Fall in Pure Lewiston
As the days grow shorter and the evenings a bit colder, go explore what nature has to offer during this annual time of change. The back roads will provide a wealth of autumn color. If you are lucky, you may even spot a herd of elk. Here are some of the activites you can look forward to this fall.
There are three fabulous fall color trips right at our Lewiston door step. Here are some favorites:
Start out at C.R. 489 and C.R. 612 by the Marathon Gas Station, go east on 612 to 489 North. Look for the "Fun Ones" sign, turn left on 489 towards Atlanta. This road does turn to gravel, but the scenery and hills are worth it. Turn around when you get tired or proceed to 487 N. into Atlanta. If you go S. on 487 it will take you back to C.R. 612.
Start out again at C.R. 612 & C.R. 489, go east of C.R. 612 until it dead ends at M-33. Turn left (north) onto M-33 to M-32. Turn right (east) onto M-32. You will go through Hillman and can go all the way to Alpena (1 hour). Turn around when you get tired.
From the Marathon Gas Station go west on C.R. 612 to Meridian Line Road as if you were going to Gaylord. Turn right on Meridian (North) and cross M-32 at Vienna Corners. Stay on Meridian Line Road until you see Sparr Road (F-44). Turn left on Sparr Road. (Meridian Line Road turns to gravel at Sparr Road if you go too far). After you go through Sparr (one store and 3 houses), turn left at stop sign, Marquardt Road. After driving a short distance, 1/8 mile, turn right and you are at the bottom of Treetops Resort. Make your way up the hill to the restaurant. Look to the north over the Sturgeon River Valley and see what is the best color view in northern lower Michigan.
These three suggestions are not in the AAA trip approval guide. Bring a map and or GPS and enjoy. Getting lost is the bonus!
Day trips out of Lewiston can give you a host of experiences. You can visit light houses along U.S 23 at Rogers City, Presque Isle, Harrisville and Tawas City on a loop drive. A drive west will take you to Sleeping Bear Dunes, wine tasting at Mission Peninsula vineyards, and beautiful scenery along the way. There are Amish communities in Mio and Gladwin, where some delicious baked goods can be purchased from the back of a horse-drawn carriage. An autumn drive north of Harbor Springs goes through the "tunnel of trees" to Cross Village is an exceptional fall color experience.
Geo-caching is an activity that offers fun with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. A container or prize is hidden, and participants go on the "treasure hunt" by following the latitude and longitude numbers provided. There are different levels, from simple to complex. It's a challenging way to see the scenic beauty of our area. For ideas, methods and rules, check out www.geocaching.com.
Hunting: So many options!
Northeast Michigan, especially around Lewiston, has long been a favorite place among hunters.
Whitetail deer: "Deer camp" is a tradition here.
The whitetail hunt can be in the high hills, in the low swamps, along farmland edges, or wherever your hunting skills prefer.
Michigan's seasons are plentiful, with opportunities for youth, handicap, bow, crossbow or gun.
Upland bird hunting: Wild turkey are plentiful in a spring season, and also in a fall hunt. Using turkey calls from a blind works best. The young aspen stands hold ruffed grouse and woodcock, and nothing beats a well-trained bird dog working in the beautiful autumn colors.
Waterfowl: Our area's lakes and wetlands hold a variety of ducks and geese, and the area is along the flyway from Canada for flight ducks and geese. In the late part of the season, the diving ducks make a stop here.
Black bear: There are bear opportunities for both still hunters and hound runners, and one of Michigan's largest trophy bear was taken in the Lewiston area.
Elk: Michigan's elk herd is just north of Lewiston. It is a controlled hunt with licenses on a lottery, and those fortunate enough to be drawn get a hunt of a lifetime for these huge animals.
Small game: Squirrel hunting is great for the beginning hunter, and our mix of gray, red and fox squirrels are a fun quarry. Black squirrels are plentiful here, too. Winter rabbit hunting is great sport for man and beagle, with cottontail and snowshoe bunnies dashing from brush-piles. A few highly skilled hunters go after bobcat, a very elusive animal.
Spotting an elk in the wild is a wonderful experience. Seeing a group of elk together is spectacular and breathtaking. The process of looking for elk is an adventure into some of Michigan's most beautiful country. But there's no guarantee you, or your passenger will see one every time you try. If you haven't tried it but want to, here are some tips worth knowing.
Michigan Elk are located predominantly in the area north of M-32 with Hillman to the east, Gaylord to the west and Wolverine and Onaway to the north. It includes the Pigeon River State Forest.
From Lewiston, the easiest access to elk viewing is to drive north on Meridian Line Road until it forks left onto Black River Road. Black River Road ends at Blue Lakes Road. If you head west on Blue Lakes, you will drive into the Pigeon River Forest. East of Black River Road, elk are commonly viewed off Camp 30 Road, Growler Club Road, and Tow Line Lake Road. North of Atlanta about three miles is Voyer Lake Rd which goes east off M-33. Elk viewing is popular in this area off Stevens Springs Rd.
A county road map is a great tool in plotting your trip and is available at most local gas stations. Bring a camera and binoculars too. If your vehicle does not have a directional compass, bring one of those too. A lot of the roads wind and turn in varying directions, making it easy to get turned around.
The optimal time to see elk is just after first light in the morning or the final hours before dark. Elk will seek out pastures to feed and are most easily spotted on the edge of large open fields, or gas well clearings.
Bull elk shed their antlers every year usually the end of March. They begin to grow new antlers almost immediately. By summer, the new antlers are covered in velvet.
Our abundance of state land provides and equal abundance of two-track roads for larger off-road vehicles to explore. The Avery Hills area just east of Lewiston provides hilly terrain covered largely in mature hardwood forests. A large network of ORV and snowmobile trails extends from the Avery Hills to areas north of Atlanta.
Also, off-road racing fans come here to enjoy the Sno*Drift Rally event each January. This two-day event draws professional off-road drivers and their fans from all over they world. This is on of the few off-road racing events held on winter road conditions.
Skeet & Trap Shooting
Lewiston Sportsmen League offers a shooting range northeast of Lewiston. Their sporting clay range has shooting stations up a former ski hill and offers long vistas of the surrounding area. They offer skeet near the clubhouse. The trap range is currently used as part of the sporting clay course. A 200 yard rifle range is also available, open to the public the week before rifle deer season, and open to club members when the sporting clay course is not in use, since that is above the target area. There is an archery target range at the club also. Drive east on County 612 to a left turn on County 491 and follow the signs.
The Northland Sportsmans Club in Gaylord offers skeet, trap and five-stand courses. They also have rifle and pistol ranges and an indoor pistol range for winter shooting. Others in the area are the Grayling Sportsmen's Club, Hillman Sportsmen's Club, Alpena Sportsmens' Club, all with shooting ranges of one type or another.