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  1. #1
    michigandave's Avatar
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    Zaleski SP April4-7, 2013

    First of all, after being on the forums since Fall, Iíve finally upgraded to donating member. Itís the least I could do after winning lymphocytosis free giveaway for a ridgeline organizer. Support the forum...10 bucks is a deal for all this information.

    I went down to Zaleski State Forest last weekend for 3 days after reading about it in the forums. Originally I planned on doing a 40 mile stretch on the NCT in Michiganís UP, but the snow is still deep and my buddies and I wanted to go south and finally enjoy some spring weather. We headed out at 4:30 AM on Friday, April 4th and rolled into the park around 10. Weather was perfect and in the 50ís. Our plan was to spend 3 days doing the loop counterclockwise, with our first to be spent at Camp H. Once we found the trailhead at P (and after a few false starts) we weíre on the trail by 11. I knew it would be hilly. This was our first trip of the year and it took a little while to get our hiking legs back. Who am I kiddingÖIím still feeling it 5 days later. Either way, the views and trail were great, the skies clear and the fellowship was first class. 9 miles and 4 hours or so of walking we arrived at Camp H and found that we had the whole place to ourselves. We got set up at our site and I found a pair of trees that were perfect on the edge of the site. My buddy got his tent set up and his son used my extra hammock and Kelty 12 to try out hanging.

    This was my first real hang (not counting the backyard) of the year using my Eno single, KAQ New River 30 and the Trail Haven 11 sil tarp from Simply Light Designs (full review coming soon). Everything performed flawlessly, with temps into the 30ís for the night. We had some beef stew with corn and mashed potatoes, hot apple cobbler (didnít use the directions on the bag and just added hot water to the whole messÖwasnít bad at all), After an evening around the campfire, with a few adult beverages, we all turned in and ended our first day on the trail on a high note!

    We were up and moving around 7 and had a fire going to warm up. A couple Starbucks Via and some MH breaffast skillet fed our minds and bodies. Our plan was to do the north loop as a day hike and leave the gear in camp. We headed out by 10 and by the time we got to K, we decided to take the short cut and road walk to J to get back to camp. We knew we had a big day ahead, so by 12 we got back to camp and hit the trail by 1. Saturday turned out to be a long day, between the trail reroutes and some confusion as to where the actual trail was at some of the intersections. One of the reroutes in particular was horrible. Going down was unsafe and Iím sure anyone trying to come up would have felt the same. In fact, people weíre waiting at the bottom for people to come down, because having both negotiate it would be difficult. We met quite a few backpackers and a large scout troop prior to arriving at Camp D. Total miles for the day was 11 and we could really feel it on that long uphill to the camp.

    My buddyís son had been having ankle problems, so I moved on ahead to secure a spot. Around 4 we rolled in and set up along the main trail past the first group site that was filled with Boy Scouts. We found a spot for his tent and hammock, then I set up a little bit down the hill overlooking the valley. During my setup, 4 of the Boy Scout leaders came over to check out my gear, since they were thinking of going the hammock route for the troop. They had a good comparison between the 2 setups that I brought and the difference in costs involved with the various gear. They also were aware of Hammockforums and the various sources of gear. I have a feeling theyíll be getting off the ground soon. After a long day, we had dinner, dessert and a few more adult beverages. It had been in the 60ís all day and was pretty warm when I turned in at 9:00. By midnight, I was sweating with my UQ and REI 20 degree down bag, so I did some venting and felt great. The night before the temp was perfect, but being in the 50ís was just too warm for the down.

    I woke up around 6 and enjoyed the sounds of the woods and was ready for our last day on the trail. We fired up the jetboil for some coffee, oatmeal, and prepacked bacon cooked in a small aluminum bread pan. Ah, something like the smell of bacon in the woods. My buddyís sonís ankle was still bothering him, even after one of the Boy Scout leaders (also an EMT) wrapped it up, so they decided to backtrack to E and roadwalk back to the trailhead. They encouraged me to go on without them and complete the loop. Who knows when or if Iíll ever get back down to Zaleski, so at 9 AM we parted ways and I headed down the south loop. Thereís something about hiking alone that I really enjoy. Maybe itís the solitude and being more aware of your surrounding. Your mind wanders and it affects my spirit. 3 hours and 7.2 miles later, I arrived at the parking lot, loaded up and hit the road for the 5 hour drive back to Michigan. We did have to take a short break and stop for some BBQ south of Columbus.

    All in all, it was a great trip. We enjoyed the scenery and the challenging trails. Most importantly, we got to spend a long weekend and experience a new place to backpack.

    Link to photos from the trip:
    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...p?albumid=2762

  2. #2

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    Glad you enjoyed some Ohio hiking even if you were only doing it to get away from the weather.

    David

  3. #3
    Senior Member Slo's Avatar
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    We were hiking around eachother all weekend.

    I saw a couple hammock guys but none with underquilts, looked like people just getting into figuring the whole hammock thing out.

    That boyscout troop was monsterous, they were at C friday night.

    Hope you enjoyed yourself down here. Different from the pine barrens and sand dunes.
    "I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"

    - George Strait

  4. #4
    michigandave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo View Post
    We were hiking around eachother all weekend.

    I saw a couple hammock guys but none with underquilts, looked like people just getting into figuring the whole hammock thing out.

    That boyscout troop was monsterous, they were at C friday night.

    Hope you enjoyed yourself down here. Different from the pine barrens and sand dunes.
    I think I saw that group at D on Saturday night....the ones camped about 200 feet past the "do not camp beyond this point". In fact, there were a couple groups down there even though they could have worked out a space further down the ridge in the legal camping area. One thing I forgot to mention in my report: does the open handgun carry law apply to parks? When I was getting water later in the evening one of the guys from one of those groups had a handgun strapped on his waist. I honestly don't know what you'd need protection for down there and was surprised to see it. Michigan has lots of pine and sand, but northern michigan and the UP have some incredible trail systems. I encourage anyone to come up and check it out!
    Last edited by michigandave; 04-13-2013 at 10:51.

  5. #5

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    Great trip report michigandave and the dealing with the temp conditions. Good time of the year for hiking. Been to Shawnee on a 9.0 mi loop, which is close to Zaleski and it its very "Hilly" too. Lol Not a good place to start your hiking career. Boots with good ankle support a must. Hope his son mended quickly.
    "Take me away to a quiet place where beings melt into inner space. Every step brings me closer to see, my haven away beneath the trees." From Beneath the Trees by Everett Dort

  6. #6
    Senior Member HamMike's Avatar
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    Glad you enjoyed Zaleski! It's one of our groups regular spots. You missed out on the Pine plantation by cuting your dayhike down. I definately recommend doing the whole north loop. I don't think I would want to leave my stuff all setup without someone staying back. Great report let us know when you're comin back!
    "He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man." Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    Please check out the link below to show your love for hammocks!www.zazzle.com/hammocklife

  7. #7
    Senior Member Slo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michigandave View Post
    I think I saw that group at D on Saturday night....the ones camped about 200 feet past the "do camp beyond this point". In fact, there were a couple groups down there even though they could have worked out a space further down the ridge in the legal camping area. One thing I forgot to mention in my report: does the open handgun carry law apply to parks? When I was getting water later in the evening one of the guys from one of those groups had a handgun strapped on his waist. I honestly don't know what you'd need protection for down there and was surprised to see it. Michigan has lots of pine and sand, but northern michigan and the UP have some incredible trail systems. I encourage anyone to come up and check it out!
    There are defacto sites set up outside of those markers, which are fairly new at that.

    And open carry varies state to state. Was it a handsome guy with a beard and tattoos?

    Most people don't say, what're the odds I'll need my gun today, should I carry? Most just do it because it's become a philosophy. I do however, carry my IWB vs. OWB for conealment since some people start getting skiddish when they see someone with a gun, palms start sweatin' So, even when I can open carry, to be considerate of some people's delicate sensibilities I still conceal.

    FYI, I know PLENTY of old timers that carry TO CHURCH. Those rowdy guys.
    "I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"

    - George Strait

  8. #8
    Senior Member HamMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo View Post
    There are defacto sites set up outside of those markers, which are fairly new at that.

    And open carry varies state to state. Was it a handsome guy with a beard and tattoos?

    Most people don't say, what're the odds I'll need my gun today, should I carry? Most just do it because it's become a philosophy. I do however, carry my IWB vs. OWB for conealment since some people start getting skiddish when they see someone with a gun, palms start sweatin' So, even when I can open carry, to be considerate of some people's delicate sensibilities I still conceal.

    FYI, I know PLENTY of old timers that carry TO CHURCH. Those rowdy guys.
    It wasn't me Slo!
    "He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man." Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    Please check out the link below to show your love for hammocks!www.zazzle.com/hammocklife

  9. #9
    michigandave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HamMike View Post
    Glad you enjoyed Zaleski! It's one of our groups regular spots. You missed out on the Pine plantation by cuting your dayhike down. I definately recommend doing the whole north loop. I don't think I would want to leave my stuff all setup without someone staying back. Great report let us know when you're comin back!
    I looked at google earth after I got back and in hindsight I'd have liked to gone further but I knew we had a long day ahead plus we didn't want to push my friends 14 yo son too hard. We had packed our gear up and stashed it in one tent. No one else was still around the campground plus it was still early. I figured no one would be showing up until after 12 because of the distance. I've never left gear before, but its the first time we'd ever had a chance to take off on a loop hike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Slo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HamMike View Post
    It wasn't me Slo!
    lmao literally
    "I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"

    - George Strait

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