It’s was a long two weeks, between work and duty, Grim (my dog) getting sick, my own anxiety over Grimm’s sickness. So last weekend I drove around for several hours, eventually I parked and debated on actually getting out of the Jeep and going for a hike. Hell this was the sole reason I drove out here.
The hike was an out an back, or if backpacking a thru-hike…. I had parked off M-20, west of M-37 and was only planning on hiking a few miles out and then basically turning around and hiking back. I hit the 3 mile mark, and the signage for one of the camping grounds. Checking my map, I could see it was only a short distance to the White Cloud River ….river being an optional term.
Frankly, when I think of a river, I see something in my head out of an Old West movie. John Wayne as Marshal Roster Cogburn standing on the banks of the wide river watching Mattie Ross guide her horse across to catch up….. aaaaaand I’ve probably lost half of you, having no clue that I’m talking about the movie True Grit. What can I say I’m a big John Wayne fan.
Ok, so I’ve already crossed one creek, “Rattle Snake Creek,” the two crossing bridges, one a normal looking foot bridge, the other being quiet a few 2x6s, two side by side and multiple laid end to end, creating a walking patch over a swampy area. Rattle Snake Creek. Most of the area is pine forest, it is very pretty in the mid afternoon fall sun light. The pine needles make little noise under foot. A few areas the pine turned to trees that their leeves had already fallen, crunching loudly underfoot. I’ll admit I was disappointed in the loss of leaves already. I had hoped to make it to this hike during peek or just before peek fall color change. I had missed it by a week, maybe two; only a very few trees, still held onto their leaves.
So. Three miles into my I come across the sign. It also says .7 miles to the next main road crossing; the river is before the main road. Ok. Within a half mile I come across a very long but decent length foot bridge, bridging the gap of a twisting creek. I decided this was a good spot to sit, have a clifbar and some water. What turned into a quick clifbar stretched out to over thirty minutes. The crickets, the slow trickling water and the breezy whisp of the dead grass softly rolling against itself. I could sit out here for hours, getting lost in the silence. The sun is warm on my shoulders with a slight breeze. This is why I hiked out here. To find isolated little areas like this.
There is just something about a moving body of water; it doesn’t matter how slow it’s moving. Just the sound of water, whether it’s a large body like Lake Michigan or something small like Rattle Snake Creek or White Cloud River. Something about the way it just countinues rolling around it’s curves and bends, absorbing a stone tossed in or carrying the fallen leaf with it’s current. From the gental sounds of a quiet river tapping the river banks, to a vicious sea, and her waves crashing violently against the sandy shore. I find tranquility in the sounds and emotions of the water…Maybe this is why I find sleep so much easier with the sound of rain. Only the realization of a 3 mile hike back and the quickly fading light breaks me from my serenity and gets me back on my feet to head back to my Jeep.