Whose Shoes? (Hiking)  LbNA # 6120

Placed DateOct 18 2003
CountyVan Buren
LocationSouth Haven, MI
Found By (hidden)
Hike Distance?

Whose Shoes?
(Hiking version)
Confirmed April 2, 2010

The third letterbox in the “Whose Shoes?” series is located at the Van Buren County North Point Conservation Area. The area is immediately north of the Van Buren State Park in southwestern lower Michigan.

“Meet us down at the Lake, okay?” That was how the message on Brian’s machine started. Justin went on to say that they were all going to the beach for the afternoon and that if Brian could join them, it would be a great time. He said he remembered that Brian didn’t have a park sticker for his car so he said he’d fax over directions -- a place where he didn’t need a sticker, but he could still meet the others on the beach.

This is what the fax said:

“To find the Conservation Area: locate the State Park which is south of South Haven, Michigan. Access to the park is on Ruggles Road, just south of County Road 380. There are signs pointing to the park. But you're not going to the park. From the corner of County Road 380 and Ruggles Road, go south, as though headed for the park entrance. 3/10 of a mile from the corner, you’ll see a small parking area (perhaps room for five or six cars?) on the right side of Ruggles Road. A sign reading “Van Buren County North Point Conservation Area Public Welcome” marks a pair of trails heading west.”

Brian packed his suit, a towel, and his flip-flops for the beach.
Trouble is, when he got down to the water he went barefoot, then wore his flip-flops home. In the process, he lost track of his hiking shoes. Let’s find Brian’s hiking shoes.

(note: as of April 2010 some of the landmarks leading the trail closer to the lakeshore have changed. However, keep generally heading west and you'll find an opportunity to head south on a trail that parallels the shore. It's high on the bluff and does move back into the trees.)

As you head towards Lake Michigan you’ll walk a trail which winds through the woods. Keep to the left at the fork and go past a huge tree cut and downed on your left. The trail continues up a gravelly hill; now watch for it to angle to the right – northwest.
Then you’ll move a bit more to the west with a left turn. Sand is evident as you turn towards the south. Follow past an overlook and lake access. Keep along this trail despite its sometimes lack of clarity. Eventually another beach access appears, marked by a stone that’s not here naturally. Continue as the trail angles to the left. You’ll pass the stone garden. Now look for the next trail to the right at about 65 steps. Go up a slight grade. A centipede waits on your left. There may one on your right as well. Walk between them. The trail goes up the hill towards the lake. If you look you’ll see the path that others have taken. After you reach the top, you'll begin to head down a slight grade, count 30 steps to a rotted log.
Follow the rotting logs to the left and you’re home. At about 7 steps along the log where it joins another, find Brian’s hiking shoes at the vee. You may have to dig a bit into the rot.
An intrepid soul might figure a way to locate the “I Spy” letterbox from these parts.