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Entries in camping (12)


Photos 193-197/365 (camping! series)

 Camping! I see people posting pictures tagged things like #happyplace and this is what I think of, the trees, the lakes, teh sand, the tiny towns that range from kitchy to classy and everything between. You'll find general areas like that eerywhere, I am sure, but my great love, my #happyplace, is right here in our own state. I've found it in the thumb area, the middle of the Upper Peninsula, the tip of the lower Penninsula, and all along our western coastline. Michigan is my #happyplace, and these are my #favoritepeople to enjoy it with. 

After three years of being kept away from our favorite camping spot by yucky weather during our reserved vacation time, we were gifted a beautiful weekend to finally enjoy it in. A little rain on the day we wanted to spend in town anyhow, and another smattering just before we needed to pack up an come home (oh joy, wet equipment), but otherwise sunny and softly warm, none of the swealtering heat that's been smothering our homelands lately. I think my favorite weather of the weekend, though, was the mist that blew in on our beach day—clear one minute, England pea soup the next, but warm and pleasant throughout none-the-less. Sunsets, cool evenings just right for tent sleeping, and fewer bugs than normal, thanks to the recent dry spells, were the cherry on top of our weekend. And because the air conditioning is broken in our van, after packing up and heading out, we spent one last full day in town shopping, golfing, and eating before hitting the road in cooler evening temps with the sun obligingly slipping behind horizon clouds to keep the car cool for our drive home. The storms were beautiful and we seemed to be driving right between them all, never actually getting wet. Unfortunately for our drought wearied yard and gardens, our home didn't get any rain either, excepting for exactly 17 drops, as we were told by our neighbor.


Tawas with friends

We go camping with good friends every summer. Since we do this every summer, I know I've gone on about it before, explaining how this is one of my best friends from my elementary school years, who happened to have a baby only two days before I had mine, and how we found each other when said kids were not quite two, and have reforged a magnificent friendship since then that has spilled over to our husbands and children.

Since I know I've gone on and on before about that, I won't do it again here. Nor will I go on and on about how much fun the kids have, and how great it is to get away and experience the great outdoors and the wonders of campfire smoke in the eyes while trying to make s'mores, or popcorn, or dinner, or the fire itself.

I also won't make this yet another post about hiking and wildlife, since we all know how much I can go on and on about that, or birds, since everyone excepting me is probably birded out for the year. 

And since that leaves very little to talk about, here is a photo essay of our annual camping trip, spent this year in Tawas State Park.


[a very splendorous place unnamed]

We are just back from our (almost) annual summer trip to [a park that shall go unnamed]. Almost, because we were frightened off last year by the promise of grizzly weather, and unnamed because in the five years since we started camping there it has become so popular that it is now nearly impossible to book sites without babysitting the bookings on the freezing January midnights when they become available for reservation. We may actually have to try that this year.

It is because of this popularity that we found ourselves camping in what I consider to be the earlier—the iffier, the chillier—side of the summer. But, while we did spend a full 36 hours huddled against high winds whipping bitingly out of the north, the majority of our trip was sunny and completely enjoyable. There's a part of me that lives for sweaty summer days, but the low-seventies were perfectly pleasant with the sun, and the icy early-summer water didn't deter the boys from swimming. Not much, at least.

There was hiking—almost mosquito free thanks to a dry summer and chilly weather. There were ice cream afternoons in town, fried perch at our favorite hole-in-the-wall bar, and putt putt on our way out of town. There were fires, and s'mores, and whittling, and doing dishes with the good old camping 2-pan system. There was snuggling up together in the tent to read at night, the lantern swaying as we were buffeted by an insistent wind. There was sand construction, and rock hunting and skipping. There were pancakes on the camp stove, popcorn over the fire, and a nip of Scotch under the stars after lights went out in the tent. 

And on our very last morning, as we enjoyed a final coffee by the lake, Calvin playing with a new friend soon to be left behind, we saw an eagle tracing overlapping circles in the air, gracing our final moments with a natural splendor. 

Until next year, [very splendorous place that shall go unnamed].


Sometimes you just feel like camping


Hiking Tawas Point

If cool, wet weather isn't great for beach going or campfires, it does not ring the same death knell for hiking. In fact, it is much easier to be happy and protected from poison ivy, biting flies, and ticks when it is cold enough to warrant the donning of long clothing and multiple layers.

We hiked every day on our camping trip, although some of those hikes might more accurately be called brisk walks. We hiked between rains on our first night, in a brilliant morning sun on our first morning, and in a varying degree of cloud cover every other time.

Tawas Point State Park is a fairly small peninsula, and seemingly shrinking. The park is a little over a mile long, and about a quarter as wide, so even though the trail was not well maintained, and parts of it seemed to be gone altogether, getting lost was neither a problem nor an option. Still, the park is teeming with relatively tame wildlife. There were so many frogs—leopard frogs, to be exact—that walking near any shore caused the ground erupt in leaping. The deer prints were equally plentiful, but it took us until our final day to actually spy a handful of deer. It was also on our last night that we met our first skunk—a very cute baby that was checking out our neighbor's site. Birds were plentiful, of course, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that we'd caught the front end of the fall warbler migration.

leopard frog

leopard frog

common garter snake

common whitetail

greater egret

great blue heron

american toad

cooper's hawk

white-tailed deer

eastern chipmunk

black-throated green warbler (fall plumage)

yellow-rumped warbler (fall plumage)

cape may warbler (fall plumage)