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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mosquito Beach - Grand Portal - Chapel Rock Loop 10.6 Miles

The 10.6 mile loop is split into 4 separate sections, starting at Chapel Rd Trailhead and heading to Chapel Rock then Grand Portal, Mosquito Beach, and Mosquito Falls:

  1. Chapel Falls, Rock, and Beach at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
  2. Chapel Beach to Grand Portal Point at Pictured Rocks
  3. Grand Portal Point to Mosquito Beach at Pictured Rocks
  4. Mosquito Beach to Mosquito Falls and Chapel Road Trailhead

Hike is in the middle of Pictured Rocks, outlined in red with blue arrow showing direction of start of hike

Mosquito Beach to Chapel Road Trailhead

Mosquito Falls

September 13, 2013

M and I had a quick lunch on the sandstone ribbed shore of Mosquito Beach then continued hiking back to the trailhead. The hike was mostly uphill, climbing through the Mosquito River valley. From Mosquito Beach to the trail head at Chapel Road, the hike was 2.6 miles, having us hike passed the group campground and toilet facilities. The entire trail was well maintained with the exception of a few washed out areas near the end, closer to the trailhead. 

True to its name, we hiked through a very mosquito-filled woods and crossed a couple of streams on well built bridges. The forests were ethereal and the waterfalls were a treat to view even though the mosquitoes were buzzing and biting. After climbing out of the valley and viewing Mosquito Falls, the trailed ascended next to a marsh. We had to power hike the rest of this stretch since mosquitoes were everywhere. The trail consisted of sand and boardwalk up until we reached the end at Chapel Road parking lot.

The entire 10.4 mile loop was one of the most memorable hikes I have done to date. There were no challenging areas so long as one did not trip and fall off the cliffs. The entire loop had diverse foliage, fungi, and sandstone formation in addition to the awe-inspiring views from the lookouts, making this trail a must-see/do for anyone planning to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The entire 10.6 mile loop. For this post, we hiked in the yellow section, going from Mosquito Beach to Chapel Rd

Crepe-like layers of sandstone at Mosquito Beach in Pictured Rocks

From the beach, go southwest on the North Country Trail 

At the stream crossing, get off North Country Trail and continue onto Mosquito Beach/Falls Trail

To the right is the trail to Mosquito Group Camp. To the left is the trail back to the trailhead

Primitive toilet facility at Mosquito Group Camp

Trail ascends through the forest

More ferns and uphill hiking going towards the trailhead 

More uphill hiking at Pictured Rocks

Hiking next to Mosquito River going towards Chapel Rd trailhead

Bridge crossing over Mosquito River

Mosquito River, falling into Lake Superior

Smaller foliage and forest in Pictured Rocks on Mosquito Falls Trail

Mosquito Falls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

From Mosquito Falls, another bridge crossing then hike uphill, out of the valley

Hiking up out of the Mosquito River valley. River is to the left

Nicely maintained trail with steps on Mosquito Falls Trail

Nature-made trails. Hiking over tree roots

Boggy, marshy area where most of the mosquitoes attacked us. Boardwalk

This was our view to the right, a raised marsh. We were below it on the boardwalk.

Continue on trail towards Chapel Rd

Washed out section of the trail. Still nicely maintained.

Bridge crossing, almost to the end!

Washed out section of the trail with boardwalk sections

End! Chapel Rd parking lot and trailhead.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Office Update

The overall look for the office that I wanted was going to be masculine with a mix of science. After months of curating the right pieces and trying to work with curtains that were darker than expected, the office is finally finished. We furnished the room with vintage pieces such as a mid century swivel chair and desk, vintage business electronic typewriter, and other knick knacks we've acquired over the years. Though the room is small, with some rearranging, we can fit a full size air mattress in it if needed. 


Before any work was done on the office

Paint, carpet, and blinds


Furnished with some mid century furniture. Green Paoli chair, vintage exam lamp, framed scanning electron microscope images, wood paneled curtains from H&M, school desk from UW-Madison with the desk portion sawed off.

M's artwork on top of a mid century sewing box

Vintage map of East and West Germany

Vintage Loroman desk, Panasonic KX-E4500 electronic typewriter, various trinkets, and M's trumpet in its case

The very awesome Panasonic KX-E4500 electronic typewriter

Vintage push button AT&T phone, Swingline stapler, US Presidents pencils, SEM images

Various science projects, globe bank, Kodak Brownie Hawkeye  camera

Computer parts on the outside of the cabinet

Mid century Paoli swivel armchair

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Snake Den Ridge - Appalachian Trail - Low Gap Loop

View from Appalachian Trail during Snake Den Ridge Loop to Low Gap

May 06, 2014

We arrived at Great Smoky Mountains National Park from North Carolina so we ended up camping at Cosby. Cosby campground was in the northeast section of the park and was also where the trailhead for Snake Den Ridge Trail was located. Because of this, we hiked the trails near the campsite. 

On the day we did the Snake Den Loop hike, M and I started later than we had anticipated, making this a warmer start than I would have liked. Temps were already in the mid 60's and rose to mid 80's by noon. Since the trailhead was in Cosby campground, a quick walk through the campsites led us to the trailhead marker.

The first 0.7 miles of the trail was on a gravel road that took us past an old cemetery dating from the 1900's and then to a roundabout at the end. From the roundabout, we took the right fork and got onto the mulched trail. Snake Den Ridge along with the Appalachian Trail and Low Gap were all horse trails. This meant that riders regularly rode horses, making the trails well trodden, full of rocks (so horses could have better footing), and sometimes, full of poop. I was not a big fan of horse trails so this added to my frustration. Not only did the trail conditions make me ornery, Snake Den Ridge was sunny, hot, humid, and lacked wind. We were hiking south of the ridge while most of the wind was coming in from the north. This loop tested my patience as heat/humidity and horse trails were two of the things I loathed- the most. Regardless, we pushed on. 

Snake Den Ridge was 5.3 miles long with a 3000 ft ascent. Around 2 miles into the hike, we crossed Inadu Creek which had a little waterfall. After that, we switchbacked through woods and rhododendron lined trails until we reached a grassy clearing 4 miles in. Another mile after this clearing, the trail met up with the Appalachian Trail. The AT was marked with white blazes and was relatively easy to hike on. With the sun shining on us and the wind almost nonexistent, we tried our best to hike through this 5 mile section of the AT. The AT sloped gently up and down a ridge and led us around Cosby Knob. After circumventing the summit of the Cosby Knob, the trail led us to a 4 way T junction. We took the left path for Low Gap Trail. Again, this section was rocky and all downhill. It was an easy hike though hot and sweaty. Overall, the 13 mile loop was great but I was excited to make it back to camp so we could go back into town for a shower.

Map of the hike. We went counter clockwise from our campsite at Cosby. Snake Den Appalachian Low Gap Loop

Snake Den Ridge Trail

In Cosby campground, the trailhead for Snake Den Ridge. The start of the 3000 ft ascent

Snake Den Ridge, gravel section.

Hiking past the cemetery. This area used to be part of a town.

The roundabout. Take the right fork in the cul de sac to get to the trail

Snake Den Ridge Trail

Crossing Rock Creek

Trail ascends through woods

Trail climbs through Snake Den Ridge

Crossing Inadu Creek around 2 miles in

Switchback goes to the left with full sun and no wind

Trail continues on the south side of the ridge

We were treated to a nice view and a tiny bit of a breeze here

Wide switchback that can accommodate horses on Snake Den Ridge

Garter snake on the appropriately named Snake Den Ridge Trail. This area is the perfect habitat for snakes.

Higher up in elevation, still switchbacking up Snake Den Ridge

4 miles in, 2500 ft up. Grass clearing along trail

Spur trail to Maddron Bald Trail. We went left and stayed on Snake Den Ridge

Trail thins out but is still an easy hike. 500 ft ascent to get to Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

Junction for Appalachian Trail from Snake Den Ridge

White blazes mark the Appalachian Trail. Wide, clear, and rocky trail

Appalachian Trail

Breathtaking view from Appalachian Trail makes up for the heat

Half way on the Appalachian Trail. Junction where Camel Gap meets the trail

Enjoying the views along Appalachian Trail

Ridge hike on Appalachian Trail near Cosby Knob

Trail marker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park along Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail descending closer to Low Gap Trail

T junction for Low Gap from Appalachian Trail. Take trail to the left for Low Gap

Low Gap Trail

Take trail to left for Low Gap. This part of the trail is all descent with switchbacks.

Low Gap Trail

Switchback on Low Gap Trail, going down to the creek

Low Gap, cross bridge to get back to Cosby campsite

Crossing the bridge to get back to Cosby camp. The end of the hike.