Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mount Arvon

Kellisa's 21st State Highpoint

Mount Arvon, MI

September 2011

Elevation Gain on Hike: 160ft.
Round Trip Hiking Distance: 1 mile

I was fortunate to have Matt with us for the Michigan highpoint. You need to follow a confusing network of logging roads to reach the trailhead and I knew I could use his help with navigation. Also, having Matt along provided extra confidence to attempt these roads because it had been raining all day. I was worried about the condition of the roads and the thought of getting stuck far from help might have caused me to skip Mount Arvon on this trip if I was alone with Kellisa. Thankfully, we had Matt to support our trip.

Matt pushing Kellisa in the rain:

I took over as we neared the summit:

Summit photos:

Headed back down through the mud after a short summit visit:

Kellisa receiving water by g-tube back at the car:

Next on our list of goals was a backpack trip on Grand Island. I was not looking forward to the long drive ahead as we would have to backtrack along the log roads before a long drive around the Huron Mountains to the Grand Island area of the Upper Peninsula. Shortly after leaving the trailhead parking area, we noticed a homemade sign pointing deeper into the North Woods with the simple words: Big Bay. I knew Big Bay was a small town on the other side of the Huron Mountains. I also knew from studying maps that Big Bay could not be reached from the Mount Arvon area on marked roads. The weather was getting worse as the afternoon was slipping away. Matt and I looked at each other and we decided to "go for it"! 

Without any planning or real thought, I followed the sign towards Big Bay and blindly headed deep into the Huron Mountains. I can say that I would have never tried this uncertain route, especially in the wet conditions that we were facing without Matt. We did have plenty of food, water and camping gear, so I knew we would be OK for a few days if we got stuck. 

Old logging roads crisscrossed the woods and most junctions were marked with a version of the homemade Big Bay sign. Whenever we had to make a decision without the benefit of a sign, we would select the road that looked right. We were trusting the signs to be accurate. There were many spots where the road was near impassable. When in doubt, I would speed through the deep mud hoping to make it to the other side before getting stuck. We were slipping, sliding and even went airborne more than a few times. Of course, Kellisa was laughing from excitement as it felt like we were riding a rollercoaster. At the time, it was hard for me to enjoy the ride because I knew there was a good chance of something bad happening on this road.

Fortunately, we made it through the roughest stretches of road in a couple of hours. As we neared Big Bay, the road improved a little and we were able to stop to take the following photos to document what would be a true highlight of our trip:

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