When journeying to the Northern Hand, hiking is an absolute must. Here is a nice list of places to adventure to around Traverse City. There are plenty of marvelous locations to do this (Sleeping Bear being of particular repute), but it's really great when you don't have to pay to play. Fortunately, Michigan has expansive state forests, where you can keep your wallet in your pants. We took a 15 minute drive to the Sand Lakes Quiet Area, a sweet spot with 10 miles of trails all closed off to motorized vehicles. Joy! They are also open to mountain biking. When we arrived, there was one other person in the parking lot. He was computing on his car roof while talking on his cell phone. Man had disappeared by the time our hike was over, but car mysteriously remained.
Smokey the Bear on crack.
This lovely place gave you a chance to hike some of the North Country Trail. If you've ever hiked Pictured Rocks, then you've been on it before! The trail, in theory, will span completely through 7 states. It is as of yet incomplete. I would like to do the whole thing someday if it is, minus that whole Ohio part. Bleh.
We hiked for a little over two hours, deciding as we went which routes to take. Choose your own adventure! We went from trails rated easy, to trails rated advanced, to a trail rated medium. We came to the occasional obsticales on the black diamond trails that took excessive strength and endurance to cross.
There are (as you can tell from the name of the trail) an abundance of lakes that you can stand and view stoically. The air smells like sand and happiness. We love you, mitten!