks (no cotton socks, ever!, expect for sleeping)
A small light tent, or carrying parts of a larger tent you will share with friends
A backpack with enough space to carry your gear (be sure to practice hiking with)
Enough light backpacking food to last you the weekend (no canned food, for example)
A waterproof covering for you and your pack (can be cheap poncho)
Sleeping pad of some kind to sleep on
Sleeping bag (it might be hot enough to just wear your cloths to bed)
Headlamp (they can be very cheap and everyone should own at least one)
Mp3 player (OK, you certainly don’t need one, but I do.)
WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING IF YOU HAVE IT, BUT CAN SHARE
Backpacking stove of some kind, if you borrow, consider carrying or paying for fuel
Water purifier (we don’t all need one, but filters do wear out, so consider that)
First aid kit (I hope a few people bring them and know how to use them, indicate in RSVP)
There are many more items you need and will want to bring, so consider the lists above nothing more than a suggestion on where you should start. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a backpacking book from your library and learn from experts, who I certainly am not, and have never held myself out to be.
We will be backpacking on this date regardless of the weather forecast. It might be cold or very hot; it might rain or hail. Either way, it will give you a story and make you a better hiker. Once you RSVP with your $10 it will not be refunded, but you may sell your spot to someone else if you find you can no longer go. Because campground space will be limited and “first come, first serve” (which is why I’ll drive up there very early to reserve it all in person for us, which is the only way one can reserve it), this event is limited to 20 people. Of course, even with the deposit, it’s unlikely that more than 15 people will actually make it. That’s just the way it is. It’s very important that we work out carpools, food, phone number sharing, and gear sharing before we actually leave at the meeting at my house on May 28th at 7PM for participants only.
This websites is one of my many sources: http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/536117
Here’s the bottom line: of course I want you to do your best to prepare yourself in every way a responsible person should. But we’re really not hiking much more in a day than we did at the simulation, and everyone managed that just fine. We won’t let anyone go hungry, thirsty, or suffer from exposure. This experience should be accessible to anyone who thinks they can walk 13 miles with a pack on their back in a day, which should be everyone who doesn’t have terrible health problems. I would be honored if your first ever backpacking experience was with us. And Sunday night, in your bed (where you can’t feel your blisters:-), exhausted but content, I am confident you’ll think about your first post-Memorial Day weekend experience with pride and joy.