As a Michigan based company, we have a great deal of pride in what Michigan has to offer in terms of natural beauty and exploration of the outdoors. If you love to kayak, canoe, paddle board, raft, or any other sort of water sport, consider heading out to Michigan’s beautiful shoreline this summer.
The Adayak family can speak from experience in saying that a trip to the northern peninsula of Michigan is well worth the time. We recommend taking a day to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, an icon in the nature of Michigan. Spend hours hiking along the sandy dunes, running down the hilly plains, and taking photos of a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. While you’re there, be sure to visit Glen Arbor, a little piece of Lake Michigan that is open to the public. The water is crystal clear and blue as the sky, and very cold. Glen Arbor is a perfect spot for kayakers as the waters are tranquil in the summer, but we wouldn’t advise swimming unless the day is absolutely sweltering!
The Crystal River and the Platte River are both perfect locations to paddle the day away. Bring your own boats, or travel lightly in knowing that there are many rental shops in the area.
For the Adayak hikers, there are plenty of trails to explore. Check out a full list of hiking trails in Sleeping Bear Dunes on the website of the National Park Service.
How many of you spend your days outdoors in the Pacific Northwest? That part of the country is arguably the best place to live if you love hiking, climbing, kayaking and other outdoor sports. I, on the other hand, live in a part of the country many people call ‘Heavens Waiting Room’ … Florida.
Yes we have miles and miles of pristine beaches, but I would trade sand and waves for rocks and snow any day of the week. I do enjoy living in Florida most of the time, but when you get that “call of the wild” there is only so much you can do. We can still go hiking, kayaking and skiing … it’s just our versions have no stunning views, no whitewater, and skiing is done behind a boat.
I thought it would be fun to write a guest post on Just Northwest about what some of the major differences are between hiking in the Northwest and hiking in the Southeast. For the sake of this post I will mostly be referring to hiking in Florida – the exact opposite corner of Washington, where I believe most of the Just Northwest readers live.
The weather differences are the first thing that come to mind when thinking about hiking in Florida vs. hiking in the Northwest. It may get to 90 degrees on a hot summer day in Seattle … but your 90 degrees is like our 70. It’s hot here. Really hot. And we have 100% humidity every day during the summer. It makes hiking outdoors brutal. With staggering heat comes afternoon storms – the type of storms that bring lightning and heavy rains. You can set your watch the these storms — 3:00 pm every day. You do not want to be caught in the outdoors when an afternoon storm rolls in. They don’t usually last long, but they are fierce.
Or lack there of… hiking in Florida means you’re walking on a level path the entire way. It’s easier on your legs, but makes for a boring trip when all you can see to the front, back, right and left of you are trees. Hikers in the Pacific Northwest have easy access to mountains at 14,000+ ft – Florida’s highest elevation above sea level is 345 ft.
For the most part, the wildlife from the Pacific Northwest is somewhat similar to the wildlife in Florida. Florida has black bears, deer, panthers (our version of the mountain lion), lots of birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc. One of the major differences in wildlife is the Pacific Northwest is home to Bigfoot! Just kidding … I’m talking about alligators! And they are everywhere down here. No joke – we have alligators here that walk across the street. They live in the swampy outdoor areas, which happened to be the same areas Florida hikers venture in to.
Not all of Florida is in the “tropics” but our ecosystem and vegetation down here varies greatly from what hikers in the Northwest are used to. In Florida, we have a lot of sawgrass marshes and palm trees – I’ll admit that hikes along the beaches and marsh areas are actually pretty nice. Florida also has a lot of pine trees, cypress trees and mangroves. We have vegetation that thrives in wetlands. We have swamps and creeks, but our creeks are not the same as yours. We don’t have snow melt in Florida so our creeks aren’t the swift running, crystal clear type – they are the slow moving, muddy, snake infested type.
I may have painted Florida as an awful place to go hiking and spend time in the outdoors, but that’s not really the case. I guess when you’re pointing out the differences it sometimes can seem like a negative thing. We do have a lot of amazing hikes here, like The Florida Trail… which starts near the Everglades National Park and works its way up through the panhandle.
If you don’t live in the Northwest, where do you live? What are some of the major differences in hiking from your area? Post a comment and let us know.
About the Author: David DuPont is a hiker, climber and outdoor enthusiast who writes for Adayak, a designer and seller of hiking shirts. Get more from David and Adayak on twitter.
A summer vacation idea not to be missed is a road trip to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon National Park is split into two rims; the North and South rim. Due to the disparity in their elevations, the two rims seem like two completely separate parks. If you’re interested in visiting the North Rim, be sure to save the trip for a date between May and October, or you may risk being trapped by snowfall. However, a visit to the North Rim is well worth it because of the breathtaking views and solitude that can be experienced through a day hike.
Both rims should be explored through day hikes, and can be explored in a variety of different ways. Park rangers are available to offer information on the history and science of the park, and mule trips are offered for both rims. The South rim offers a Desert View drive, whitewater rafting trips through the Colorado River, and a photo hot spot for nature photographers trying to find the best lighting to capture views of the park. The North rim offers a myriad of different hiking trails and roads, and should be explored as thoroughly as possible for some truly awesome sights.
Camp where a glacier once stood. Bartlett Cove Campground in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park is off the beaten path, though worth every bit of effort it takes to get there. With endless trail to hike, waterways to kayak, and wildlife to watch (humpback whales, elk, grizzly bears, wolves, to name a few), you’ll quickly realize why Alaska still remains The Last Frontier.
Death Valley National Park offers visitors a rare opportunity to be humbled by nature in an extreme landscape that exists in total opposition to with what is generally regarded as typical U.S. geography. Walking among the dunes with sand as far as the eye can see feels like being on a alien planet—it’s entirely foreign and amazing. Whether your avenue of exploration is by horse back, on foot, or by car, the experience is one not to miss.
When Mark Twain visited Hawaii in 1866 he wrote “in one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing.” It is not known exactly when the natives invented surfing, but obviously they did a great deed for the modern aficionados.
Thomas Edward Blake is credited as the pioneer in paddle board construction in the early 1930s. While restoring historic Hawaiian boards in 1926, Blake built a replica of the “olo” surfboard ridden by ancient Hawaiian kings. He lightened this replica by drilling holes and covering them, creating the first hollow board, which subsequently led to creation of today’s paddle boards.
It is no secret that Hawaiians and Californians alike enjoy both sports. With Paddle boarding not needing waves or winds, it is quickly becoming the latest craze in outdoor activities across the world.
In this section of our store you will find surfing and stand-up paddle boarding t-shirts.
A hiking trip is a great way to get back to nature and to escape urban life, at least for a little while. The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world and runs across 14 American states from Georgia to Maine, passing mountainous terrain, forest and lakes. Practice your boots before you set off into the wilderness. Our road ahead t-shirt will keep you motivated and cool each and every of the 2160 miles!