Another blissful day–
I had the day off and decided to try out some bike trails I’d heard about near Bliss. The trails begin in Wilderness State Park and run along the shore of Lake Michigan by Cecil Bay. I’m usually more of a single track mountain bike fan– level surfaces require too much effort put in for the amount of fun gotten out of the activity in my opinion. But, sometimes it is nice to just leisurely tour around an area by bicycle, no adrenaline rush necessary.
Through my work, I’ve recently become aware of the impressive efforts being made by organizations in the area to create an extensive trail system in the northern lower peninsula. Top of Michigan Trails Council and local governments have expanded the already existing trail system to include routes stretching from Gaylord all the way up to Mackinac, east to Alpena and on the west coast from Harbor Springs all the way to Charlevoix (soon perhaps to be connected with Boyne City). The possibilities for non-motorized recreation and transportation are remarkable and in the process of expanding!
It was warm and sunny. One of those days in September where you’re aware there may not be another day like this again until Spring. We parked our car at Cecil Bay park. I’d never been there before. It has a picnic table under a gazebo structure in front of a tall, stone fireplace. The location would be amazing for an evening grill-out and bonfire.
We started our ride at the Nebo trail head and found another of the stone fireplaces by a lean-to for campers/hikers on the trails. It reminded me of the ones I had seen (and used) when hiking the Appalachian Trail late February one year in college. It occurred to me: I’ve lived in Michigan for more than two decades and every week I’m still able to discover something new. Could I live here another six or even seven decades and still be able to discover new things? I’m confident there will always be something to inspire and excite me and to amaze me with its novelty. Northern Michigan is layered, exciting and because of the variety in the wilderness, people and businesses I can’t imagine it ever getting old.
The trails were wide, essentially two tracks. They were slightly wet in some areas, with cedar swamp off to the side and sandy in other areas. They were overall flat and easy to ride. We stopped to pick wild blueberries along the side of the trail for a snack.
We stopped at the Bliss store on the way back home from our bike ride. I remember getting amazing honey and beeswax at the store several years ago from a guy who lived nearby. I was sad to discover they no longer had it. Supposedly the store recently changed owners. It still had interesting vintage decorations like it used to, but the variety of items inside was lacking a bit. I looked around for some good food and didn’t find anything exciting. I think I remember it being a much cooler place a few years ago than it is now.
I can’t stop listening to Chris Bathgate right now. The Illinois native currently lives in Ann Arbor and is prominent in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti folk music scene. His music has been featured on NPR and he will be playing a benefit concert this Saturday, September 24 at Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center in Ellsworth.
Chris Bathgate- Buffalo Girl