Exploring the Newaygo River Valley Wonderland Hiking Trails

Exploring the River Valley Wonderland and “feeling good” about it

Newaygo County was named after Chippewa Indian Chief: Naw-wa-goo, one of the signers of the Treaty of Saginaw in 1812. The county has over 230 natural lakes and over 350 miles of rivers and streams. Three huge dams were built after the turn of the century: Croton, Hardy and Newaygo. Croton and Hardy Dams remain today, with Hardy the largest earthen dam east of the Mississippi.

The Muskegon River continues to be the main attraction for summer cottage residents and fishermen, who find it nearly the best source for steelhead in the spring and salmon in the fall anywhere in Michigan. Hiking is excellent, as over half the county is contained in the Manistee National Forest.

Hiking is becoming a desired activity for Newaygo tourists. The ultimate reason to hike is for personal enjoyment, but there are other goals that can be achieved when hitting a trail. Most people enjoy hiking because it makes them feel good to exercise and enjoy nature. Here are three reasons why hiking is becoming so popular.

Getting outdoors – Most of us live and work indoors the majority of our everyday lives. To be outdoors and just enjoy being outside and experiencing all that entails can be the ultimate reason people like to hike. Fresh air, the sounds of birds and other animals, tall trees, blue sky, majestic creeks, flowing rivers and deep valleys all contribute to a sense of contentment and even inner connection to nature and the earth.

Physical Health – Hiking is a very physically healthy activity. It helps improve your circulation, strengthen muscles, build stronger bones, and contribute to overall as opposed to simple walking for exercise, work a variety of different muscles due to the uneven terrain that is found on hiking trails. Climbing, even if it is just up a steep embankment, will increase your strength and improve your sense of balance.

Emotional Health – Leaving the hustle and bustle of our daily routine to hike through trails and into valleys inevitably has a calming effect. Hiking is a great way to ease your mind. There is something that happens after your first few steps on the trail, all the heavy burdens you were carrying around in your mind become a little lighter and sometimes disappear. It becomes easy to open up your mind and think about issues and people. You may very well find your mind opening up to ideas or answers to problems that you had before. It is a great opportunity to contemplate subjects you may have consciously forgotten as well as some that may be fresh in your mind. Hiking simply “feels good”.

Here are a few recommended hiking trails in Newaygo County to explore and experience the great outdoors in Michigan. The following rails ranges from one to five miles long :

The Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary found its beginnings in 1938 when the US Forestry Service invited the Federated Garden Club of Michigan to participate in creating a sanctuary for native Michigan plants. The area consists of a small lake, a marsh and wooded area. There are over 150 different species of plants, wildflowers, trees and vegetation marked with posts that correspond to the trail guide available. The trail is about 1.5 miles long. A picnic area with grills and an outhouse is available for use by the trailhead. The sanctuary is located about 7 miles north of White Cloud. Head north out of White Cloud on M-37 and turn west at 5 Mile Road, then turn north onto Felch Ave and drive until you see the sign below. The entrance is right in front of the sign.

The Hardy Dam Rustic Nature Trail is a cooperative project of the Boy Scouts of America and Consumers Energy Employees. The trail is a three mile round trip, along the Muskegon River. The trail is unpaved and and winds over various types of terrain. Be sure to bring a good pair of tightly tied hiking boots as the trail in some places winds along the sides of some very steep hills. Also 26 species of trees are identified along the trail, identified with posts so be sure to pick up your trail guide by the trailhead. Parking is available right by the Hardy Dam at its northwest end.


Wetland Trail is a 1.25 mile boardwalk through a sphagnum bog. The project cost over 30,000 dollars and was financed by the Fremont Area Foundation. In some area’s the sphagnum is as much as 40 feet deep, highly unusual. The area is full of wildlife such as great blue heron’s, kingfishers, owl’s, turtles, and muskrats. The Trail is located on the east side of Pickerel Lake at Camp Newaygo. The trail is free and open to the public.

The Coolbough Natural Areas is a 400-acre preserve owned by Brooks Township and managed jointly with The Nature Conservancy. The diversity of habitats is one of the features of the Coolbough Natural Areas that makes any visit an exciting trip. Visitors have the chance to explore ponds and wetlands, hike through white pine and white oak forest, search for butterflies and wildflowers on prairie and barrens remnants, and listen to the bubbling waters of Bigelow and Coolbough Creeks. Hunting is allowed for white-tail deer on this preserve to reduce an unnaturally high deer population in the area and reduce threats too many deer pose to our conservation targets. The preserve features an extensive trail system with horseback riding permitted on designated trails. Bring your binoculars for spectacular views of wildlife. Location from Newaygo, take M-37 to Croton Drive (at the intersection immediately north of the Muskegon River). Turn east on Croton and go 3.7 miles to Barberry Avenue. Turn north and go one mile; Barberry will end at 58th Street. Turn east (right) on 58th, which will curve to the north to become Hazelwood. The parking lot is on the corner of 58th and Hazelwood.

Airlines Credit Cards: Choosing The Best Fit

An airlines credit card provides significant benefits to anyone that travels regularly, or that would like to earn airline miles. Many of the lenders offering this type of credit card are unique from each other. Therefore, when deciding on and choosing the best fit, be sure to read all terms and agreements before signing up for these lines of credit. One of the most obvious differences between airlines credit cards and standard reward based credit cards is that they offer airline miles, usually through frequent flyer miles.

Compare Them Carefully

When you consider opening a new airlines credit card, take time to compare and contrast at least several card offers to find the best fit. You will need to consider any personal requirements that you have or any loyalties you might have to one airline or the next. Additionally, consider all of the terms of related offers to ensure you receive the best opportunity. Here are a few things to consider when looking for the best choice in an airlines credit card.

Does The Airline Matter?

Those that prefer to fly on one particular airline will need to select a credit card offer from a partner of that airline. Most of the larger airlines pair up with a credit card provider to offer a rewards based program through them. These are often referred to as “co-branded” cards. If you consistently utilize the same airline, logic would dictate that using a co-branded credit card to earn frequent flyer miles on that specific airline would be the best way to go. Airlines credit card offers like this are readily available to those that qualify. But choose carefully…

Analyzing The Terms

When choosing airlines credit cards, look thoroughly through the terms and conditions of each card. Not all rewards cards are the same. Some offer better interest rates than others. Some may allow you to earn frequent flyer miles at a faster pace. One very important thing to look for when considering these cards is the expiration of miles. Some of these rewards programs for airlines cards have miles that will expire if they are not redeemed within a specific timeframe, so you’ll end up losing them if you don’t use them quickly enough. Some airlines have very strict policies regarding their frequent flyer miles accounting. For example, you may earn twice as much on airline ticket purchases with your line of credit than you would earn on standard purchases.

What Are The Perks

Many believe that frequent flyer miles offered by airline credit card offers are strictly for providing free airline miles, or free airline tickets. While this is the best choice, if you have not earned enough points, you may qualify for other discounts or upgrades. Upgrading to first class may be an option, or discounts at hotels and car rentals may be part of the offer.

Simply put, take the time to analyze and compare at least several offers before selecting one. Determine which will provide you with the best return on your investment based on how you will use it. If you plan to use it strictly for travel, then ensure it provides additional rewards for hotels and other travel related expenses, for example. But at a minimum, take the time to do an in-depth comparison of each offer to determine if it fits the bill best for you.

Backpacking for Beginners. Choosing the Right Backpack

Backpacking is a great way of getting fit, while enjoying what nature has to offer in the Great Outdoors. It is becoming an increasingly more popular leisure pastime. But Backpacking For Beginners can be a little bit daunting when it comes to choosing the right type of gear, and even uncomfortable if you do not buy the right backpack for you.Buy the best backpack that you can afford, and try to buy it from a store that specialises in outdoor activities. Ask the advice of the shop staff, especially if they are hikers or backpackers themselves. Some stores will actually pack a backpack for you, so you can get a feel for it and see how comfortable (or not) it is.

There are many types of backpacks, from daypacks that will allow you to carry just enough gear, food, and water, for a days hiking. Right up to huge expedition size packs that will carry all you need for weeks and weeks of travel.

To start with I would suggest buying something in between these, something that would be fine for a days hiking, (remember a pack that is slightly too big can still be used without being full. Where as a pack that is too small will not hold all the things you may need for a longer trip.) Again talk to the shop staff, and explain what type of backpacking you intend to use it for.

Make sure your backpack has a padded hip belt, as this makes the pack far more comfortable to carry on longer trips. And also makes the whole load more stable and stops it from bouncing around on your back, especially when walking on rougher ground.

Buy a pack with a decent amount of external pockets, for all the items that you will need to hand during the day. (This will stop you from having to empty out the main pack to find things that are at the bottom.) I like to keep things like my cooker, food, and water in side pockets so it is easy to get at when I want to stop for a hot drink or a snack.

Backpacks with a separate lower compartment are great for keeping your sleeping bag, and kip mat etc, again just for the ease of locating them, this way you know exactly where everything is at any time.Do not forget to keep everything dry, either with a waterproof liner or in individual plastic bags.

Lastly when you are happy with your pack, do not try to do too much on your first hike. Start off with small day hikes and build up to long weekenders, before you attempt any major expeditions. Most importantly ENJOY IT after all it should be FUN not a chore.

Important! Travel Tips For All Travelers

travel packing tips
Even if you opt for cheap travels, it should remain fun and exciting. The way to enjoy your cheap travels is to travel smart. One of the most important considerations when traveling is money. You can save money by selecting cheaper accommodation and airfares.

And on your travel, it is extremely important to keep your travel money safe. Most seasoned travelers and travel experts recommend keeping valuables in a hidden wallet or travel pouch, either wrapped around your waist under your clothes or hung around your neck under your shirt.

Another great travel tip is to reduce the chance of theft by keeping majority of your cash in the hotel’s safe. Take out enough for each day to pay for necessary items. When using credit cards, make sure that the establishment or shop looks alright. Credit cards provide valuable consumer protection and the best currency exchange rates as well.

Here is one very valuable travel tip to keep a lost or stolen wallet from bringing your vacation to an abrupt end. Many seasoned travelers pack an extra wallet in their suitcase or backpack. This wallet will contain only a credit card or two and perhaps an ATM card. That way, if you lose your primary wallet, you still have access to ready cash for the rest of your cheap travel.

It is also a good idea to make an itinerary and leave it at home with family members or a trusted friend. This way, they can contact you in the event of any emergencies. You could also keep copies of your identification papers, travelers check numbers, and a photocopy of your passport, at home.

Some travelers carry their passport with them all the time. The reason for that is because the passport provides an additional piece of information and that is important if your wallet is lost or stolen while on your cheap travel. Since it is impossible to board a plane these days without ID, having an extra form of ID can make your life a lot easier.

Another travel tip is to make several copies of your important travel documents – flight reservations, hotel confirmations, rental car receipts, etc. Put each copy in a different place – one or two in different parts of the suitcase or backpack, one in your back pocket, one in your purse or carry-on, etc. Also record important phone numbers in the address book of your cell phone for easy access.

Always remember to have the basic medical information such as blood type, allergy (if any), medications, etc. If you need your medication frequently, don’t pack them in your checked luggage. Instead, always have them with you in your hand-carry luggage.

With these important travel tips, you should be on your way to enjoying safer and smarter cheap travels.

Understanding Ski Mountaineering

As the years go by, people are increasingly interested in exploring new ways to push themselves when it comes to sports and other activities. Ski mountaineering is one such way that people can push themselves and find new ways to experience the thrills of various sports. Combining the skills required for both skiing and rock climbing, ski mountaineering is not a sport for the faint of heart.Ski mountaineering relies on similar skiing techniques to that of ski touring. The main difference, though, is people who participate in ski touring rely on “safe” areas that have excellent powder conditions, sheltered fields, and superior conditions, particularly when it comes to descending the mountain. Ski mountaineers, however, have no reservations about skiing every part of the mountain, including areas that are covered by ice, rocks, and even glaciers. Someone who was ski touring would avoid those areas, as they present unique challenges and can be extremely difficult for the skier to traverse and travel safely.

Ski mountaineers ski more than they climb, but depending on the route they choose and its unique challenges, there will be areas they are forced to climb, using typical mountaineering techniques and equipment. As such, a ski mountaineer, in addition to ski equipment, will also have climbing equipment, including axes, ropes, and other aids that will make the climbing legs of their activities for the day safer. That said, the climbing aspect is secondary to skiing, and the goal is to get over the most impossible terrains – the ones that simply could not be passed while wearing skis – and carry on skiing. The true challenge of ski mountaineering is to ski as much of the mountain as possible.

Ski mountaineering can not be done on every mountain, due to the varying conditions present. It is a popular activity in Europe, particularly in the Alps, the Tatra, and the Pyrenees, where people will spend days traveling the different terrains in this fashion. North American mountain ranges provide ample opportunity for people to ski mountaineer, particularly the Sierra Nevadas. It is also somewhat common in New Zealand and South America, but to a much lesser extent.

While they are not the most common or heavily promoted races in the sporting world, there are also ski mountaineering races. They involve racers tackling a predetermined course with multiple checkpoints that they must pass through in order to complete the race. The goal is to be the first to the finish line. All racers are expected to work on their own strengths and can use the equipment and techniques of their choice to traverse the mountain grounds. Although these races do happen, they are not an Olympic sport, as is the case with other skiing events, though that could change as the sport gains exposure and acceptance in the skiing and adventure sport community.

As you can see, ski mountaineering is a very exciting development for skiing and climbing enthusiasts. By combining the two sports and their unique aspects into one, it creates a series of new challenges for skiers, climbers, and adventurers of all sorts. It also presents new opportunities to stretch oneself to new physical and mental limits – or even surpass anything they ever thought they were physically capable of.