It's not easy, but man oh MAN is it worth it.

Two weeks ago, my son and I decided to take a hiking trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's actually one of the few things that you can safely do this summer - we stayed in a hotel room away from people, didn't use housekeeping or the pool, wore masks, picked up food instead of dining at restaurants, etc. And hiking, in and of itself, can be a socially-distant activity.

On our bucket list was Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. After researching endlessly, we decided to embark on the Chapel Loop - a 10-mile hike that takes you from the parking lot, through the woods, past Chapel Falls, along the lakeshore, then back through the woods towards Mosquito Falls and to the parking lot where you started.

via Pat and AJ

Above is our recorded route on the AllTrails app, which I highly recommend. We didn't start tracking the hike until about two miles in because I forgot to hit "record," which is why our total is less than 10 miles. Surprisingly, though, the app can still track you, even when you have no service.

THIS IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW - there were many spots on the trail that weren't clearly marked and, without my app tracking it, we would've gone the wrong way. We even had people asking us for directions. So, if you don't have a paper map, make sure you have a tracking app on your phone or watch.

If you plan on doing the entire trail, be prepared. We hadn't planned on doing more than 6 or 7 miles, and then we ended up doing the entire thing. Bring LOTS of water, snacks, and a first aid kit. The bugs weren't bad, but it never hurts to bring repellent.

I'm no expert, but here are my best tips if you're taking this hike. Let me preface it with this: TOTALLY WORTH EVERY STEP. All 25,000 of them.

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