Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Epic camping experience


Time is sliding by and I haven’t shared my wonderful camping experience from last week. And it would be a shame if you missed that because it was amazing and it definitely made me smile.

We were in sites C3 and C4.

You know that usually I camp alone with my Katie-girl, but this time Katie stayed home and I met a couple of friends at a campground on the Platt River, within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. The three of us had kayaked this river last fall, and checked the campground out back then.

The trail from the parking lot to our sites.

And one of my friends knew someone who told us about the walk-in sites which are even more beautiful because you’re not near anyone else. No one’s generator will be running all night. No listening to people partying around the campfire in the next site, because there’s so much space between them.

My campsite.

Plus, if you have to carry everything to your site you’re not apt to be partying late into the night! Trust me on this.

Our other site.

Our first afternoon one friend and I got tents set up on our two sites. We were at the end of the trail so no one else would be walking by. As it turns out, most of the time no one else was out there at all.

It was a short hike over the dunes to the lake.

Once we were set up we walked the .8 mile through some low sand dunes to the beach on Lake Michigan. It was a dark and pretty cold afternoon, but it was good to walk after our long drive to the campground. And you can’t beat the view once we got out to the shore!

A chilly afternoon for beach walking.

The next day we decided to take a hike on trails within the park, looking for three small lakes. We drove around on some narrow dirt roads and accidently ended up back at the beach, just further down from where we walked the day before. It was beautiful, but still kind of stormy with a threat of rain.

It was a dark and stormy morning.

Eventually we found the trailhead.

This looks inviting.

The woods were beautiful, filled with wildflowers. My friend had an app on her phone that told us what they were.

This was really tiny, but the bright color made us notice it all over the forest floor.

Of course I don’t remember any of it, except for this lady slipper.

This ladyslipper was right next to the trail, just begging to be noticed.

We found the first lake just as it began to sprinkle. But we didn’t let a little rain stop us.

Bass Lake, the smallest of the three lakes we walked around.

We continued on around the first lake; the trail led right through a deep, wet boggy place, with no option except to just get our feet soaking wet. We were compensated for that by seeing a beautiful, lush fern right there.

Worth the muddy feet.

We eventually found all three lakes as the rain continued. Of course I had left my raincoat in the car where it could stay nice and dry.

A little rain never hurt anything.

Ah well, we enjoyed seeing the woods and the flowers, and the lakes, and when we got back to our campsite our other camping friend was arriving!

Nature’s double yellow line.

We had a lovely dinner….

Yummy dinner coming up!

…and an even lovelier campfire where we heard coyotes loudly discussing something important….

Did you hear something?

….and went to bed. During the night foxes yipped and owls hooted and we knew we were truly in the woods!

The next day we kayaked down the river again. We were looking forward to a nice easy paddle, but the wind picked up, and we had to work really hard across one long lake, and every time the river turned to the west into the wind.

Paddle harder!

By the time we got to the mouth of the river we were definitely tired!

A pretty amazing day.

But not too tired to hike the Empire Bluff trail! The trail goes up and down through some beautiful woods.

Heading to the bluff.

And the first view you get of the shoreline is stunning.

A first peek through the trees.

But it was soooo windy by then it was hard to stand up on the bluffs and look at the view for long, so we drove down to another beach to watch a guy who was windsurfing.

Not easy to do!

And then we went to a diner and had a burger! It was my first restaurant experience since February of 2020. It was amazing.

Our last night at camp was windy with a big thunderstorm blowing over. Lightening and thunder and wind, the perfect ending to a perfect three days in norther Michigan!

Tucked in safe and dry.

We packed up in the morning, walking everything back down the long trail to the car.

Packing up always takes longer than setting up.

It took a bit of work, but it was definitely worth it to camp back in the woods away from everyone. We had so much fun, it was peaceful and beautiful and I’d do it again next week if I could.

One of many trips to the car.

Oh wait. Next week I’ll be camping in the Upper Peninsula. Not at a walk-in site, but it will be beautiful in a different sort of way.

Home sweet home.

Stay tuned.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

33 thoughts on “Epic camping experience

  1. This looks amazing! What a beautiful area.


  2. Sounds great! The photos look so inviting, even with the stormy weather. And being out in the woods like that is terrific. I used to vacation in that area as a kid, but we really didn’t spend much time in the deep woods like that.


    • Last week it was in the 40s at night. This week the highs are near 100. I’m camping ths week, don’t think I’ll need my winter coat.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We were up in the mid 90s, and then three days of constant 45, and now it is in the 90s again. Just wild. I am looking for a typical June week of a low of 55 and a high of 80, but I don’t think we’ll have one this year! Have fun camping.


  3. Beautiful photographs–thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

    Hope Katie will be able to join you for your next adventure.


  4. Yes, amazing! And magical as well. (You know how my mind runs.) Definitely worth the walk-in.


  5. What pretty pictures! And how wonderful to enjoy it all with friends! Hoping Katie can make it to another camping adventure soon.
    Enjoy your Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Dawn. My idea of heaven. I need the woods.


  7. I am so glad you share your adventures, because I know in real life I would never be able to keep up with you. sitting in my comfy chair I really enjoyed camping with you!


  8. I reserved a cart-in site in Northern Minnesota a few years back. i had no idea what that meant until I got to the trailhead parking lot and saw wheelbarrows for campers to pack their supplies the last mile in. It definitely added to the adventure! Your trip looks amazing.


  9. Looks like you had a great camping adventure. I haven’t been in a restaurant since my friends brought Teddy to me in March 2020; ours are still closed here, patios may open soon though. Our first camping trip is scheduled for 20 June.


    • You guys are in a much stricter state of affairs than we are now. We’ve had patios at restaurants open all winter. Now insides are open too. Still, it’s scary. I hope you get to camp this summer! They’re talking about doing vacinations on the bridge (or maybe in the tunnel) between Detroit and Windsor because we have a surplus. Canadians supposedly can come and get their shot at the border.


  10. Now that is adventure. Three days packed full. Looking forward to the next trip you will share with us. Thanks Dawn.


  11. Your photos make me smile, too! I don’t think I’d make a very happy camping-person, but I enjoy reading about your adventures. And that tablecloth still makes me giggle!! Reminds me of an SEC tailgating extravaganza!


  12. Oh, those photos are gorgeous. And the country is beautiful! I have to come there! 🙂 This was great Dawn, thank you. And I’m so glad Katie is back.


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  14. Beautiful photos from your trip. I’ve been out on a few hikes lately. I haven’t tried kayaking, but it appeals to me. I don’t know how/when I’ll try it, because I don’t know any kayakers near me. I saw “Platt River” and thought about the Platte River I know of in Nebraska where my mother is from and where some of my relatives still live. It must be a different river.


  15. What a beautiful trip, Dawn! I love your photos and the storytelling.


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