Piers Gorge Hiking Trail

Piers Gorge Hiking Trail The Piers Gorge hiking trail is short, only about a mile and a half, making for a 3 mile out and back hike. Piers Gorge, located on the Michigan-Wisconsin border, is formed by the Menominee River. The name is derived from the waterfalls that jut out across the river like “piers”. … Read more

Klean Kanteen Review

I’ve had my Klean Kanteen Wide 40 oz. single wall water bottle since 2008. It’s not sexy, it’s not expensive, and it’s not the item that most gear heads would ever brag about. But it is reliable, durable, and trustworthy. Exactly what you want in a backpacking partner. Of all of the backpacking and camping … Read more

Camping on South Manitou Island

South Manitou island is located in Lake Michigan about seven miles from Leland, Michigan and is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It was once inhabited and home to farming and logging and was an essential re-fueling stop during the steamship era on the Great Lakes. During the 1970’s it became part of … Read more

Ghosts and Hauntings of South Manitou Island

I was waiting at the dock on North Manitou Island waiting for the ferry to take me back to the mainland when I overheard a conversation between two national park rangers. They were talking in hushed tones about how, the night before, another ranger on South Manitou island had apparently went berserk, brandished his firearm, … Read more

Things to see on North Manitou Island

(Updated May 13, 2018) North Manitou Island is a popular backpacking destination due to its easy access and being one of only a few designated wilderness areas in the Midwest. Many backpackers who visit North Manitou try to hike as much of the island as possible and to see as many attractions as possible. Depending … Read more

Things to do on North Manitou Island

North Manitou Island is located eight miles off the coast of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. To get there requires a ferry ride, an overnight stay, and planning. With that in mind, visitors often ask, “What are the things to do on North Manitou Island?”Backpacking and Hiking on North Manitou IslandNorth Manitou Island is a … Read more

Why Do I Need Hiking Crampons?

What are Hiking Crampons? Hiking crampons are designed to add traction to hiking boots. Unlike mountaineering crampons, they are flexible to permit long distance walking. Strictly speaking, in the mountaineering world, hiking crampons don’t exist but rather they are called “traction devices”. But for the rest of us we call them crampons, trails spikes or … Read more

Why Do I Need Trekking Poles?

In some circles, trekking poles are considered “Nerdy”. The fact is that they can help make your hiking or backpacking safer and easier on your body. Why You Need Trekking Poles More stability on ice, snow, mud, wet leaves, loose sand gravel, scree. Added power going uphill. Safer when descending hills, steps, and drop-offs. They … Read more

Altra Lone Peak NeoShell Shoe Review

The Altra Lone Peak NeoShell is the water resistant, insulated version of the Lone Peak. While billed as a trail running shoe, the Altra Lone Peak has become a popular favorite in the ultralight backpacking community. Speaking of favorites, see how and why Altra became my favorite shoe. Using a waterproof yet breathable membrane fabric … Read more

Why I Wear Altra Shoes

One evening after an easy three-mile walk, I began to limp. My left foot had developed a pain on the outside edge near the base of the little toe. This pain came out of nowhere. I was perplexed as I hadn’t done anything noticeable. I typically went for a three mile walk each evening after … Read more

Hiking to Mount LeConte Lodge

Nestled high up in the Smoky Mountains is Mount LeConte Lodge. Named after the peak that is sits on, the lodge is only accessible by foot. Mount LeConte Lodge offers tremendous panoramic views of the Smoky Mountain National park and since one must hike at least a few hours to access the lodge, it is … Read more

Backpacking North Manitou Island

UPDATE – The ferry to North Manitou is running again after being shut down due to COVID-19 in 2020. Introduction Be sure to check out Things to do on North Manitou Island as well as Things to see on North Manitou Island. Backpacking North Manitou Island Located 8 miles offshore from Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear … Read more