Friday, September 13, 2013

UP Back Road Connection

While up at Kerry's parents over Labor day this year I had a chance to get out and do a little exploring on a back roads route I've been curious about.  I knew at some point that Kerry wanted to hit Agate beach near Misery Bay to do some rock picking and hopefully snatch a few of the big lake gems.  I figured this would provide a good opportunity to start at the beach and ride the back roads and snowmobile trails back to Ontonagon.  I opted not to do the Copper Harbor FTF this weekend so this was a good alternative.  

No agates in the shot above but we did find some that day.  Along with plenty of other rocks to fill Kerry's tumbler.  After a little picking I packed up and headed out.  The route I planned looked to be about 40 miles and I had roughly 4 hours before suppertime.  Off I went.

Misery bay in the foreground with Wolf Point and 14 Mile Point in the distance.  There's great abandoned lighthouse on 14 Mile point.

The route started with a mix of gravel and tar roads then after a few miles I turned onto my main southbound (SW) connector called Camp 18 road.  It starts off as a typical gravel, maintained road and begins to deteriorate after a few mile to something a little more entertaining.  

A tiny dam on the Misery river

Nice timber and plank bridge

Camp 18 Rd gets a little narrower.

No bridge for this crossing, guess it's time for some wet feet.

About 17 miles into the journey I came to the Sleeping River.  I suspected there may not be a bridge at this crossing as I could not see one from studying the air photos online.  I new the river wasn't that big so I wasn't too worried about having to cross it.  Once across, it was just a few more miles of riding until I came to some familiar territory that I had previously explored from the south.  I had made the connection.  

For the next few miles I had the choice to explore some snowmobile trail that I had not been down before, or take the known doubletrack back to "Four Corners" and "Camp 12".  This would have been the easy way but since I was looking pretty good on time, I opted for more exploration.  Which brought me through the following mess.
It should get better after the next puddle, I kept telling myself.
After a couple miles of intermittently walking and dodging sinkholes it did get better and I was back on solid ground and making good time.  

Glad I didn't try to wheelie over this one.  Beaver has been dredging his shipping lanes, I guess.

Local traffic

Bear Creek road.  Last few miles of gravel before getting close to Ontonagon.

The ole Element got it's first real taste of mud riding. 

The ride ended up to be about 43 miles total and It's nice to know that I can ride that section all the way through to Agate Beach.  From there I believe I could also make a route on mostly gravel roads all the way up to Houghton.