Hey Bob, great running into you yesterday!
I rode up the 'glass hill' re-route and personally find it much easier than the original. I think once it gets burned in, there won't be any problem going up the re-route for most all riders.
The trail is in amazing shape, a far cry from the bushwhacking it used to be. Thanks everyone for the hard work! Sleepy is truly the Island Lake of the north.
Bob, I did make a left at the end of the glass hill section by the (hard right) bridge and semi bushwhacked up the route where I was stopped just short of where it would intersect the route going straight from the glass hill intersection. Wow. I hope that makes sense.
However, I was unwilling to sacrifice flesh and blood going through the hedgerow of prickers blocking ~10 feet of trail. The actual trail is very packed in, but the brush obscures things a bit. Anyway, this might be a good alternate for those unwilling to scale the ridge before dropping to the stream section and still allow them to follow the outer loop of the red trail.
I"m already dreaming of a Mid-Mich Bikepacking tour, once the CIS is clear (or not). Hopkins Lake, Sleepy, Ionia, Greenville... and all the rail trails in-between- to complete the loop, hitting Stanton, Edmore and Alma And a wee bit of road between Owosso and Alma.