I was responsible for my daughter (age 6) but I wanted to hike. She's pretty good at hiking, but I wanted to go fast, at least in places. So, the best option was the Battle Creek Linear Park (BCLP). It is all paved or boardwalk, so she could ride her bike while I hiked - though note that there are also many street crossings.
We started at the eastern edge of where the BCLP and North Country Trail (NCT) run concurrently, in the Verona Park section of Battle Creek. Close by is the Verona Dam on the Battle Creek River - the BCLP proceeds by it on a non-NCT section. From there we went to the center of Battle Creek and back.
The BCLP is easy to follow, which is fortunate since the NCT is not blazed often, and the blue marks are generally small.
It was a pleasant day, with no jackets necessary. It was partially cloudy, so the sun was not an issue.
There are no apparent deviations from the map (MI-02).
East of City Center
Going in the North Dakota direction (generally westbound), this segment starts at the corner of Emmett Street and Wagner Drive in Battle Creek. There is a convenient parking area here.
The BCLP/NCT follows the Battle Creek River for this entire segment; we were never far from it. Initially the path is on the north side of the river. It descends slightly to near the level of the river, then ascends again. At that point we came to a parking area along Wagner Drive, at an NCT kiosk and a playground. My daughter, of course, demanded a playground break (which I was able to limit to 15 minutes).
After the playground area, there is a boardwalk section along Wagner Drive. Then, the path crosses the Battle Creek River on Union Street South, and proceeds along the south side of the river to cross Elm Street.
Battle Creek City Center and East
The BCLP/NCT continues along the south side of the Battle Creek River as it nears the center of Battle Creek. We passed the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department, and then the path crossed back over the river to the north side. After crossing M-66 (Division Street North), we came to the park where the Underground Railroad monument is located.
We continued to follow the path, crossing Capital Avenue Northeast. It is very pleasant here in the middle of Battle Creek. We passed the old train station (now a restaurant) and I found an old NCT trail register (no longer in use) by the side. Soon after, we came to the underpass crossing Michigan Avenue East. However, it was slightly flooded, as the river was running high. I decided it was a good place to turn around and head back.
There was nothing different to report for the return trip. Again, I was required to stop at the playground for a short break (my daughter pushes me around mercilessly!).
See the attached album. Time and travel order are the same (for once).
-->ND: 20100515 1234, 1236, 1247, 1251, 1301, 1307, 1311, 1311b, 1316a, 1321, 1333, 1340, 1345
-->NY: 20100515 1346a, 1353, 1353a, 1357, 1358, 1400, 1406, 1412, 1414, 1422, 1433, 1437, 1438, 1445, 1446, 1449, 1451
20100515 1241 (flowers)
20100515 1246 (flowers)
20100515 1312 (river)
20100515 1327 (plaque for Underground Railroad memorial)
20100515 1327a (Underground Railroad statue)
20100515 1329 (river & park)
20100515 1346 (river)
20100515 1348 (flowers)
20100515 1349 (bee on flower)
20100515 1357 (park & river)
20100515 1358 (Underground Railroad statue)
20100515 1440 (flooded)
Connector info to the next NCT segments
In the ND direction, the NCT continues concurrently with the Battle Creek Linear Path.
In the NY direction, the NCT follows a road connector of about a mile of industrial scenery followed by a walk on the streets of the community of Brownlee Park in Emmett Township. It is about 1.8 miles in all.
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