One Beautiful Breakfast

I woke up on Labor Day at a crowded camp site.  It wasn’t as calm as we might have liked, but the Dam did provide a marvelous backdrop for one last breakfast before hitting the road.


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These steps were directly behind our camp site.  Making my way down proved harder than you would think after hiking 23 miles.




And because I had 2 nasty blisters on my feet from hiking in gym shoes.  Note to self…check out REI for hiking boots stat!


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On to a much more beautiful view…




The Tippy Dam, where we had warm morning beverages and whatever food was leftover for breakfast, with this adorable new friend.


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It was the perfect way to end our 3 day trip!








I’m looking forward to our next adventure!



More Manistee River Backpacking Posts:




Hiker’s Grub

Day 1

Day 2

Backpacking Recap Day 2

You can tell that I am in class this weekend because my mind is too fried to come up with more creative blog titles…ha ha!  In case you missed it, here is the Day 1 Recap and the homemade Hiker’s Grub.




We woke up Day 2 in our tent along the river.  We heated up some more water for tea/coffee and then ate breakfast while discussing our plan for the day.  We repacked up our gear and headed back out on the trail.




Only one slight problem…we had no idea which way to go!  Somehow the day before, we found our way along a side trail with no suspension bridge in site and weren’t exactly sure if we were north or south of the bridge.  Our map was not so helpful, but luckily during breakfast some kayakers paddled past our tent and were able to point us in the right direction.  We easily made our way back to the main trail laughing at how hard it would have been to miss the well marked trail, but all agreeing that this was the BEST mistake ever because it led us to our stellar camp site.




Back in the forest…along the trail…and making our way to the suspension bridge….



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The first sighting…




Brought much excitement!  We crossed the bridge and began our hike south along the Manistee River Trail.


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At the north end, the trail followed closely along the river and then zigged and zagged through the forest and back to the river.  We joked about all of the ‘ecosystems’ that we saw throughout our hike.




One of my favorite sites was the waterfall!




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Midday, we stopped for lunch along a ledge overlooking the river.




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Don’t you wish your lunch view always looked like this?




After lunch, we proceeded north.  This side of the river was filled with stunning views and interesting people!




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We kept our eyes open for the perfect camp site, but didn’t find anything near the river.  Instead, we found ourselves 11 miles back south right where we started, feeling tired and hungry.  We were able to trade some muffins for a few beers and set up our camp site for dinner. 


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And a little more Beth Cooper with Peanut Butter Chocolate deliciousness!




After hiking ~23 miles with all of our gear in 2 days, we were pretty exhausted.  We slept well although our popular camp site near the Dam was not nearly as peaceful and serene as Day 1’s river site.

Backpacking Recap Day 1

I love camping!  It has been years since I have slept under the stars in a tent, which is why I was so excited for our Labor Day backpacking weekend.  I should explain that I spent 8 summers at overnight camp in Wisconsin, and the highlight was always our canoe and camping trips. 





Somewhere (most likely in my parents basement), I think that I have these memorable trips documented in non-digital pictures, which would be fun to share.  However, I do have this old picture of my BFF and I at camp, circa 1994-ish.  Man, those were the days!


Back to 2012, I was super excited to hit the trails with my girlfriends.  My brother had some gear for me to borrow.  Although his first question was…how did you convince the BOY to go camping?  Like that would ever happen…the BOY spent the weekend comfortably in his lazy boy while the girls and I roughed it in Michigan.




We drove up Friday afternoon, stopping for dinner and beer at the New Holland Brewery.  We arrived at the trailhead late on Friday night and set up our camp site under the blue moon. 




Early Saturday morning, we awoke to a crisp morning with steam hovering over the river.




Breakfast was served and water was heated for coffee and tea.


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We took down our camp and prepared for our first day of hiking…which meant filling water bottles and applying temporary tattoos.




We drove to the trailhead where we parked our car, arranged our bags, and studied the map.


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With bags in tow, we began our backpacking adventure…but first, we had to decide which direction to go!


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We decided on the NCT trail heading north through the woods along the switchback hills and through the dense green woods.


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We stopped for lunch at a scenic part of the trail.  We made PB sandwiches with fig jelly and bananas.  They were super tasty and  satisfying!




And then laid back to relax with a some ‘I Love You, Beth Cooper!’, a hilarious book even if you aren’t from Illinois!


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We returned to the trail making our way north in the direction of the suspension bridge.


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There were some beautiful views of the forest, creeks, and bridges along the way…and I was happy to have my camera ready!




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After walking through the forest for ~12 miles, the trail finally made its way to the river bank.  We followed a path down towards the river, which was gorgeous, still heading towards the suspension bridge where we would cross the river.






There were people fishing and camping along the other side of the river, but our bank was quiet.




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We discovered the perfect camp site at the edge of the river, and decided to stay for the night, especially since the suspension bridge was no where in site.




In the next few hours, we set up our tent, went for a swim, took a nap, collected fire wood, made dinner, did some yoga by the river, read more Beth Cooper, made a fire, and then ate one of the best desserts EVER, chocolate peanut butter Jello No-Bake.






By the end of the day, I collapsed into the tent and slept wonderfully with the sound of the river lulling me to sleep!  Which was good…because we had a whole another day of hiking ahead of us!