The chance of enjoying a gorgeous autumnal vision and sipping french press coffee on a cliff overlooking foggy winding river and colorful trees seemed irresistible. We gave in to the urge to return to this hilly, curvy, and scenic trail and hike in the midst of falling leaves. It was early fall in Michigan after all, a beautiful time of the year to go for a hike.
I came to a realization during the trip. The desire to experience nature’s hidden beauties up close demanded the willingness to do some work. For this one, it required a 23-mile hike with a backpack in a forest and sleeping in a tent in torrential rain and thundering sky, that shook the ground beneath the sleeping bag and pad, for two nights. It also asked for the determination to keep going despite the rain and a sunny attitude even when the feet and shoulders started to throb. Still, efforts did pay off.
Photos properties of The Traveling Chili Pepper
Location: Michigan Manistee River Trail
Some of the backpacks: Deuter and Osprey
Some of the sleeping bags: Lafuma and Sierra Design
Sleeping pads pump by Camp-Tek
Shoes (waterproof, trail/hiking): Columbia and Merrell
Check out REI for more cool backpacking/hiking gears
Some rain gears: Campmor, Marmot, Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardware, Integral Designs
The trees looked ablaze in their radiant colors. Bright morning sunlight amplified the vibrancy of the earthy tones. Dark green, bright yellow, dark orange, to blood-red seemed to color the foliage along the road to the Manistee National Forest.
We wanted to experience fall colors up close (and be outdoors as much as we could). So we headed to the northwest part of Michigan where the colors were at their peak. A hiking trail inside of the national forest overlooking a curvy river was the perfect choice. The sun was bright and the air was warm. It felt like summer weather came back in early October. The scenic trail and the breeze kept us cool and made our eight-mile hike easy. The colorful leaves seemed to filter and soften the sunlight that tried to sneak inside of the woods. They created a soft yellowish-green tone that illuminated the forest.
The sound of the leaves swaying and the river flowing became our soundtrack along the way. What a fine day!
Photos property of The Traveling Chili Pepper
More on Manistee River Trail: Fall Hike