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All About the Kids V Trip report
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“Thursday morning about 10am, Birch, Abby and I quickly stuffed the food we'd bought for the trip that morning into our packs and headed off down the trail for the mile and a half or so hike. The skies were grey and a light rain fell making the air thick. The sand sucked at our feet and our packs felt twice as heavy as usual. After stopping to eat the last of the huckleberries on the bushes that line the trail we finished our hike through the woods and came out to the dunes. The first view of lake Michigan over the sandy hills is always a thrill.
We turned left and hoped that no one was going to be camped at the site we had in mind. We found it empty but well littered with all sorts of garbage. We took care of it as best we could and set up a tent to let the world know we claimed the site. The rain had let up but the humidity had to have been 95%. We made a dash for the lake, swam and cooled down. We returned to camp, finished setting up, made the kiddo take a rest so she'd make it up for campfire time, found firewood, laid around, and enjoyed the utter peacefulness of having to nothing and only having cicadas and birds and the breeze and the waves to listen to. Birch took a nap too, I read my Lake Michigan rock picker's guide from front to back.
After everyone woke up we swam again (the sun came out), got Abby's parafoil flying and enjoyed the sun, sand and water.
Pizza was on the menu for dinner. Birch and I found these great little pizza crusts, similar to boboli but thin and crispy and they came with sauce packets. We bought pesto and string cheese and anchovies. We cooked them on a make-shift grill over the campfire. I've never eatten better pizza!
We sat on the beach and watched the sun set together then headed back to camp and tucked Abby in for the night. Birch and I split a bottle of wine and watched the stars come out. The night sky over Lake Michigan is incredible! The milky way is as visible as it should be. We saw a few meteorites. We hit the hay and promptly fell fast asleep.
All of a sudden a pretty big animal came flying through our camp. It circled the tent and ran on. Abby sat bolt upright and whispered in fear that an animal was outside. I could hear someone whistling far off and told her not to worry it was just a dog and we were safe. The dog ran through one more time and the whistling continued. Then I heard someone calling "TRIXIE!", and somehow it occurred to me, through the haze of sleep that Helinka's dog is Trixie. Up I jumped, grabbed my headlamp and started searching for her and her boys. I found them quickly on the beach. It was only about 11pm, but we were sleeping hard. That Trixie is one smart dog because they never would have found us that night, from the beach. I led them back to camp, Birch and Abby tumbled out of the tent, they got settled in and we all went back to bed.
Friday dawned clear and warm. We had a great morning and played in the sand and lake. Birch and the guys and Abby hiked back out to the big dune. The afternoon brought HumanPackmule and Treebait and Laurel. When we headed out to the beach again it was just in time to see a Bi-plane come over a dune and down the beach, real low. It was followed by seven more, low enough to see the pilots waving and smiling! One let out a puff of smoke for us. I was totally impressed. More swimming and Treebait and I started finding fossils and pretty rocks galore. The campfire that night was excellent, the stars were incredible again and the meteorites fell again.
Here are the pictures. I will continue the report as soon as I can.”
“Man, that sounds really great! Thanks for the trip report!”
“Sounds cool so far. I'll start checking out the pics now.”
“Nice photos. The sunsets were nice.”
“WOW! Beautiful sunsets!”
“Great Pictures! Looks like you guys have fun.”
“w00ty w00t w00t!
That's geek speak for "Wow, that was a dang good time."
Just got in, more to come.”
“Great pics Sass! Your big scary mystery bug is a Pine Sawyer Beetle.”
“I promised Helinka I wouldn't try to steal Trixie. That dog is incredible.
But I find my resolve slipping....
Hey Birch, we now know what the "Big Muskie Bucket" is. I have a postcard for you. :)
We stopped at Tamarack on the way home. They sell WV produced goods and crafts. I loaded up on fruit wines. I hope I sleep well tonight. I'm tired.
DO not stay at the Comfort Inn just south of Ann Arbor in Michigan. It's gross. THe Hampton Inn in Akron Ohio, however, is fantastic. They have seriously comfy beds and very nice bathrooms. That's a very important thing after such a sandy weekend.”
“Thanks for sharing the pics!!!...they are GREAT!!!!!!!”
“How did you get Jimmysan to walk vertically like that, Sass? ;-)
“How did you get Jimmysan to walk vertically like that, Sass? ;-)
That was prolly after he drank all my bourbon!
“I think it was the heavy cooler. I carried it all of 50ft and thought yep, that woulda been hucked into the woodline.”
We will come home from seeing Jon off in Indy on Saturday afternoon. I am very tempted to go up to Nordhouse with Calvin and Hobbes on Sunday morning and stay through Monday or Tuesday. This looks like so much fun!”
“Great pictures and trip report. Looks like a fun trip.”
“I thought the dunes were steep but I didn't think they were THAT steep!”
“OMG!!! TT broke WebShots!”
“Alright, The bi-planes were all Steermans. Some from the navy, some from the army, all privately owned. I got the scoop tonight from my wanna-be a steerman owner Dad.
Upluver, what day did you arrive? I can't remember. Now that I'm back home and running around like a nut trying to get faucets to granite companies and cars to the shop and food in the fridge and drywall dust off of everything and clothes clean and packs unpacked stuff is starting to blur.
Okay, after consulting with Birch I now know Upluver arrived Friday night. We immediately knew it was him by the incredible brightness of his headlamp. He joined us at the campfire. Marshmallows were roasted and more meteorites counted.
Saturday morning came and more swimming, playing in the sand, etc. I think HPM, Birch and the kids hiked back out to the biggest dune. Laurel came back with a sweet little baby mouse that she was sure was napping. It was taking an eternal nap. The kids climbed all over the dunes, made sand castles, swam. Treebait and I hiked down the beach to a good rock bed I'd found early that morning. We passed a shipwreck (Ramona the Ranger confirmed that for me), and came back with buckets full of agates, greenstones, fossilized corals, etc.
“the cooler was heavy but the tecate was COLD... ;)
thanks for the brew mr knee!”
“Thanks for making the cooler lighter by drinking the cold Tecate.”
“glad to be of service”
Thanks for the memories.
“Wow, that slide show woke me up! Thanks for the great pictures and the wonderful trip report.
“I thought the dunes were steep but I didn't think they were THAT steep!”By now you no doubt realize that most of the lakeshore is the same on the entire East Side of Lake Michigan. There are hundreds of miles of it.
Likewise, you have now seen one of the joys of growing up in a small city like Chicago. Along the east shore is my favorite, Indiana Dunes State Park. The large, sand dune there includes a long, broad, vegetation-free, natural sand-slide on which we used to run to the top, if we could, before rolling and sliding to the bottom. Then there are places like Hudson Lake, Paw Paw Lake, music festivals at the International Gardens, Tulip days at Holland MI, Warren Dunes State Park in Mi, etc. And there were one day trips across Lake michigan on a large ship to St. Joseph for 3-4 hours of fun swimming and doing all the rides at their Amusement Center.
Naturally, we could head up into Wisconsin to Twin Lakes, Lake Geneva and Lake Delaven for all the fun places there, too. Yep, it was rough being a city boy!
BTW, Tecate tastes best, when it is drunk in Tecate(Baja, Mexico)!
last edited: 8/13/07 7:48:56 PM”
“Great pics Sass but where's Trixie's special picture?”
“thanks for organizing the trip Sass and Birch! I had such a good time out on the dunes and in the water! I can't wait for the next trip :D”
“Okay which kid is which name?
That afternoon some folks napped, some talked, some played. Jimmysan and Wounded Knee and their families came trucking into camp. Everyone swam more.
Hot dogs were roasted for dinner. The kids ran all over the dunes within eye shot of camp, we all enjoyed the very best sunset of the entire weekend. There was great conversation that night. Our youngest two campers and their moms turned in early but the rest of us stayed around the campfire until midnight and later. Birch, Abby and I camped on the dunes to watch the perseids. Abby was adamant that she did not want to and that the sea monsters might eat us. She was close to panic when we set up our sleeping bags, but as soon as she looked up she immediately calmed down and started chattering about what she saw. The night sky was brilliant! I counted 56 shooting stars (Muddymuddy taught Abby how to wish for more wishes this weekend), and also watched lightning out over the lake, before I couldn't hold my eyes open any longer. About an hour later Birch shook me awake as thunder rumbled around us. He figured we had ten minutes before the storm hit. I picked up 'B and he got out sleeping bags and water bottles and we made it back to camp as quickly as we could, set up a tent real fast and got in. The wind blew pretty hard, sand pelted through the tent mesh. The lightning and thunder were spectacular. I expected to hear kids crying all over the place. No one made a peep. Abby just pressed herself closer and kept on sleeping. I wanted to watch the show outside for as long as possible and kept drifting in and out of sleep. It rained a bit but not much. Enough to help with the extreme dryness in that part of the state. Two wildfires nearby Saturday, one in Whitecloud and one by Hodenpile Dam...the NCT.
Sunday morning dawned cool and crisp. The sky had that beautiful pale blue washed clean look. We quickly broke up camp and said our goodbyes. Helinka and Co and HPm, Treebait and Laurel followed closely behind. All of us were looking forward to a great breakfast in Scottville.
The hike out was great! The birds were singing their hearts out, the trail was a bit packed from the rain and it was a gorgeous morning. When Birch, Abby, and I came out of the woods to the parking we found a big STOP sign and a Forrest Ranger (Ramona who kick started my interest in birds 13 years ago), and a polite request to fill out a survey. We obliged and after getting some cool Smokey the Bear stickers and comics books, tattoos and school supplies, we went on to wait for the others at Betty's Party store where we'd hoped for a shower, but were sad to see they didn't open until noon on Sunday. Who can blame them though?
We all enjoyed a great meal together and went our separate ways, to North Carolina, London, Ontario and Detroit.
I don't know how Wounded Knee's and JimmySan's mornings went. I bet the kids played more while the parents packed up and hiked gear back and forth to the cars.
Thanks everyone for coming. The place is very special but it was a fantastic trip because of the wonderful kids and adults who came.”
“I'm still amazed Laurel slept through that storm. The wind was amazing.
Laurel ended up turning in early saturday evening; she'd been dune jumping with the other kids and got a sharp piece of dune grass right between the toes. We cleaned and bandaged her foot, Helinka brought Trixie over so Laurel could hug Trixie while we cleaned all the sand out of her cut (not fun) and Laurel then turned in for the evening. I didn't want her running around any more with those cuts. I crawled in the tent with her, and we played with glow sticks and necklaces until she conked out.
Laurel's still talking about the trip, Trixie, the water, Trixie, all the swimming, Trixie....you get the idea.”
“Our Laurel loved seeing the photos (perhaps because her mommy was trying to chase her down to go to bed and that was something else to do ;) ) so hopefully we will make it next year”
“Is their a doggie in Laurel's future?
Sounds like she needs one. :-)”
“sounds like a great trip...i really wish we could have made it but we had just got back from vacation
great pix, you guys had some beautiful sunsets...birch/sass you guys have an adorable girl”
“Thanks Thrifty. She's a great kid, loads of fun.”
“Damn. Sounds like we missed a classic. I am really starting to love that lakeshore after our week in Traverse City. Nice report folks. Wish we had made it.”
I'm still up at ten o'clock thinking "oh my god my back hurts!!!". and this is 2 days later!
ya, 25 pound pack on a 11 year old wasn't very smart(especially when it chafes into your back!). 25 pounds+11 yrs old+chafing=OUCH!!
(BTW, treebait you were wrong. the welts still haven't gone away. they actually hurt more than they did on Sunday.)”
“great pics HPM< meangreen you gotta come up next year!”
“Huh, must be a combination of pack straps and sun. From now on, wear your shirt. It does protect your skin from stuff like that. I'm sure the boogie board you brought wasn't helping matters either.”
“Yep, Treebait speaks the truth. Wear a shirt! Slap some neosporin on there Luke. It'll heal. Sometimes you gotta suffer for your fun. I imagine most of the adults carried far more than they normally do on a usual trip too. I know I did and my pack weighed more on the way out! Thank goodness it was a short hike eh?
Treebait, I wore my Paula Deen T yesterday and my Mom immediately did a double take and asked "Where did YOU get a Paula Deen shirt?!" lol. I responded "Well, Honey..." in my best P.D voice.”
I just found a dead stable fly in some of my gear. I'm glad its dead. I hate those things. My feet look like they have a bad case of chicken pox.”
“I don't have a single fly bite. Wonder why they liked you so much? Thanks, btw. I hate those things too.”
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