It had been raining and I was looking for a good opportunity to work on section MI-01 of the North Country Trail (NCT). I thought the southeast section of the Lost Nation State Game Area might be a good candidate since with the rivers there would be good drainage. Well, I was WRONG! It was totally flooded. Fortunately, I had a backup plan. I would start at the M-34 (Hudson Road) trailhead and work towards Hillsdale, since I had left off there before. Since it is somewhat elevated it is doubtful there would be flooding (and I was correct - there were only a few puddles).
The temperature was excellent (low 70s F) and partly sunny (though more cloudy as I progressed west). Starting from M-34 I went to the start of the official Baw Beese Trail at Sandy Beach (by Lake Baw Beese) in Hillsdale and then returned. The hike took more than 2.5 hours, including picture-taking.
The trail is well blazed on the rail trail section only. There are no blazes on the road connector or after you enter the park surrounding Sandy Beach.
The major deviation from map MI-01 was addressed in my trip report for Lost Nation State Game Area (northwest section).
Road Connector to Trail
The trailhead on M-34 (Hudson Road) is on the south side of the highway, right after a guardrail east of Chase Road - it is not well-marked (so see my picture album). From there, I started in the North Dakota direction along M-34. Shortly, I crossed M-34 onto Chase Road, followed by Beecher Road through the village of Osseo.
After Osseo, the NCT returns to trail at a blue blazed orange guardrail, which is the start of a rail trail segment. This is the first blaze since the Lost Nation State Game Area.
The blue NCT blaze is on the guardrail
Trail to Lake Baw Beese
On Google maps, the trail is marked as "Baw Beese Trail" and it may be informally known as the BBT, but as far as I know this is not official at this time.
The trail is well marked all the way to the lake. The path is very level and dirt/sand with a few pebbles. Much of the trail is lined with trees, though there are a few open sections and a couple of road crossings.
As I approached Lake Baw Beese, the trail was more open with some lake views. There are houses lining the trail in places - at one point I actually walked past some houses' back yards. The trail segment ends where some rocks block the path along the shore of Second Lake (part of Lake Baw Beese), and this is where the blue blazes end. The NCT continues into the park surrounding Sandy Beach in Hillsdale along a dirt road and then leaves the park to run concurrently with the (officially marked) paved Baw Beese Trail.
The NCT passes behind houses
At this point I turned around to return in the New York direction.
Lake Baw Beese to M-34
There was nothing different to report in the NY direction. The key is to enter the park at Sandy Beach and to walk the dirt road until you see the blue blazes to start the trail section. I noted that mountain bikers also use the trail (having passed one and seen tire tracks) - I'm not sure if this is allowed but they do it anyway.
In and west of Osseo, the rail trail could continue further past the current end into an undeveloped area, but I saw that this is all overgrown and not really a good place to walk. It would be a good place to develop in the future, because it would then go all the way to the village green. (It may be that because the previous road connector went south down Blackbridge Road there was no reason to make the NCT go toward the center of Osseo. However, that has changed now with NCT re-routing.)
After leaving Osseo on Beecher Road, the key to the road connectors is to stay right until you reach M-34 (Hudson Road). I took the left and then crossed M-34 to the trailhead parking area.
See the attached album. Time and travel order are the same.
-->ND: 20100522 1250, 1250a, 1253, 1254, 1259, 1302, 1307a, 1311, 1313, 1318, 1319, 1323, 1329, 1329b, 1337, 1346, 1353, 1357, 1404, 1409, 1410
-->NY: 20100522 1412, 1415, 1419, 1422, 1427, 1432, 1439, 1449, 1451, 1459, 1501, 1502, 1502a, 1507, 1513, 1518, 1523, 1528, 1530, 1532
There are a few scenery pictures of Lake Baw Beese:
- 20100522 1354a (Lake Baw Beese)
- 20100522 1401 (Lake Baw Beese)
- 20100522 1418 (Lake Baw Beese)
- 20100522 1421 (Lake Baw Beese)
1401 | View of Second Lake (part of Lake Baw Beese)
1354a | View of Third Lake (part of Lake Baw Beese)
Connector info to the next NCT segments
In the ND direction, the NCT continues northwest on the (officially marked) southeast section of the BBT in Hillsdale.
In the NY direction, the NCT enters the northwest section of the Lost Nation State Game Area.
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