Driving on I-75, you might think you’ve caught a glimpse of Bald Mountain. Right next to the exit you’re supposed to take, a rotund mound looms languidly over the horizon. And, true to the name, it’s bald, treeless and forlorn.
Then you take the exit and quickly realize you’ve been staring, in fact, at a dump. They might’ve covered it with grass, but it’s a fucking dump, man. It’s right next to the Palace of Auburn Hills, where the Detroit Pistons play.
Try to explain that real estate decision. I can’t.
The real “Bald Mountain” is about 4 miles up the road. It’s not a mountain, though, but a series of wooded hills abounding with lakes, ponds and creeks. It’s pretty nice, actually. And when you’re walking up the park’s vaunted 60 foot incline, it almost feels like you could be on a small mountain in New England. You can feel your heart pounding, your leg muscles straining.
Just don’t turn the wrong way, or you might end up face to face with a real, live big box megastore.
I didn’t see much wildlife during my trek, just a few birds. No deer. I’d imagine the active shooting range in the park has something to do with that. I know I could hear constant gunfire when I was on the “Red Trail”, which skirts the range. It didn’t exactly add to the ambience.
But again, overall, it was a nice walk. It was fun to be surrounded by actual hills, and even in late fall, Michigan has a certain lushness to it compared to the drier states out West. The grass was so green. I’d taken it for granted growing up, being surrounded by all this water. In Colorado, it’s like you could see the water levels dipping every time you took a shower.
They used to call Michigan a “water-winter wonderland”. Heck, they’d stamp the phrase on our license plates. But then, between all the subsequent water pollution and waves of invasive aquatic species, the slogan was dropped, and we all started dreaming about retiring in Arizona and Florida.
Well, you know what? Maybe they should’ve taken a trip to Bald Mountain.
OK, maybe that wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Still, I give Bald Mountain Recreation Area 3/5 Exit 1As. That’s worth something, right?
Here are a few pictures from my visit: