Colorful tours, Hemingway trail marker come to Kalkaska

Lauren Clark, Contributing Writer

Photo by Lauren Clark

A sample of the Michigan Hemingway Society Trail marker that will be unveiled 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Trout Statue is currently on display at the Kalkaska County Library. The plaque commemorates Ernest Hemingway's 1916 trip north from his home in Illinois to fish and hike with a friend.


Courtesy photo

The Northern Arrow Fall Color Tour pulls back into the Kalkaska Depot Station on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-13 for the third year of round trip tours to Petoskey and back.


KALKASKA – The same railroad tracks that brought Ernest Hemingway to the Kalkaska Depot in 1916 will bring passengers from Kalkaska to Petoskey for the annual Northern Arrow Fall Color Tour on the second weekend of October.

This year, a special event will take place before departure on Saturday, Oct. 12 to unveil the new Michigan Hemingway Society Hemingway Trail designation marker at the Trout Statue in downtown Kalkaska.

The Northern Arrow Fall Color Tour pulls back into the Kalkaska Depot Station on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-13 for the third year of round trip tours to Petoskey and back.

Passengers will ride aboard vintage passenger coaches pulled by a Great Lakes Central diesel locomotive. The train excursions, hosted by the Steam Railroad Institute, depart at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

According to organizers, the forest’s fall colors will likely be in full display, providing a feast for passengers’ eyes while they enjoy the comforts of railway travel.

This is the first year that a second Sunday morning option has been offered as part of color tour. In past years, the trip has completely sold out and this year’s Saturday trip is also sold out. At the time of publication, tickets were still available for seats on Sunday, Oct. 13 (see website at end for more information). 

Prior to the Saturday departure time, the Kalkaska Downtown Development Authority and Kalkaska County Library will unveil the Hemingway Trail designation marker. The plaque dedication event will take place at 9 a.m. It is open and free to the public.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was a Nobel Prize winning influential novelist and journalist who spent most summers in his youth travelling to northern Michigan from his home in Chicago. Although Hemingway is best known for his works such as “The Old Man and the Sea,” “A Farewell to Arms,” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” it is his semi-autobiographical writings such as “The Nick Adams Stories” or “Big Two-Hearted River” that illustrate the lessons and experiences Hemingway gained during his time in Michigan.

The summers he spent traversing and adventuring in local streams and forests brings the Michigan Hemingway Trail straight through the heart of Kalkaska. 

The Michigan Hemingway Trail is a self-guided tour composed of 12 sites identified by Michigan Hemingway Society founding board member Professor Ken Marek’s research. Each stop on the journey reflects locations associated with Hemingway’s life or writing. The trail’s inauguration was in 2012 and the Kalkaska site is the most recent addition to the path.

Hemingway rode a train to the Kalkaska depot, spent a few hours in downtown Kalkaska and came upon the Rapid River while hitchhiking north in 1916. After exploring the Rugg Pond/Rapid City area and fishing, Hemingway eventually made his way back to Kalkaska to take a train to Petoskey.

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