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Wilderness Tripping: Winter
Pigeon River Country State Forest
Cornwall Creek Flooding area
Otsego & Cheboygan County(s)
December 2-5, 2005
Highlights from a crosscountry,
winter, backpacking trek
through the expansive
Pigeon River Country State Forest
By C. A. Susan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
View Gail Staisil's photo
album from this trip
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- Eating around the fire at our lunch stop on Friday,
our first day out.
- The pot support (for hanging a pot to boil water)
over the lunchtime fire: a big, long, branch supported two-thirds of
the way along its length by a thick stump - a "pot crane"
as Michael calls it.
- Along the same lines, the artistic nature of the
three bent and twisted branches that Mary used to make her traditional
tripod for hanging her dinner pot over the fire on Friday night.
- Friday night's campsite along Cornwall Lake: a
wonderful point surrounded by water on three sides (not to mention a
cold, clear sky full of stars that turned into a beautiful sunrise the
- Chris hiking in on Friday night, guided to our
site by his navigation skills and, eventually, by Michael's strobe light
hung from a tree just outside of camp.
- Collecting firewood by headlamp on Friday night
in the woods beyond our campsite.
- Building and tending my first wood fire in my
homemade hobo stove (a coffee can with an oval-shaped hole cut into
its side, through which sticks can be fed to keep the fire going).
- Filling my water bottle from a hole cut in the
lake ice, and hearing the clink of the thin ice as it broke around its
- Hearing the coyotes yipping and calling in the
- Land nav on Saturday morning when no one asked
what azimuth I was following or double checked my plan. :)
- Group photos at the overlook, and looking back
out over the land through which we had traveled and Cornwall Lake where
we had camped the previous night.
- Looking at Milton's simple, functional homemade
- Bushwhacking through the swamp late Saturday afternoon
in our first attempt to reach our night's bivouac goal: the high ridge
along the east side of the Black River.
- Enjoying the view at dusk on Saturday from our
campsite on the ridge overlooking the Black River.
- The golden glow of Gail's shelter after dark on
- Hiking out on Sunday: checking out the northern
end of the ridges beyond our campsite, bushwhacking through the wooded
swamp behind Chris who knocked snow showers onto my head from the trees.
- Meeting a local hunter, off trail in the bush
on our last day, and sharing the hike out with him.
- Seeing that snow covered hill rising out of the
swamp on Saturday, finally (which meant we had made it to our camp site
- just cross the little stream, then up onto the ridge - yea!).
- Mary having to leave us early because of her back
injury - we missed her. :(
- In our bushwhack through the swamp on Saturday,
hearing Michael call back to stop because we were being turned back
by impassable conditions. I was crestfallen. :(
All in all, though, my trip memories are fine ones
that will stay with me for years to come.
Read another photo-journal.
wilderness lies the hope of the world,
the great, fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.
John Muir 1838-1914, Alaska Wilderness, 1890
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