Trail Report


Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 1, 2002
Is it Denton Creek or just Denton (Loop)? I'm confused now as for some reason I thought it was Denton Creek. Regardless, I ran the Denton loop last Saturday (just South of Houghton Lake).

I rolled up there late in the morning, glad I had my GPS to find the parking lot. I've been by there dozens of times, but always on the bike. Glad about the GPS as there is no sign on M18 indicating there is a parking lot nearby, sure I would have had to turn around to find it w/o knowing the road was coming up.

One other truck there, plenty of hunter traffic tooling past though.

First thing I noticed when I got out of the truck was that it was freaking cold. Much colder than last week's ride. Think I'll start out with the jacket this time.

The sun was almost shining at times, but not enough to warm the XR up. She's a stubborn girl to fire first time for the day when it's in the 30s. Luckily she didn't disappoint with the bonus being I was good and warm myself. I finished suiting up and hit the trail when I caught my breath.

Shortly after hitting the trail I found two very interesting things - the puddles were at least partially frozen and so was the ground. I hadn't thought about it being so cold as to freeze the stupid ground already. Between avoiding the puddles and getting used to the grooved frozen ground (dart about city) I found the jacket option was a bit warm. Heck that was only 3 miles into the loop. I had stopped along a ridge that overlooked a clear cut, as I was packing my jacket away I watched a good sized doe wander into the woods about 30 yards away. Looked around some more, but didn't see any pre-season hunters scoping the area next to me..

It took a good 15 more miles before I decided it was just too dang cold to continue without that jacket. Brrr. The other two riders on the loop met me before this sunk in. I talked with 'em for maybe a minute, just a "how many with me" (0) and stuff. Maybe they didn't know hand signals - I had pulled off the trail and held up my closed fist. They were on a newer Husky and a KDX, I think. Probably half way through the loop I found the puddles they broke through were already mostly frozen back over.

One thing I noticed was this loop is the closest, in features, to the Gladwin trail that I've ridden. It's nicer in that it's not as wide and not as whooped, but it does have plenty of sand and swamp. A lot of decks as well. If you look at this loop on a map, the west loop is the muddy/swampy section. Lots of options to get your boots wet over here, plenty of beaver dams to check out too.

I'd say the ice was generally an inch thick, just enough to dance your bike all over if you don't pay attention. Not wanting to become a popsicle I did my best to avoid all of the wet spots. There is one deck that parallels a beaver dam on the south west section that had a decent puddle you had to wade into just to get on the deck. Much deeper that I hoped, but just barely over the pegs.

I took a break on one of the decks that crosses a neat little crick. Large number of old pines and cedars growing about the area with a hint of an old beaver dam just "above" the deck. Nice quiet little spot.

I finished the loop uneventfully. Hadn't rode it before, will ride it again I imagine. Certainly nothing death defying out there, although it's probably interesting in spots when the monsoon season is in full swing.

I fired the truck up and put the heater on smoke while I changed and loaded the bike. Warmer gear would not have hurt.. The other truck was long gone, of course.
Just over 3 hours to ride 40 miles. Nice to get out, a fun loop.

Oh, saw a bald eagle on the way home, along the expressway by West Branch. Pretty cool as I don't see many in Michigan. When the wife & I were in Alaska 2 years ago they were everywhere, like seagulls - kind of lose their awe factor when there are so many.




Mi. Trail Riders
Jan 16, 2002
Another good write up there 2tracr!! Thanks for taking the time to write for us. Sure am glad to hear someone out there is getting some ride time. I really appreciate the comments about the wild life here in Michigan. I ALWAYS get a kick out of the "greenies" and their "ORV's and wild life dont mix attitude". Last winter I was sledding up at Mesick with a good friend and we were traveling the old train trail just south of town. I watched a Bald Eagle fly into a tree above us, we stopped about 75 yeards from him - he sat there in that tree top right OVER the trail watching the sleds going by - he literally was tipping his head watching as other sleds went right under him!!!! I wish I would have had a camcorder....
Have you ever noticed how quickly our ORV trails become Deer runs when the bikes havent been on them for a day or so - this is ALWAYS amazing because you hear so much of how we "wreck" hunting.