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Sierra Club Wilderness
trips and expeditions
Chapter: Michigan (Mackinac)
Group: Central Upper Peninsula (CUPG)
Leader: Michael Neiger, Marquette,
Michigan (Web site; e-mail;
journal no. 1 from
this completed trip.
backpacking & elk tracking
High Country Pathway area & surrounding
Montmorency & Otsego Counties
Northern Lower Michigan, northeast of Gaylord
8 a.m. Fri to
midday on Mon.
Signup by March 17 appreciated
We'll explore the southern limits
of the High Country Pathway as well as the adjoining wilderness, both
of which are located within the Pigeon River State Forest--prime elk
Highlights include views from Black
River Fire Tower Ridge, Old Baldy Hill, Rattlesnake Hills, and Eagle
Ridge; Black River, East Branch of Black River, and Rattlesnake Creek;
old railroad grades; Green Swamp.
Involves off-trail travel, river
fords, and swamp cuts.
Jane Beckwith of East Lansing
cuts an azimuth
with her prism-sighting
as she leads the group
through the bush
in the Pigeon River State Forest
on a May 2002 trip.
(Photo by Mary Powell)
is not a basecamp trip. We will move each day and bivouac in a different
location each night, often deep in the bush and far from roads, dry
& level campsites, potable water, toilets, and fire rings.
Michael Neiger (Marquette, Mi), Dennis Waite (Berrien
Springs, Mi), Gail Bosi (Midland, Mi), Mary Powell (Flint, Mi), Mary
Ann Hayman (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario), Jay Hanks (Perry, Mi), Chris
Ozminski (Attica, Mi), and Dave Mansfield (Davison, Mi) enjoy their
remote bivouac on the Pigeon River's seldom visited Beaver Dam Island
on a December 2003 trip. (Photo courtesy of Gail Staisil)
Free wilderness skills and educational
opportunities, by prior arrangement:
- Hands-on GPS instruction--learn
how to configure your GPS unit
and use it to while under way in the bush.
- Hands-on map and compass instruction--learn
how to plot azimuths on your topo map with your compass, cut azimuths
through the bush with your compass, and solve complex navigational
challenges using a variety of tactics and strategies including ranger
pacing beads, aiming off,
- Tarp rigging--learn how to rig a
tarp and bivouac under it.
- River fording--learn
how to waterproof your rucksack and how to ford or swim waterways
crossing your route.
- Low-impact fire laying, where appropriate
only--learn how to build and maintain a small, Indian-style fire without
scarring the ground and without leaving any trace.
travel techniques--learn how to travel and bivouac "lightly"
in the bush while at the same time minimizing your impact on the wilderness.
please review the homepage on this Web site
for additional wilderness tripping information and requirements.
- 18 years old or older
- non-smoker and non-drinker
- physically fit (good aerobic endurance)
- adventurous spirit
- experienced, 20-degree-rated backpacker
- fully equipped with lightweight
backpacking gear including rucksack, bivouac gear, survival gear,
foul-weather gear, rations, stove, etc.
Specialized equipment required:
- In-pocket survival
kit (knife, matches, firestarters, compass, whistle, magnesium
- River-fording footwear
Land Nav Team quads:
- 1:24000 Hardwood Lake, Michigan
- 1:24000 Saunders Creek, Michigan
- 1:24000 Hetherton, Michigan
- 1:24000 Atlanta, Michigan
Topo map ordering
nav gear recommendations
Review journals and photos from past
trips to this area:
trip leader for trip application form:
Return to upcoming
trips page and read about another trip