Thursday, August 12, 2010

Camping Trip in August 2010

I just returned from a camping trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula (aka "the UP:) with my dog Sonny. We spent time in rustic campgrounds at Tahquamenon Falls (the River-mouth Unit) and on Brevort Lake.

Sonny and I have enjoyed our summer camping trips for ten years, now. Every year, I think that he might be too old for hiking in the woods. And, every year, I have to remind him to slow down once we hit the hiking trails.

We traveled to the Tahquamenon River-mouth Unit campground on Saturday. It was an easy drive, and we arrived at the campground shortly after 1pm. I set up camp and we walked a bit around the campground. The campground is on the south bank of the Tahquamenon River located very close to where the river empties into Lake Superior. The campground has two loops, and we stayed in the "Semi Modern" loop, which had been called the "rustic loop" when I first camped here over twenty years ago. The sites are nicely wooded. There is no electricity. There are pit toilets. There are modern facilities, including a shower in the Modern loop, and we could utilize those, if we chose to.

On Sunday morning, it rained heavily while I was making breakfast. We waited out the deluge in the car. This is the first time that we have done that in all the years that we have been camping. A curious thing about the campground is that the soil is quite porous and following the heavy rain, the standing puddles of water disappeared in fifteen minutes or so.

I foolishly tried to continue to make breakfast, but bacon that has been waterlogged is not very tasty. Sonny enjoyed it, however. After breakfast, we drove to Whitefish point and walked a bit up there.

The main event for Sunday was a hike through the back-country at the Upper Tahquamenan Falls. We hiked the 8.5 mile Wilderness Loop during the afternoon. It was much warmer than it had been that morning. The trail was quite overgrown, and we had to crawl over and under and around many fallen trees. At one point, the trail which had been next to the Beaver Pond was a part of the pond, and I walked through water that was up to my knees. We returned to the car late in the afternoon and Sonny was asleep before we left the parking lot.

We moved camp to Brevort on Monday morning. We have been to this campground for eight of the last ten years and have been to this campsite three times. I like this campground because it is over a mile from US-2, but is close enough that we can drive to the beach on Lake Michigan and walk there. We walked that beach every day that we were there. There is a portion of the North Country trail that passes nearby. We have hiked this trail in our previous trips, but did not do so this year.

The routine for Tuesday and Wednesday began with breakfast, and then a walk along the beach on Lake Michigan. We returned to the campsite for the afternoon. We took it easy and I spent the afternoon reading Churchill's "The World Crisis" and practicing my Chapman Stick.

We packed up on Thursday morning and were back home at 2pm.

It does my soul good to leave the technology home for a week. I did take my cellphone with me, but I had it turned off for most of the trip.

Sonny is getting older. Here are some signs:

1. If nature calls during the middle of the night, Sonny will stay curled up and sleeping in the tent. Years ago he would always go outside with me.

2. At the Brevort campsite, he laid there and watched ducks swim up to the shore. Years ago, he would have charged after them.

3. He was so tired after our Sunday hike, that when I went to put him in the car, he would stop and look as if to say "that looks awfully high." I would ask him if he wanted a ramp. Normally, he leaps right in to the car whenever I open the door.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I'll be back to work on Monday.

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