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Kal-Haven & Beyond!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Above is the map of the Kal-Haven Trail. I added approximately another 10 miles to the 34 mile route by biking from my son's apartment, where we're staying, across town to the trail's beginning. I always have a twinge of conscience whenever I load my bike up to DRIVE someplace to BIKE: biking is all about reclaiming one's ability to MOVE and transport by virtue of one's own personal body power...no carbon footprint necessary!

Here is the start of the trail:

I ran into a couple pairs of Nordic walkers coming off the trail as I was preparing to depart. Unfortunately hadn't seen them in action, as I am interested to know more and perhaps try this myself sometime. I chatted a bit with them and they were all a-glow with their workout, speaking quite highly of this approach to walking.

My exact mileage isn't quite known because the SparkPeople Fitness Maps feature doesn't include the cross-Kalamazoo bike trail NOR the Kal-Haven bike trail. However the Kal-Haven has mile markers and is known to be 34 miles long extending from Kalamazoo to South Haven.

Here's a typical view on the trail:

It was not as *scenic* a ride as I had hoped in that much of the trail was covered with a canopy of trees and only here and there did it break out into what I refer to as the "Great Wide Open" (always think of Tom Petty's song when I ride in this terrain!) of corn fields or other crops stretching out to the horizon.

My son unfortunately wasn't up to joining me on my trek, but I wasn't going to allow this to prevent me from "keeping my appointed duty"...lol!

It was nice to see some old-fashioned well-water pumps along the way. I tried them and they WORKED! The water was cold and delicious!

The trail routed through Small Town America...first town was Gobles:

And at the mid-way point was Bloomingdale (NOT of department store fame! lol):

These were such small spots-in-the-road locales!

I and this other older fellow kept playing piggy-back along the way...I'd pass him by while he was taking a break and he'd pass me by while I was either stretching or taking pictures. I tried to strike up conversation, but he was more focused, I suspect, on "getting 'er DONE!" :-)

Nearing the end of the trail was a quaint covered bridge:

Also a nice network of wooden planks connecting with a cupola out in the marsh:

And at LAST! Trail's END!

And right across from this was a stupendous mansion on the South Haven harbor with schooners parked in front:

Afterwards my son and DW picked me up in South Haven and I had a little scare: My bike wouldn't FIT in the minivan!

But my son came to the rescue: took the front wheel off...! Here I was getting ready to bike back to Kalamazoo...! A mixture of "Drat!" and "Whew!" :-)

We then headed to the Lake MI shore to catch the sights!

Hope everyone's having a SPARKING summer out there! :-)


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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sounds like a great ride. Here on the other side of the "Big Pond" (Lake Michigan), we have lots of trails just like you were on. Some longer, some shorter, some paved, some hard-packed gravel. All are great places to ride.

    Your ride description and pics remind me very much of my local trail, the "Inter Urban" trail that runs from the north side of Milwaukee north to Sheboygan. I often do parts of this trail but occasionally do the full loop. According to my bike computer, it's 52 miles from the Milwaukee end to down-town Sheboygan, so 104 miles for the full loop, all through little towns along the railroad right-of-way.

    Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS on a Great Ride. Very Cool !!

    Next month my niece and I are planning to ride from just north-east of Gladstone (in the UP) to to my house, following the lakeshore for as much of the trip as possible (looks to be about 230 miles according to Google maps). Next summer, I'm seriously considering a "Lap Around Lake Michigan" ride. It'll be a credit card tour (travel light, buy what food and lodging you need along the way). Maybe we can hook up along the way, and you ride some miles with me on my way through.

    Catcha later . . .
    2984 days ago
    Thanks for the description with pictures! You must be having a great time! I can see you go for different trails than me. I love the woodsy areas with shade from trees, and dread when it's the open sunny areas with no protection. There are more animals and birds in the woodsy areas around here, which I generally love to watch and listen to. They seem to shrink from the sunny hot areas as well. Glad your vacation is going well and you're following your plan! I admire your determination! emoticon
    2985 days ago
    Looks pretty scenic and GORGEOUS to me! :) Rock on!
    2986 days ago
    Thanks for the great trip Don, enjoyed riding along.
    Skeeter emoticon
    2987 days ago
    wow, pretty!
    2987 days ago
  • GMN5153
    I'm so jealous..looks beautiful..
    2987 days ago
    What a beautiful trip. Thanks for all the pictures.
    I've been hiking this great hill, covered with redwoods and other trees, and I love it when I get that opening up, looking out to the Bay... love those big vistas, but I think I love them in part because of the trees, if you know what I mean.
    I'm cheering!
    2987 days ago
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