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old sauk trail
I now have two goals in life. The first one (still unfulfilled) is to own my own Wausau turtle. The other is to walk the Old Sauk Trail from Detroit to Chicago. The Sauk Trail was an old Indian footpath that was expanded by the U.S. Army in the early 19th century and renamed the Chicago Road. I've been using John Farmer's 1836 map of the Michigan Territory and Google Maps to retrace the route. [This is separate from Michigan Avenue, which also leads to Chicago, but runs far north of the Sauk Trail to Lake Michigan.]



It looks like US-12 more or less follows the original path, but it diverges near Niles, Michigan. The original route dives southwest under various names to Crystal Lake in Jackson Township, Indiana, then heads northwest back up to Lake Michigan, which it follows to Chicago. This is the original U.S. government survey of Jackson Township from the 1830s:



There are now no roads coinciding with this line on the survey. However, I THOUGHT that I had rediscovered it on Google Maps. What looks like a path is even visible on Google Street View when it crosses major roads:



But a preserved Indian path existing more or less in its original form was too good to be true. It turns out that what I was looking at was an abandoned Wabash Railway right-of-way. And upon closer inspection, it does *not* follow the old Chicago Road:



Maybe I can just follow this right-of-way if I ever do walk the Sauk Trail and say it's "close enough".

Yesterday I hung out with Abe and we ended up watching a very depressing movie for some reason. After she left I tried to cheer myself up by looking at maps. Instead I stayed up until 1am thinking about the lost civilizations that preceded us, and listening to music by the group London Grammar, overwhelmed by an indescribable melancholy.


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