Ascent of Sackrider Hill on 2014-07-17

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, July 17, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Sackrider Hill
    Elevation:1128 ft / 343 m

Ascent Trip Report

Another disappointing endeavor. After CHPs in Cornfields and no trespassing signs, I planned to enjoy a real hike in a state land. Safe enough right?...No this is Michigan, where everything that is not private land has signs too. As the song goes, "signs, signs, everywhere signs, don't do this, don't do that, can't you read the signs???"

My plan was to park in the Waterloo State Conservation Area parking lot off of Mount Hope Road (where one "hopes" to finally hike a mount) and then hike the Waterloo-Pickney Tail over the HP Sackrider Hill and to Glenn Road and back for a full 3.3 mile round trip and I calculated about 450 of total gain because of the meandering terrain.

It was close to 8PM and pleasant out as I pulled into the parking area only to be greeted with the first sign. "Recreational Passport Required for Entry".... what the heck? you mean a permit? a fee? Show me information? Where is the pay to play box? I will gladly slap a $5 in to get some exercise to play in a state land area outdoors. What? Where? Huh? No information kiosk ...........just another stupid government sign saying don't do this don't do that but with no explanation. And this is public lands?

Venturing further, into the completely empty parking lot, I find stupid government sign #2. Park Hours "8 AM to 10 PM" Really? Who comes up with this stuff? So let me get this...It is OK to be out hiking the trail in the dark till 10 PM but if you want to get up early and get some exercise at dawn come home and shower before work THAT is illegal??? How can hiking before 8 AM be against the rules but hiking late at night be a good thing? I would have to take off time from work to hike after 8 AM.

Well I thought, this better be one groovy hike. What amazing state jewel resides along this trail worth having to special order a "Recreational Passport" whatever that heck that is, and take time off from work to hike after 8 AM.

Curiosity now killing me, while dressed in my good work slacks, penny loafers and tie, I decided to take a quick look and not have to worry about being questioned by some State Law Enforcement officer in the morning for parking in the parking lot at some unscrupulous hour like 7 AM. So, I hiked down to the pit below. Saw nothing special so then hiked up to the highpoint Sackrider Hill. At the top is a big White Cross and a huge platform overlook at the top of the hill. I jumped up to enjoy the big vista overlooking the plains below but for one problem. There is no view! Trees block the view from this slightly prominent hill and so this large overlook platform does...........? ummm well I am not sure what it does.

Still, should I could come back in the morning dressed in boots and proper hiking attire and do my thing providing I can figure out where to hand my contribution in? So I scoped out the trail ahead. The trail appears to be a path mowed through the woods, grass, and wild flowers. I am not sure of the species of flower surrounding the area I was standing, but it was most fragrant in that ragweed type of way. My eyes began to water. Enormous sneezes building from below. ...atchooo! atchooooo! atchoooooo! After the 12th sneeze I had enough adventure, and I returned to my rental car which clearly did not carry a Recreational Passport sticker, ... and headed back to the hotel debating if it was worth coming back in the morning. At the hotel, I looked up on line what the passport thing is:

The Recreation Passport is for all motor vehicles registered in Michigan and costs $10 
A $5 Recreation Passport can be purchased for Motorcycles. 
Motor vehicles registered out of state may purchase a day pass for $8 or an 
annual pass for $29. 

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:118 ft / 35 m
    Total Elevation Loss:98 ft / 29 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:108 ft / 32 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 98 ft / 30 m; Extra: 10 ft / 3m
    Loss on way in:10 ft / 3 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    Route:Waterloo-Pickney Trail
    Start Trailhead:Adjacent sinkhole on trail  1030 ft / 313 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:88 ft / 26 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 78 ft / 23 m; Extra: 10 ft / 3m
    Gain on way out:10 ft / 3 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    Route:Waterloo-Pickney Trail
    End Trailhead:Adjacent sinkhole on trail  1050 ft / 320 m

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