Adventure: Take Another Look! It’s Closer Than You Think

So you live in the Midwest?  Maybe Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota or Illinois? Sometimes it seems a far cry from vast open plateaus, snow-capped craggy mountain ranges, and red rock deserts of the American West. Most people associate adventure and the people who seek it to areas with names like Moab, the Beartooths, or the Cascade Range.  But adventure can be found anywhere; you may just need to look a bit to find it.
I live in East Lansing, MI.  It’s the home of 45,000 students, government workers, and GM Employees.  East Lansing sits almost smack-dab in the middle of the state of Michigan, within two hours of three of the Great Lakes (Michigan, Huron, and a little bit of Erie), and acts as a gateway to the great northern woods of the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan.   To be precise, the Mitten is surrounded on 3 sides by some of the largest fresh water lakes in the world.  Lake Michigan to the west, Huron/ Erie to the east, and mighty Lake Superior, known as “Gitche Gumee” to Michiganders, to the north.

Rolling on the Pigeon River

My current adventures seem to be limited to the 2-3 trips I take back to Montana each year, and the rest of the time is spent daydreaming or planning.  I am as caffeine jacked, and blackberry wired-in as the next corporate guy, but my mind is always envisioning far off adventures out west.  Well maybe someday my wife and I will head west, and those daydreams can become reality, but for now, just like you, I need to make do, and embrace what we have right here in the Midwest.
Michigan’s landscape was formed when massive glaciers eked their way across the North American continent basically flattening everything in its path.  These are the reasons for Michigan’s flat, rolling, landscape that is peppered with streams and small lakes.  Mid Michigan (East Lansing) is basically one big swamp and sits at about 850 feet of elevation above sea level.  It is heavily forested, and deciduous trees dominate your horizon, shrinking that horizon down to a quarter-mile or so.  Not exactly the adventurous vistas you see on adventure shows or in magazines, but fall color explosions, and deep woods do their best to make up for it.

Sunset @Wilderness State Park

Originally being from Bozeman, Montana, arguably one of the best places to live in the United States, I had some of the best access to Wilderness and National Forest anywhere around.  In Bozeman you are never more than 15 minutes from a trailhead that leads you into any number of stoic mountain ranges.  Moving to Mid Michigan was a huge change, but I soon found out that Michigander’s are very outdoors oriented people, and the outside lifestyle is alive and well in the Mitten.
On this blog I will be relaying adventures that I chase, which in most cases, will probably take place in the Great Lakes State.  The idea of this is to offer tips and tricks to finding and planning your own adventure areas near where you live, as well as a blow-by-blow account of my routes and planning.  Whether it be logistics, travel, or gear, you can find discussion about it here.  Also included will be equipment information, maps, links, and ideas to create adventure out your backdoor.
America was founded by adventurous souls, and that bloodline runs deep in our nation.   You are reading this, so clearly you have some of that in you too!
Sometimes I am frustrated by magazines that only focus on trails and adventures in the west or along the Appalachians, so I decided to do something about it!
I hope you enjoy the write-ups, and PLEASE share your ideas, and comments as you wish!

About edaws42
A Montana native that played baseball for Sparty and lives in Bend, OR. I have a passion for all things outdoors, and the brands and people that enable those passions. I like rock music, microbrew beer, football, playing guitar, and travel. I love my wife and family, my dog Gus, and the outdoors.

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