Journal Categories
Journal Tags

Entries in swimming (10)


[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].


Making a big splash


Stretching it further

And following vacation, how about vacation? Harbor Springs. Possibly my favorite place away from home on earth. Although Jon had to go home and get back to work (I felt sorry for him, I really, really did), Calvin and I spent the rest of the week staying with my Godmother, Lonnie, and soaking up sun, love, good food, and fresh air. If camping hadn't been so relaxing, and it was, the rest of this week would have done the trick. We built a sort of routine, spending a little bit of every morning on school stuff, the afternoon at the little local beach in the water and sand, and the evenings at some activity together.

We read some books, we watched some TV, and Calvin's Aunt Lonnie kept him busy with a couple of crafts and playing with her pup, Blue. We played putt putt (who can ever get enough of putt putt?), walked the cemetery looking for Ghoul Gates (you'll know them if you've ever read The Graveyard Book), and drove over some rather forsaken road to middle-of-nowhere lake in search of loons (where we found a tern and a yellow-rumped warbler, but no loons). We had dinner once at Noggin Room and once at Keyhole, two of our favorite places, and twice at home, just the three of us lounging on the deck watching the bay and the birds and listening to the wind in the trees. And we were happy together and having fun.

The hardest part about being there, is the coming home (except that this time, of course, Jon was waiting there for us, and that made coming home pretty okay this time).

17—really 17, they didn't all fit in one picture—turkeys in the yard

Pirate's Cove Golf

arrrrr, he's a pirate

arrrr, he's giving Nonnie golfing lessons

Sand pants

walking to the cemetery

ghost turkeys!

possible ghoul gate

sand, sand, and more sand

Sturgeon Bay

Yellow-rumped Warbler


Camping take 2

Camping with our friends has become an annual event that both families have come to treasure. It started three years ago when the kids were five with a short, one night in fact, trip to Irish Hills. It was a trial run, the site selected because it was close to home in case of utter failure, but it went well and has spawned what we hope will be lifetime of outings. Last year and this year we set up camp in Wilderness State Park. Different from our July trip to Pictured Rocks, though, this is the kind of campsite you drive right up to, the kind that has electricity and water, and even camp communal flush toilets and showers. I love Wilderness. From just about every site you can see and hear Lake Michigan, there's swimming, there's hiking, and while it doesn't offer the challenge of the backpacking, it offers the kind of calm, relaxing, introspective vacation that I need at least once a year.

This year we spent three nights at camp. We built fires every night and roasted things like hotdogs, chicken, corn, marshmallows, and popcorn, and we make coffee. We ate granola for breakfast and peanut butter for lunch. We hiked the nearby trail around a pond and went in search of a geocache. We constructed in the sand and splashed in the water. We took day trips to Mackinaw City to try the putt putt course there and get a history lesson at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac. And for entertainment at the campsite, in addition to hangman and looking for the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, we watched the young (oh very young) couple who arrived at the neighboring campsite and unpacked everything from brand new, untested boxes, and proceded on their first camping attempt. It made us feel well-seasoned in our art, and gave us something to giggle about quietly.

hot dogs on our first night

waiting for water to boil for coffee

It's the Loch Michigan monster! Shall we call her Michi?

Colonial Michilimackinac

Colonial Michilimackinac

Mackinac Bridge from Colonial Michilimackinac

Love the red accents...those colonials sure knew how to decorate

A little muncher in the grains...

I shall call this: self portrait in an awesome window with red.

watching the ongoing archeaological dig in the center of the fort

talking to the "trader" in his trader's house

Red Coats (who wouldn't have been called red coats then) demonstrate the unreliability of their rifles.

Posing with the enemy

Fun and games!


Watching the blacksmith at work

Frolicking through the waves

Realizing that the little fish really do nibble your toes

Roasting corn


Putt putt

More frolicking

sand fort

new fangled hangman


more new fangled hangman


Playing catch up

The problem with falling behind on a journal of any kind, is a reluctance to go forward before catching up on the past. Unfortunately, that means that the more behind one falls, the less likely one is to get caught up, the less likely one is to ever start again. Over the past week-plus of my blog hibernation that something exciting has happened I've thought "Great! I now have something to write about and pictures to share!" quickly followed by "Oh, but I have to catch up first." So how about a quick catch-up post—everything that has happened, or at least everything that I have pictures of (pics or it didn't happen!), and then we'll move on from there.

Journaling the trip

Climbing at the park with HAA (our homeschooling group that meets once a week)

I found this word fun on the floor one morning.

On the first day of September we drove to a Lake Michigan beach to visit with family and soak up some final  joys of summer.

We had science over for dinner.

And we partyied in our garden, finding the first signs of fall and ridding the beds of weeds.

And I'm calling that caught up. Tomorrow is the first day of school for many, just another day for us, but I'm sure it will be a great day.