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With two weeks into school and a few trees already turning orange and red, it is a sure sign that fall is on its' way. The few blue-sky, sunny days that we have left before the brisk winds start to blow, leave me no choice but to hop on the bike and find new places to explore. For those of you who have followed my blog, you know that I feel as though I have experienced every road Door County has to offer. Well, each time I decide to take off, I find myself learning something new about our beautiful county; yesterday was no exception. Waking up to perfect weather and nothing to do (the garage and lawn could wait), I headed south to the southern Door County area; a less traveled but equally beautiful part of our county.
It's natural to head into northern Door County when you visit. The small, quaint villages draw people to the shops, restaurants and festivals. However, southern Door County offers visitors the luxury of quiet roads and outstanding scenery; not to mention excellent restaurants and views. Heading south from Sturgeon Bay, I took a left on County U; just south of the Bayvieiw Bridge. If you are going north it is the last right turn before you cross the bridge. A friend told me about a road that is off the beaten path. Having an adventurous side, I never turn down the opportunity to explore new roads! As I was riding south on County U about 5 miles out of Sturgeon Bay I turned left on Hornspier Road and took that straight to the lake. It led me to South Lake Michigan Drive which was a gravel road of sorts. The road ran right along the water; closer than I have ever driven to the water. I took that road along the lake up to the property that the Door County Land Trust now owns. It is called Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve.
There are 445 protected acres and 2.5 miles of hiking trails. The trail features a variety of landscapes and habitats including open fields, sand dunes and Lake Michigan Beach.
As you're walking on the trails, you can see the ship canal and two lighthouses; it exemplifies Door County perfectly! As I headed back to Sturgeon Bay I came across the Ahnapee State Trail. This brought back many memories of when our kids were young. We would walk or bike for hours and always knew we were on a trail that would only see bikes and walkers.
The trail is a conversion of old railroad tracks that spans 30 miles.
During spring, summer and fall hikers, bikers, and horseback riders share the trail. In winter cross country skiers and snowmobilers glide over the frozen ground. During the winter months the trails connect with 300 miles of snowmobile trails in Kewaunee and Door County.
As the weekend winds down I contemplate the passage of time and the memories of another wonderful summer spent in Door County. I realize how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful part of the state and eagerly await the changing of the colors and cool , crisp rides on my motorcycle!
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