When last seen in Suttons Bay, Basil and I were headed back to Traverse City, Michigan, from Suttons Bay, about 15 miles/24 km north of Traverse City. We’d Coffeeneured, and explored, and then we took to the trail for the return trip.
The route is the Leelanau Trail, part of TART, the regional trail system. In winter — serious stuff in this northern clime — the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing.
There may not be a better, more comprehensive, slice of Northern Michigan on any other trail of comparable length. There are private houses hidden among the trees;
wide, well-groomed fields;
farms, some of which have grown eccentrically over the years;
others with vintage, but still used, equipment in picturesque evidence;
orchards and vineyards;
and the occasional assortment of creatures. These four appear to be a burro (or donkey?) on the left; a pony (Shetland? extra-furry, anyway); a bovine sort (taking a break); and an equine fellow (wench?). They were the picture of collegiality on their sunny hillside.
This sign was new to me; it appears regularly on the trail (and on others that connect to it in the area). It turns out to be exactly what it looks like: a “highway” sign for a bicycle route. The Leelanau Trail is a section of Route 35 of the United States Bicycle Route System, an interstate, long-distance, national cycling system now under development.
This sign requires no interpretive effort — it appears along the route at various relevant points.
The Leelanau Trail may be the friendliest of all. Though there was a lot of NIMBY going on when the trail was first proposed, people mostly seem to have resigned themselves. It’s the response of those who have embraced the trail system which is most in evidence now.
There are benches and resting spots scattered along the route for cyclists and pedestrians alike to enjoy. There is a garden above this bench with a “welcome” sign; tables and chairs below; flowers set out; and a basket of apples for visitors to consume. (On this day there was also a stray set of cycling gloves, put out in the hope that the owner would return to find it.)
My picture doesn’t do it justice, but Basil and I encountered one more critter here: A shy fellow who was keeping a benign and friendly eye on the travelers below.
Basil and I are headed to a completely different part of the USA for the next week or so, and may have limited Internet access. Posts will go up through the magic of automatic scheduling, but response to comments and email may be slow, or even non-existent, until we return home.