Weekend Trail Report: Potawatomi, Crooked Lake, Silver Lake Trails

I got out on the Potawatomi Trail in Pinckney State Recreation Area Friday for a little while. Here’s the state of one of the Ann Arbor area’s most famous trails.

The recent mild break in the winter weather has us all excited for Spring. Its the perfect chance to get outside and break-up the monotony, and somewhat trapped feeling, that can creep in along with the bone-chilling cold. Opportunities abound in the Ann Arbor to get out for a walk, ride, or run and enjoy the sun. Sorry skiers, your time will come again.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The weather for Saturday and Sunday is calling for mild temperatures and sunny skies.

I took the fat bike out to hop on the Poto at Silver Lake in Pinckney Rec Area. Its the launching point for the Poto, (17 mi), Crooked Lake (5 mi) and Silver Lake (2 mi) Trails as well as some other gorgeous walking trails not open to mountain bikes.

I was warned by a biker just coming off the trail that the first 100 yards or so of the Poto was ice with a lot of icy stretches.

I glanced at his tires. He didn’t have studs. I’m surprised he survived at all. I thanked him. He wished me well. I kicked off for the trail. When I hit the ice, my bike didn’t even flinch. My studded tires handled it as clean as summer dirt.

There were icy patches that would be treacherous, and I marveled again that the guy wasn’t in the hospital with a concussion. I rode past the Silver Lake Trail  turnoff and headed out into the hinterland of Pinckney Rec Area, alone and unafraid.

I passed Pickerel Lake, forgot to snap a photo for this article, and crossed Hankerd Rd. The trail west of Hankerd was surprisingly devoid of ice. Damp, almost dry leaves constituted most of the path. The dirt, like the leaves, was moist but not sloppy wet for the most part.

At Blind Lake, the blue sky was giving the ice on the lake a bluish hue. Worth the trip right there.

The two-track leading out of Blind Lake was a sheet of ice. Incredibly, at least to me, there was a jogger loping along unperturbed. We did the head nod thing and I turned off the icy drive to where the Poto continued.

It was a typical ride as I lumbered along. The feel and thrill of outside superseded the effort I was giving to make it happen. I was breathing hard most of the time. That’s why I put some music to the video at the end of this article. I didn’t want you to think I was straddling a locomotive out there.

I continued following the Poto as it wound its way through Pinckney Rec, but I confess that I took every possible short cut which reduces the 17-mile trail down to almost 11. There were enough wet spots to make a good mess of me and the bike. But the scenery was astounding, especially along the water. I’m a sucker for cobalt blue and umber.

Silver Lake Trail – lots of icy patches. Hikers and runners should be fine. Bikers without studs, go with God.

Crooked Lake Trail – no icy patches except along Silver Lake. Great condition.

Poto – Up to Pickerel Lake has lots of icy stretches. Beyond that is in great condition. Where it overlaps with Crooked Lake Trail is also in great shape.

There were quite a few people out on the trails taking advantage of the mild break in winter. Runners were running. Hikers were hiking. Dog walkers were dog-walking. A biker was biking.

Here’s a short clip of the trail conditions from the GoPro footage I took to pass along:

So I say to you what my mom told me as a kid: “It’s a beautiful day. Put down the chips and get outside!”

Thank God she did.

Have fun!

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