In Spring 2009, I went to Nashville and went hiking with my cousins. I loved it and decided that I would make it a goal to hike in all of Michigan’s state parks.
Up until this past weekend, I have hiked in 2. Proud Lake and Maybury. So on Saturday, I decided that I needed to get away and clear my head for a bit on some stuff so I headed out to Pinckney State Rec Area (about an hour from my house).
I took my phone, and my journal and my brothers camel back and headed out. I didn’t quite know where I was going. I knew it was off of this one road and figured there would be signs when I got close directing me to an entrance. I was right! I saw an entrance and I quickly turned in and ended up in this tiny parking lot at the end of a dirt road. It had lake access but the beach area was all of about 15 ft wide. There was also a port-o-potty, which are now referred to as Vault toilets, right next to the entrance to a hiking trail.
I was hoping that after the hike, I would be able to go for a quick little swim and had worn my swimsuit for just such an occasion!
As I was getting ready to head out I realized I needed to use the restroom. No problem. Took care of that and then sprayed myself down with bug spray, strapped on the camel back and off I went, after looking at the posted map of course.
The map basically showed that if I went to the right, I would eventually circle back around to this same spot. Perfect! If this map is like Proud Lake’s maps I am looking at a 3-4 mile hike, in a giant loop. It was 6 PM and I just knew I had plenty of time for this little journey of mine!
About 25 minutes into the hike, I began getting a little uncomfortable. I was realizing that the other day, I had noticed that I hadn’t been taking in a lot of fiber, so when it was time to replace my bread, I had picked up some of the double fiber bread that Coach had once recommended to me. It is yummy bread! Delicious, in fact and extremely filling! However, as I am hiking, I am realizing that having eaten 2 slices of double fiber bread that morning when I was fiber deficient, was a bit shocking to my system…if you know what I mean. Yes, things were getting to be a bit uncomfortable.
But I would be ok, I am sure of it. I can pick up my pace and soon I will be at that turn off and maybe there will be an outhouse there or something.
15 minutes later there was nothing and I began to seriously question the wisdom of the Government of the State of Michigan. Seriously. WHY ARE THERE NO BATHROOMS OUT HERE!
Things were beginning to get serious. I couldn’t even handle listening to my iPod anymore as it was becoming just a nuisance to me. At the same time, I began looking for a place that I could get to off the trail that I might be able to make a pit stop at. 10 agonizing minutes later, I finally found a little hill that was clear enough of thick brush that I could make it up the hill and behind some trees to take care of my fiberlicious issue.
Problem #1. I am wearing my capri workout pants and a tank top OVER my bathing suit. Dear Lord, please let me be alone out here for a little bit longer.
Problem #2. I don’t know what Poison Ivy looks like.
Problem #3. My bug spray is NOT working!
With this issue taken care of, all without being happened upon by any random hikers or mountain bikers, I was good to walk 10 miles if need be!
So off I went, totally enjoying the beauty of Pure Michigan!
40 minutes later, after nearly being run down by a Mt. Biker whizzing around a corner, I came out of the trail onto a paved road.
Ummm this is NOT where I left my car. So I looked around and saw a State Park guard shack with a young man sitting in it. I wandered over and asked him where I was.
“Silver Lake”, he says.
Hmmm do you have a map?
He shows me a map and I figure out where my car is and ask him to show me how to get back there. He highlights the map and basically tells me to take the trail back the way I came and I will get there, in about 3 miles.
By this time, I am texting Coach so SOMEBODY knows I am lost.
I head back out and after 40 minutes I am beginning to get concerned. Something in my gut doesn’t feel right, and NO it is not more fiberliciousness. But, I figured that if I keep going, I will eventually come out somewhere. The problem was it was almost 9 PM and getting dark now.
Another 15 minutes of walking, I come out onto another paved road and as I looked around I realize, I am right back at that same guard shack.
Ummm that is not good. This time, there is no one in the guard shack.
So I look around some more and see a sign that says that the State Park Headquarters is just up the road. And by now, I am beginning to feel the effects of fiber overdose combined with anxiety.
Please Lord, let there be someone at this building and please let there be a bathroom! A real one! With toilet paper! Please.
Hallelujah! They are open! I walk in and find this guy sitting there. I explain my dilemma. He begins looking over maps to figure out how far from my car I am. While he is doing that I go take care of my issue with the bathroom. When I come out he has bad news and more bad news for me.
If I take the trail through the woods, in the dark, by myself, I have at least 3 miles to go to my car. If I take regular main roads, I have about 7 miles to go.
Neither option seems good. I have already been walking for about 2.5-3 hours. There is NO WAY I am going back out in the woods in the dark and 7 miles? Really?
So, I turned on my flirtatious ways. Batted my eyelashes a few times and smiled real big.
Sooo, wink wink, what time do you get off?
Hmm not till 1 am.
Crap! That won’t work.
Flirtation skillz or the lack thereof turned back off(ok I never turned them on really)
He tells me though that if I want to walk down to the beach and find the officer in her Silverado, she may be willing to give me a ride back to my car.
OK! I can do that! (but I am thinking, doesn’t he have a radio to be able to call his superior if trouble arose?)
I head down to the beach, giving Coach updates all along the way and of course updating Facebook with my whereabouts! I never found the Silverado, but I decided to hang around the gate area knowing that she would be coming there to lock up soon. In the meantime, I called and chatted with Aaron who was kind enough not to out right laugh at my dilemma. It seems that I get myself in these situations alot and Coach and Aaron always know about it!
Sitting by the gate and chatting I am becoming more and more aware that 1. my bug spray is definitely not working and I have to go to the bathroom again. So I headed back up to the headquarters. I figured that if I can wait out this lady, she would give me a ride back to my car. I mean seriously, who would actually send someone out into the woods at almost 10PM at night!
I head in, use the bathroom and tell the guy I couldn’t find her but would he mind if I hung out inside for a bit. Not a problem he said. For 20 agonizing minutes I tried to make small talk with this fellow so it wouldn’t seem so awkward. Do you hike much? Nope, not really. What do you do? I work alot. What do you like about your job? It pays the bills. Seriously. No conversation to be had. And it wasn’t like he was really doing anything either. Best I could tell, he was shuffling papers trying to look busy.
Sigh. Oh well. Not everyone can be social like me.
After about 25 minutes, I think he got tired of the weird awkwardness and pulled out a radio and called the officer. WHAT?!?! You have a radio?? Grrrrrr.
He explained the situation and she of course said not a problem. She got back to the headquarters about 10:40PM and took me back to my car…and boy am I glad I didn’t have to walk that. It was a LONG drive on narrow country roads with no shoulders to walk on.
So, I got home from my grand adventure at about midnight, covered in mosquito bites.
Mom was not pleased with me. She didn’t want me to go by myself in the first place and tried to get me to go to a buffet with her and my brothers instead!
Hmmm what a choice. A grand adventure with a fun story to tell or a buffet?
Sadly, I know what I once would have chosen…and I am so glad that I make different choices now.
The good news is this. I know for a fact that the mosquitos in that area a very well fed. I know this because my arms and legs look like I have a disease of some sort!
The great news is this. I would do it all again in a heartbeat!