I sped down towards Herman with a sour taste in my mouth. Katie was heading down to Appleton for a few months to spend the summer with her parents, leaving Logan and I to fend for ourselves. Part of it was tied to her job and part of it dealt with family& hellip; Still, it left me with a young puppy in a relatively empty house. I needed some time alone to regroup, so naturally I decided to go hiking.
Once I reached Herman I took Summit Road south to the marked town of Summit ( which is only a machine shed near the Tama-Siding Line, a set of train tracks that stretched south to Nestoria). The plan was to take some unnamed logging roads south of Celotex Road down to Little Spruce Falls. My first approach to these falls, the Tama-Siding Road, had ended quickly at an orange gate a few hundred yards from Celotex. Hoping to find a more roundabout approach I continued past this approach and kept a close eye on the roads stretching south.
There was a lot of logging along the road. Both sides were tore up by heavy equipment, masking any passable tracks, so I just continued east. I didn't have a GPS or good map so it was hard to tell just how far I should try down this road before I was too far past the suspected waterfall site. Once I passed the logging area the road degraded quickly, with swamps invading the dirt road from either side and a questionable bridge. The way the planks creaked and flapped around under my tires made me wonder if there was a single bolt or nail holding it together.
Five scary miles down Celotex is when I bumped into a large cabin on Clear Lake and, just past it, another orange gate. I paused at Clear Lake, taking in the blue, blue waters surrounded by green before turning around. I had hoped to find a two-track that would take me south to Round Lake, which was still a mile or so from the falls. It was time to give up on Little Spruce Falls for today.
On the way back I chose a bad approach and found myself stuck in the mud. On the left side of the road was a deep rut, deep enough for me to drag bottom, and the right side was being devoured slowly by a murky pond. Hoping to avoid the rut I kept to the right and my front right tire was stuck.
Curious to see how bad I was stuck I got out of my car to take a look. It was bad - mud was creeping up my hubcap and was getting dangerously close to my axle. Panic set in and I jumped back in my car, threw it in reverse, and floored it. After some spinning and groaning my car slowly lurched backwards out of the pond. The road did end up eating about half my front bumper, which I had to wrench off and toss in my trunk before crossing the spot on the far, far left side of the road.
Giving up on Little Spruce Falls (again) I headed north to Upper Silver Falls. I had just visited Harley Falls, which flows into Silver River, a few days ago so I felt pretty good about this area. Keeping a close eye for a snowplow on the side of the road, which is supposed to mark the turn off for the falls, I drove all the way down the rough two track to where it ends at the river, the same spot I had parked at for Harley Falls. There was no plow to find.
Confused I circled around and parked on the side of the road. After a short walk through the woods I noticed a tiny little brook heading down the hill. This looked like more fun than an aimless wander through the woods. Along this new route I passed a cool outcropping that kind of formed a waterfall, if the trickle of water that dampened it counted as a creek.
The tiny brook took me to the river and, on a guess, I turned and headed downstream. A few short minutes and I bumped into an ATV trail with the waterfalls roaring just beyond. A small footpath led down the steep rocks to the base of the falls. Upper Silver Falls was incredible. A tall, two-tiered drop with multiple plunges and huge boulders, it seemed completely out of place compared to the small waterfalls I had spent last weekend finding on Huron River. I spent some time climbing up the waterfall, taking photos of different angles and drops, before reluctantly leaving. At the time I didn't know that there were four more waterfalls upstream.
Skipping the walk through the woods I headed up the ATV trail, which brought me back to the road about a half mile north of my car. My knee, which I had hoped would be all patched up by now, was now a steady ache that throbbed with each step. I thought about heading back to Houghton but stopped by Little Mountain instead, a nice little hike to limp along.