Hiking Upstate New York and Rescuing A Dog in Michigan: Tuck’s Travels

I know I say this every time, but it is hard to believe that another month has gone by. It is time to update you on my adventures hiking upstate New York and rescuing a dog in Michigan!

By the way, I have been on the road for more than 110 days since leaving Texas as of this update. You’d think I’d have my routine dialed by now, but it is still very much a work-in-progress as the road always presents new learning opportunities.

The Route

I have covered so much ground since the last update that I had to include three shots to highlight my entire route!

hiking upstate new york route 1
Part 1

hiking upstate new york route 2
Part 2

hiking upstate new york route 3
Part 3

Campsite Chronicles

In honor of the main resource I am using to find campsites during my travels, I’ll be reviewing all of these locations on The Dyrt App as I go.

If you want to check out a free 7-day trial of the app for your next road trip, please use this custom link!

Here’s a quick chronicle of the campsites I’ve stayed in since the last update:

Videos From Hiking Upstate New York and Rescuing a Dog in Michigan

Check out some of the short videos from my hiking upstate New York and rescuing a dog in Michigan, including a beautiful paddle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore!

Rescue at Turnip Rock on Lake Huron

Turnip Rock is an iconic landmark at the tip of the thumb in Michigan.

P.S. Michiganders use their mitten hand to describe where you are and where the other cool places to see in the state are, which I love!

I was alerted to the quaint town of Port Austin, Michigan by a family friend. After doing a little research, I determined that the paddle out to Turnip Rock from the Port Austin harbor would be my main draw.

I was the first one in the parking lot at Bird Creek Park and one of the first on the water that morning. The paddle was billed as a 2-4 hour, 7-mile round trip. So I was surprised when I rounded a corner after just 2.5 miles of paddling and there stood Turnip Rock right in front of me!

hiking upstate new york Turnip Rock
Turnip Rock

I had a few moments of solace to contemplate how such a gravity-defying rock could still be standing before about 15 other paddlers arrived and the calm was broken.

Having expected a longer paddle, I decided to continue along the shoreline into the next bay.

An Unexpected Sound

Shortly thereafter, I became aware of a barking sound somewhere up ahead.

At first, I thought it was coming from somewhere up on the cliffs. As I got closer, however, the echo suggested otherwise.

This was a dog-in-a-cave situation, and that was a distressed bark. There was no doubt about it.

I steered my kayak towards the sound and made out a small four-legged figure in the dark of a cave underneath the cliff.

As I got closer, the inevitable became clear and my brain started to process. This dog had somehow jumped or fallen off the cliff and swam into the closest place where it could stand.

Knowing it had come down, it was attempting to make its way back up, but there was no possible route.


I did my best to talk to him (which I later learned was her) and let her know that I could help. Does everyone’s inflection go up a few notches when they are talking to dogs and babies?

Fortunately, the cave was very shallow and I was able to exit my kayak easily. She didn’t attempt to run away and I did my best to reassure her as I picked her up and placed her into the cockpit of my kayak.

I then had to get myself in without sitting on or kicking her. That wouldn’t be the best way to start our relationship that way and she was already startled enough.

We backed out of the cave and into the sunlight as she shivered in my lap. Her tag alerted me to her name (Maizey), address (nearby!), and two phone numbers of her owners.

She shivered nervously with her front paws on the rim of the kayak’s cockpit as I got my phone out to call the owners. I dialed the first…no answer. Then tried the second…no answer there either.

Is This Going To Be My Dog Now?

I looked around. Nearby, there was a beach with a set of stairs running from the cliff down to the waterfront. There was a gentleman there getting ready to launch his kayak…a community resource!

I caught him just as he pushed offshore.

“Excuse me, but do you know the Banks family?” I asked. (I’ve changed their last name for anonymity’s sake).

“I think so,” he replied. “But why?”

“Well, I hate to interrupt your paddle, but I think I found their dog in a cave just over yonder!”

He turned his kayak on a dime and was immediately ready to be involved in the rescue effort.

We pulled our kayaks up onto the beach together and then loaded into his golf cart with Maizey still on my lap shivering.

Searching Pointe Aux Barques

Just down the street, we encountered two ladies who looked as though they had just returned from the nearby golf course. We inquired if anyone knew about a lost dog.

They did, in fact, and urged us to follow them to the owner’s address. The rescue party for the marvelous Miss Maizey had just doubled in size.

At the owner’s house, I exited the cart and went to the front door with one of the ladies ahead of me.

She knocked…no response. Next, she tried the doorbell…not even a shift of movement throughout the house or in the yard. The lady then cracked the door open (apparently this was one of those rare remaining neighborhoods where folks leave their front doors unlocked).

“Hello?!” She called inside twice, but there was no answer.

“Well, I know their neighbors are over at the clubhouse for brunch,” she said. “Let’s try over there. Do you want to come?”

I did, so it was back into the golf cart and over to the breakfast hall (I was kind of hungry myself, but was less concerned about my safety than Maizey’s at this point).

The Neighbors

At the breakfast hall, I met the owner’s neighbors and Maizey got a nice little slice of bacon to make her feel at home again. Her rescue party had now grown to six.

Somewhat reluctantly, I turned Maizey over to the owner’s neighbors and let them know who I was if the owners inquired.

Then, I said goodbye to Maizey, hopped back into the golf cart, and returned to the beach and my kayak.

I paddled for a while with the gentleman who had so graciously driven me hither and thither and then said my goodbye and continued east in the bay. After another 20 minutes of paddling, I turned around and headed back.

Meeting The Owners

Passing the cave where I had found Maizey, I spotted the owners in their yard on the cliff above.

“How is Maizey recovering?” I shouted up to the woman I saw sitting in the yard. She seemed confused. I informed her of the location where I had found her, but she still seemed oddly aloof.

Somewhat disappointed, I turned my kayak and began heading back around the bend to start my return paddle to Port Austin Harbor.


I heard these words over my shoulder when I was about 200 yards away. Maizey’s mom was standing on the cliffside waving at me.

Feeling better, I looped back to speak with her briefly. As it turns out, the woman I had spoken to earlier was Maizey’s mom’s daughter and had been upstairs, in the house, and asleep throughout the duration of Maizey’s time missing.

We chatted briefly about where I had found her and how I had gotten her back before she invited me over for dinner that night.

I graciously accepted and returned later that evening for a couple of beers, a delicious meal, and a historical tour of the Pointe Aux Barques (PAB) community!

Photos From Hiking Upstate New York and Rescuing a Dog in Michigan

Check out some of my favorite photos from my adventures in New York and Michigan:

hiking upstate new york View from the Top of Giant Mountain in New York
View from the Top of Giant Mountain in New York

hiking upstate new york Niagara Falls Overlook
Niagara Falls Overlook

The Niagara River at Whirlpool State Park
The Niagara River at Whirlpool State Park

hiking upstate new york Conesus Lake in Upstate New York
Conesus Lake in Upstate New York

Sunset at Waterloo Recreation Area in Michigan
Sunset at Waterloo Recreation Area in Michigan

Port Austin Sunrise
Port Austin Sunrise

Sunset Over Traverse City Michigan
Sunset Over Traverse City Michigan

Sunset Over Lake Michigan from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sunset Over Lake Michigan from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

hiking upstate new york Rock Arch on Lake Superior in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Rock Arch on Lake Superior in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Seasonal Waterfall in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Seasonal Waterfall in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Gear, Camping, and Truck Setup Insights From Hiking Upstate New York and Rescuing a Dog in Michigan

hiking upstate new york Sunset Over Lake Michigan From Big Knob Campround in the UP
Sunset Over Lake Michigan From Big Knob Campground in the UP

Here are the insights I’ve learned (or at least written down in my journal) related to my gear, camp life, and truck setup since the last update:

  1. The Yakima RoadShower needs to remain pressurized to a minimum of 20 PSI to provide an effective water flow.
  2. It is still a bi foreign to me to even be able to have a campfire at this time of year.
  3. Always carry replacement shock cord for tent poles. Had to fix snapped cord on one tent pole (took 3 hours and 3 beers to complete!).
  4. My extra-large hammock tarp is coming in handy as an additional shelter over my tent on especially rainy evenings.

Personal Insights From Hiking Upstate New York and Rescuing a Dog in Michigan

Sunset From the Beach in Au Train Michigan
Sunset From the Beach in Au Train, Michigan

Over the course of the last year, I have realized that one of the primary purposes of my life is to become the best-version-of-myself.

To that end, I am doing my best to look at all of my experiences (good and bad) through the lens of opportunities for personal growth and development.

These experiences (and the lessons learned through them) are easiest for me to relate in this form.

So, here are some of the personal ideas I’ve written in my journal over the past week:

  1. Give yourself more opportunities to disconnect and not worry about the world and your place in it.
  2. Spirituality is a journey of the individual to discover the universal.
  3. Don’t waste opportunities to connect with new humans.
  4. It is impossible to live up to an illusion.
  5. Compared to bad thinking, all the pollution and viruses in the world are peanuts.
  6. Be kind and love.

What’s Next After Hiking Upstate New York and Rescuing a Dog in Michigan?

I am finalizing this travel blog as I spend my final days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Summer has flown by, but I am still hoping to see some of the treasures ahead in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and potentially even Montana.

Dropping temperatures and fall weather could change my plans greatly. For now, however, that is the plan! If you have any recommendations for those areas, please drop a comment below or shoot me an email at tucker@thebackpackguide.com.

Also, if you are stumbling upon this travel blog and you haven’t been following my other stops, check out some of my previous updates!

Tuck’s Travels

Final Thoughts

What do you guys think about these updates? What do you want to know more about?

Do you want to see more stuff about my setup and the gear I’m using?

Would you be more interested in local flora and fauna for all the places I’m stopping?

I would love to get your feedback so that I can actively seek out cool facts about all the places I’m traveling this summer or make sure I set aside time to give you insights into my setup and how I’m keeping myself comfortable on the road.

Please don’t be shy about leaving a comment to let me know what you’d like to learn more about. There are seriously no wrong answers!

Thank you guys for taking a few minutes out of your busy lives to check out this update.

I’ll see you in the next one!

Yours In The Spirit of Adventure, Tuck


  1. Melissa aka Maizey’s mom

    You will always and forever be our hero Tucker! Seeing these videos of our beloved Maizey has left tears in my eyes! Three hours of searching for her throughout the woods only to find out she’d been right below us. Please come back and visit anytime. An open invitation ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Post
    1. Post
  2. Steve

    I am an avid hiker and love your website and the adventures you go on. I live in Vietnam and lived and hiked around Australia when I lived there. I use to live in a small community called Bundeena which is a town in the Royal National park. so I spent a lot of my time hiking and camping through the park. It is big. You have opened my eyes, as when I think New York my brain defaults to tall buildings and streetscapes. I never knew you were so close to this spectacular scenery. 

    Hats off for rescuing your furry boating companion, I’m sure it was difficult but the owners must have been overjoyed. I now want to visit upstate New York. Is there any accommodation available close where I could base myself? And can you rent backpacks locally or would I have to purchase one?  

    An awesome read, thanks so much.


    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Hey Steve! 

      Thank you and great questions. I’m not sure about backpack rentals, but I’d imagine there must be a company within close proximity that you could rent from. You’d have to determine where exactly in upstate New York you’d like to visit. It’s actually quite a sizeable area. I recommend Lake Placid and Saranac as potential “jumping-off” points!

  3. Vasile

    The trip and the savior Tucker!
    I was impressed by Maizey’s rescue, a wonderful deed. It was as if I was there even though I was from Romania.
    Wonderful places, I’ve always liked hiking.
    What a joy for Maizey’s masters, that’s all and how much it means.
    The little videos make me be there with their author.
    The joy of exploring that was transmitted to me urges me to action, to be an explorer of the surroundings of some extraordinary places.

    1. Post
      Tucker Ballister

      Thank you so much Vasile! 

      I’m just glad to have been in the right place at the right time for Maizey and her owners! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.