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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by GAS GUY, Mar 14, 2020.
Nice seeing turbo Jim abuse that street bike
Friday 22 May 2020
On Friday, Jim decided to hang around the cabin in Hubbard Lake - to do some chores and relax.
So I rode solo. Never turned the radio on.
The night before while sitting around the cabin and poring over the national forest map, I'd strung together a series of forest service roads that piqued my interest while jotting the numbers down on a piece of paper sequentially - that I would display in my map pouch on top of the tank bag. Many of these forest roads are short in distance, so I wanted to follow a specific route that would expose as many new trails and areas to me as efficiently as possible. Often I just arbitrarily ramble around. Today, I'd institute some structure.
Huron National Forest Road 4433
Just northeast of Glennie. The sky full of white clouds contrasting against the blue sky was so striking that for a moment I departed the sandy trail and parked the GSA up on the thick, grassy shoulder for a picture. The moment was more vivid than the photograph portrays. The clouds and sky would continue to be a highlight throughout this perfect spring day. On this stretch of trail, as I headed west, an open meadow was on my right while the forest was on my left.
I’m always peering deeper into the forest while riding. The spring greenery is pushing it's way up through the leaf-strewn forest floor. The forest transitions from birch and beech to evergreens and hardwoods. The thin forest canopy reflects off the dark, glassy liquid of a low, marshy area alongside the trail.
Huron National Forest Road 4119
Continental TKC 70 tires are definitely lacking in the sandy road department ... but we make do where we have to.
Found this large, flat dispersed campsite in Huron National Forest at the southern end of road 3967 to which I'll take note for a future visit. I'd taken Forest Road 4119 west to the northern end of 3967 - which I then proceeded to follow south to this campsite. Forest Road 3967 was fantastic in it's entirety. There had been wood clearing along the sides of the trail on much of it and there were sections with a fresh gravel base on the trails surface.
At the northern juncture of this road, I took a break and was delighted upon removing my earplugs to hear the magical yet haunting flute-like song of the Hermit Thrush. My absolute favorite bird-song. A big draw for me to this Huron National Forest is the invariable audible exposure to the Hermit Thrush. The element it adds to vibe of the forest is indescribable as the bird's echo-like tones rise and fall.
Forest Road 3967 (Southern End)
Leaving the dispersed campsite and heading south, you pass through this pine forest before intersecting with Forest Road 4307. Hang a right and it brings you out onto Au Sable Road. If instead, you hang a left, it delivers you to Alcona Trail.
Out on Au Sable Road is Alcona Park on Alcona Dam Pond with camping. The High Banks Overlook is also just up the road. Glennie is just southeast via Bamfield Road. Au Sable Valley Scenic Vista is very close at the southern end of Au Sable Road where it meets Bamfield. Lot's to stimulate your senses in this general area.
My Mongolia trip just got cancelled for the second year in a row, so I think my daughter and I will head to Ohio if we can cross the border this summer. Your pictures of Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Conkles Hollow Gorge, and Rock House make them all must sees. You also mentioned Cantwell Cliffs and that looks good too.
Huron National Forest - Forest Road 2048
Kirtland's Warbler Territory again. This time thee southern end of Forest Road 2048. The surface conditions on this trail were absolutely ideal. Deceiving to the eye as it was primarily sand. These rare conditions were probably due to the recent logging operation and the associated equipment compacting the surface through repetitive use; this combined with the spring rains created a surface that was ideal for carrying speed, even on a big loaded bike. It felt surreal railing effortlessly through this area at speed.
The clouds were insane on this brilliant day.
Coffee -Time; Headed for that Woodline
It's hot! It's 80 degrees and muggy. That island of trees will afford some shade.
I'm really digging this area of Michigan; the "River Road" area of the Au Sable River and the surrounding Huron National Forest, both north and south of the river.
Ever since I'd briefly reconnoitered this region in June of 2018, a vow to make repetitive trips back was made. This was an area that impressed me in such a way that I want to explore the nooks and crannies until I become intimate with all it has to offer.
This would be my third (of many more to come) visit.
I'm planning on purchasing ORV stickers for the GSA for 2021 so I've the option to explore some of the designated ORV trails as well as the plethora of intersecting forest roads.
Hadn't seen another soul out here for most of the day, when DNR came slowly rolling up in an officially marked pickup truck, as I sat on a tree stump alongside the trail contemplating life and sipping a cold-brew coffee out of a bottle that looked like an old fashioned beer.
They came to a halt and exited the truck looking like two guys from a SWAT unit. This was in the heart of the initial covid pandemic panic on the 22nd of May in 2020. While I was technically doing nothing wrong ... I braced myself for a potential attitude.
They were incredibly cordial and the whole conversation consisted of them asking all about the GSA and all of the places it's been. They were admiring the pannier stickers and upgrades. It was obvious that they understood motorcycles.
Kirtland's Warblers Fight For Survival
At the intersection of Shellenbarger Road (#4302) and Binder Road (#4408) plots of trees have been planted to create habitat that supports this rare warbler.
This open area was recently regenerated to provide future suitable nesting conditions for the Kirtland's Warbler. This endangered warbler is a songbird that nests in only this area of Michigan and migrates to its wintering grounds in the Bahamas. It nests only in young jack pine forests on sandy soils. Adequate nesting areas consist of approximately 320 acres or larger. The Kirtland's Warbler management areas are usually burned to reduce the residues left from logging. The areas are then densely planted with jack pine seedlings. About 1250 seedlings per acre are planted to create desirable nesting conditions.
Kirtland's Warblers will begin nesting in areas such as this one when the trees reach about 5 feet high (about seven years old). The warbler will nest on the ground along the edges of small openings. They will continue to use this area until needles on the lower branches of the trees start dropping off. This usually occurs when the trees reach a height of 16 to 20 feet (about 20 years old).
This area will be harvested again after the trees reach about 50 years old and the warblers have ceased nesting here. Repeating the cycle will result in a continuous supply of nesting habitat for the warbler. These areas also provide important habitat for the other species such as Upland Sandpipers, Bluebirds, Kestrels, Snowshoe Hares, and Whitetail Deer.
Au Sable River - Foote Pond
This is the Foote Pond Scenic Overlook - which is located along River Road in the Huron National Forest.
The Au Sable River Watershed is northern Michigan's largest watershed.
The 130-mile river eventually empties into Lake Huron near the town of Oscoda.
Took a break from the forest roads of Huron National Forest and rode the 16-miles or so to Oscoda before finding an isolated beach environment along the sandy shores of Lake Huron. You wouldn't believe the temperature drop in that short distance. Even the humidity disappeared; the deep and cold Lake Huron is natures way of conditioning the air in these parts. What a welcome contrast.
Thanks for posting this Jeff. I knew nothing about that warbler before this. Live and learn (something new every day) hopefully.
Enjoyed the ride along, and the warbler details, had to look it up. As always there is much to take in. Thanks