Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hiking the Batona Trail

TrailI set out to hike the 50-something mile Batona Trail - recent reroutes have stretched it past its original 50 miles - over Thanksgiving. I didn't make it. But the part I did see was well worth it.

As I tend to be overly fixated on the landscape equivalent of charismatic megafauna, I was worried I'd find the trail dull. Certainly some hikers have. But the trail was surprisingly beautiful. It is mostly "just woods," although a few ponds break things up - it's not a trail of waterfalls, clifftop views, and dramatic rock formations. It reminded me of middle Tennessee's cedar glades, and my dad pointed out it looked like the land near one of their homes in the Upper Peninsula. In general, the UP has taller trees, but the Marquette area has sandier soil, much like the Pine Barrens.

PondThe trail is completely flat - at least the part that I did, from Bass River to Batsto. Later on, Apple Pie Hill is the high point of the area and it features a fire tower. Flat means less scenic variety, but it's also easier hiking. As this was my first backpacking trip in about three and a half years, I was okay with easier. (I was still feeling it.)

At night, the temperature dropped close to freezing. That was chillier than I like to sleep outside in. On the plus side, it means way less to worry about in the way of insects, and not drinking gallons of water like one would in the heat.

SandI'm not sure what my total mileage was, as I'm not sure how much longer the reroute at the beginning of the hike was. Best guess is that day 1 was between 12 and 13, including the road walk, and day 2 was almost 17, again including the road walk out.

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