Campground review: The Pines
The Pines campground is a backpacker only campground located in the Waterloo section of the Waterloo-Pickney Trail in Chelsea, MI. Starting from Big Portage Lake trail head, it is a 15 mile hike to reach the campground or only a half mile walk if you park at the nearby horse stables. You need to register in advance either online ($20) or at the station the day of ($12). The campground offers five campsites that are not all the same sizes as each other. Each site offers a picnic table and there are no camp fires allows at this site. It has a pit toliet that has seen better days and you have to walk a half mile to the stables for water which is a negative in my book especially after hiking 18 miles that day.
Product Review: La Siesta Hammock
During my hike of the waterloo-pickney trail, I stayed at two campgrounds. One being Birch Lake Rustic campground and the other being The Pines campground. I was using the La Siesta Padded Travel Hammock for my two nights on the trail. The hammock itself packs up to about the size of a small sleeping bag, taking up about a third of my Osprey Atmos 50L pack. It also weighs around 4-5lbs dues to the extra padding and the material it is made of is parachute silk. The La Siesta brand of hammocks come with smart hooks, this provide a very quick and easy setup compared to some other brands of hammocks that require multiple straps. The padded hammock can also be unhooked at the ends and spread out to be used as a beach blanket. The reason I bought the padded travel hammock was because I thought it would help keep me warmer from underdrafts and lessen the need for an underquilt later on in the season when the temps start to drop. I got to test my hypothesis on the first night when our campsite at Birch Lake Rustic was right on the lake edge and the winds were strong. With the wind and the temperature dropping to around 55, I was a bit chilly in my hammock which I was only using a fleece sleeping bag in. The hammock did work better at keeping me warm the second night when there was little to no wind and the temperature that night was hovering close to 50 degrees. So the extra padding does help retain some warmth, it doesn't work as a replacement for an underquilt. The only other negative is that La Siesta doesn't seem to sell a rain fly or bug net for their hammocks though I did use a ENO Guardian SL bug net with the padded travel hammock and it worked fine.
Overall, I would recommend La Siesta hammocks. It is easy to setup especially after a long day of hiking. I personally would swap out the padded travel hammock for a regular one to say on weight unless you envision seeing yourself using it as a beach blanket or are a cold sleeper.
First time visiting East Fork was for a trail marathon and loved the park and had to come visit it again. Took a two night camping trip there and enjoyed it. Campsites are your run of the mill kind, electric/water hookup. Nearby restrooms. Trails are nice but can collect water if it has rained recently so I suggest going when it is dry
Ludington offers sand dunes and several miles of beaches along Lake Michigan with many trails and forested areas. Most camp lots are large and sandy with electric and water hookups. There are also mini cabins for rent if you are not into tent camping. Very well maintained park considering how popular it is.
Silver Lake offers sandy dunes for off roading, a beach for swimming and trails. There are many camping sites in which the terrain varies. Restrooms are cleaned daily and there are showers. Silver Lake is a pretty popular park so it can get noisey if you go on a holiday weekend so plan ahead if you want a quieter visit.
Nice little campground, offers both places for tent camping and RV camping. Lots to do, bike trails, walking paths, jet ski rentals, etc. Check-in people at the pavilion were nice and helpful. They also sell firewood at the pavillion. Most campsites have electric hook up and there is a dump station for RV's.
Beautiful State park that offers camping, hiking, mountain bike trails and places to do rappeling. Camp sites are either electric or full hook up. Full hook up sites have access to showers, water and flush toilets. Electric camps have nearby pit toliets. Campsites are capped at six people. Also offers hike-in campsites