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The Great Bay to Bay Trail-Breaking

The Bay to Bay Hiking and Kayaking Trail Just one of many amazing Sleeping Bear Dune National Lakeshore views that we will enjoy during the hike.

A new hiking trail is coming to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It's called the Bay to Bay Trail, and it will run the length of the park, from Platte Bay at the south end to Good Harbor Bay at the north end.

While the project is not fully funded yet, we're hoping that the park will start building the trail a year from now and complete it by the summer of 2016.

Naturally, we can’t wait to hike this new trail. Nor can we wait to start lending a hand to the fundraising for this worthy project. So in October, we are launching into both with the Great Bay to Bay Trail-Breaking Fundraiser. We'll be hiking and bushwhacking our way along the proposed route to raise money for the project.

All the money raised will go to the Friends of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and will be used to help construct the trail. If you'd like to lend your support to this great addition to the park, you can donate on our fundraising page. Cherry Republic will be matching every dollar of support.

This unmarked 35-mile (we hope!) hikeathon is going to be an adventure. We might get lost and scratched and blistered, but ultimately, we’ll get to know our Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore better than ever. Most importantly, we will raise some hard-earned money for the park.

Would you like to join us for part of the hike? We now have 8 hikers making the trailblazing trek, but we'd love to have you join us for a portion of the hike or meet us at one of our campsites. If you're interested, contact us and we can make arrangements.

Here is a draft plan of attack for the historic trail-breaking hikeathon.

We will start our hike on October 11 and finish on October 13. In three short days, we will hike the 35 miles from the northernmost point of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the southernmost point.

On the Saturday, October 11, at noon, we will meet at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor with our camping gear and supplies. We will have one or two support staff who will shuttle our group up to the tip of the park, which is on M-22, about 5 miles south of Leland. The support staff will then shuttle our camping supplies to our campsite at a to-be-determined private property just north of Glen Arbor.

Sunday will be our big day of hiking. We hope to cross through Glen Arbor, over Alligator Hill, over the dunes and Shauger Hill, through Empire, and over Empire Bluffs to a secret campsite south of Empire. Again, our camping gear will be shuttled to our camping spot.

On the final day, we will hike the mostly flat Platte Bay, where our big challenges will be rivers and creeks and the lack of trails and markers. At Cherry Republic, we mostly know the north end of the park, so this section is the area we will most likely get lost in.

Sometime on Monday afternoon… or evening... or midnight, we will arrive at a spot with a great view overlooking Crystal Lake. We will have made it. We shuttle back to our cars in Glen Arbor and then home for a well deserved rest.

That's the plan! Who's in?

Update (10/14/14): Bob and four others successfully completed the trek. You can read all about their experience hiking the Bay to Bay Trail over here.