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Exposure

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    • Exposure, as in trails that have give the opportunity to fall to your death. For those who want to talk about exposing yourself, well, we know who you are...

      For a good place to hike if you want the thrill of almost falling to a watery grave, I can recommend Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Lakeshore Trail runs for 45 miles from Grand Marais to Munising. The first part of the trail follows the Grand Sable Dunes. From here you get a nice view looking down this 300 foot high pile of sand and gravel. So falling down this wouldn't be fatal. In fact some people run down this for fun. but once down, the only way out is to climb back up, and that very well might kill you. Note convenient hiker in the front-right for scale.

    • After the beach, you get to the eponymous cliffs where you can really get into trouble if you want. One of the first attractions is Spay Falls, where Spay Creek comes to a spectacular end plunging 70 feet into Lake Superior. However if you want to get a good closeup look at the falls, you have to get right up to the edge of the cliff. Fortunately, the NPS has conveniently placed this small tree right on the ledge to give you a false sense of security.
    • If you look at the background of the previous photo, you will see some outcroppings that you hiked past a few minutes earlier (if you are hiking E to W). From there you almost certainly took this picture. If you Google "Spray Falls", this is the picture you will most likely find. However because you were focused on the pretty waterfall, you probably didn't notice that the little tree on the edge where you are going to take your closeup picture from is situated so that there will be about 1 foot of rock and 69 feet of air between you and the lake. It must be pretty solid since I took a day hike to this spot 30 years ago and took the same picture with my foot against the exact same tree.

    • A little further on the cliffs get taller. Many are up to 200 feet vertical drops into the lake. For many, the highlight is Grand Portal Point. Here the coast juts out into the lake and you can walk to the edge and be surrounded on nearly all sides with the Lake 200 feet down.



      Of course I had to do it. It's the McAfee Knob of Michigan.

    • At several points along this section, the trail runs right along the edge. At least you have a choice. As you can see there is a path on either side of the large pine trees so you can walk left or right.
      I walked . My hiking partner on this trip was a retired wildlife biologist for the state DNR. He is a moose biologist and spent much of his career tracking the Moose in Michigan's UP. It was at this spot where he pointed out a tree hanging over the edge of the cliff. He said it was a Moose Killer. It seems the moose REALLY like to browse on this particular species (I forgot which tree it was). Over his career, he had found several moose that had fallen to their deaths and in each case there was one of these trees at the top of the cliff and the moose died trying to reach his favorite treat.

      s.
    • IMScotty wrote:

      OMO,

      Wow, thank you these. I had no idea. Another beautiful hike to add the my ever growing queue.
      it is certainly one of the top hikes in the north central US. I hear MN's NCT is great. Also on my list. The remarkable thing about PRNL is that each third is so different. Starting from Grand Marais you hike along a creek, past a waterfall, through a northern forest past a pond, past the world's biggest fresh water dunes, and then to a lighthouse. Then you hike a 12 mile long wilderness beach. This ends at Chapel Beach which is just remarkable. The last part gives you the cliffs, caves, and arches. There's a nice small town at both ends and a shuttle service connecting both trailheads. One downside is you must camp at the campgrounds listed on you permit. You must plan your days in advamce. The hiking is easy with little elevation gain or loss.
    • odd man out wrote:

      Exposure, as in trails that have give the opportunity to fall to your death. For those who want to talk about exposing yourself, well, we know who you are...

      For a good place to hike if you want the thrill of almost falling to a watery grave, I can recommend Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Lakeshore Trail runs for 45 miles from Grand Marais to Munising. The first part of the trail follows the Grand Sable Dunes. From here you get a nice view looking down this 300 foot high pile of sand and gravel. So falling down this wouldn't be fatal. In fact some people run down this for fun. but once down, the only way out is to climb back up, and that very well might kill you. Note convenient hiker in the front-right for scale.


    • The Kalalau Trail along the undeveloped northern Na Pali coast of Kauai is an 11-mile trek along the pali (cliffs) to isolated Kalalau Beach. The starting point is at Ke'e Beach just west of Hanalei. kalalautrail.com/



      The trail climbs and descends the pali based on the topography. In many places, the trail is less than a foot wide and has sheer drop-offs to the ocean below. And as I found out, Hawaiian red dirt mixed with rain is the secret ingredient in Teflon.











      I only had a hiking permit for the 12-mile round trip to the Hanakoa Falls and that trip took about 11 hours including a lunch stop near the falls.



      The last five miles from Hanakoa to Kalalau Beach includes a section known as Crawler's Ledge. Not for the faint of heart. Permits are required for any hike past the Hanakapi'ai Valley at Mile 2 and need to be requested months in advance.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, and Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH.