I woke up Tuesday to blue sky and sunshine, a perfect combination for a quiet hike and some fresh air.
One of my favorite Little Traverse Conservancy properties is the Hoogland Family Nature Preserve. For me, its proximity to home and 1.5 mile loop make it perfect before or after work hike…
The beginning of the hike is flat as it winds through the forest and creeps farther from the road. A gradual but long incline gets the heart pumping as you climb the to top of the ridge. This is always a nice spot for me to take a break, catch my breath and take in the 360 degree woodland views. I’m always impressed that even though M-119 is not too far away; I feel like I am in the middle of nowhere.
Once my breath is back to normal I start out again down the switchbacks to the valley below. The vegetation changes slightly as you enter a cedar swamp area with a small stream running through: My personal favorite part of the hike. A quick hop over the stream and you reconnect with the route that leads back to the trailhead. And before heading home, I highly recommend a walk across M-119 to take in the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.
As we all settle into a new normal my gratitude for these beautiful Conservancy lands grows every day.
Take some deep breaths and enjoy a few moments of peace.