Newaygo North Country Trail Section 2 – Pear to 96th St.
By Bret Brummel
Distance: 4.51 miles
Anna and I both decided the second leg was bound to be better than the first. The morning was cool, there were clouds in the sky, and I noticed there would be trees lining both sides of the road. The corner of 128th and Pear Ave. was where we began. When researching the trip, I was looking forward to this road section. The family farm where my mother was raised was just down the road from our starting point and we would be passing many familiar spots where I hadn’t traveled in years. Unfortunately for Anna, she was about to get a history lesson.
During our warm-up stretches, I pointed out we were in front of my Uncle Steve’s old house and that this is the road her Grandpa said he once ran over a blue racer snake that stretched over the both sides of the road. Heading down Pear toward 120th St, we passed Uncle Stuart’s old house, Bouwkamps’ Muck Farm, and the woods where I used to rabbit hunt as a child with my beagle Snoopy. She learned that the lake we passed was Roy’s Lake and how surprised I was that you could see it from the road. Through the woods was a deer hunting spot Grandpa calls “Number 7” for the seven-point buck he shot. Looking back, I wonder how long it was before all Anna was hearing was the school teacher from the Charlie Brown Cartoons? It’s no wonder she started picking up the pace.
The trail took us onto 120th St, North on Locust to our van parked on 96th St. With a half of a mile to go, Anna asked if I could see the finish. I pointed to a few large trees and told her there was our goal. She said “OK” and picked up her pace beating me to the finish once again. It was a much nicer run. Although it was longer than our first leg, we both felt great at the finish. Did I mention that we passed the flowing well at Hilbrands’ hunting cabin? The road you take to Knoxes? Norquists? Boffings? Vandermeulens?!?