My adventuring continues into the Upper Peninsualia of Michigan where I intended to spend a few days exploring the Seney Wildlife Refuge.
Years ago when I lived in the UP I always thought I’d visit, but you know how it is when you live near somewhere cool. You always figure you can do it next week, and next week never comes around.
Late Sunday afternoon I drove the seven mile wildlife drive under pretty skies. I had the big lens on the camera, expecting to see lots of birds. But all I saw was a pair of sandhill cranes flying and a couple of ducks. I didn’t even hear much of anything.
One issue I can see with driving a wildlife route rather than walking, is you’re never going to sneak up on anything. Though to be honest I didn’t even scare up anything.
But the trees and water were pretty, so I decided to switch lenses and just enjoy what there was to enjoy.
The refuge is beautiful, but I wondered what I’d do for four nights camping nearby. I decided to worry about that when I got there.
Meanwhile, I had a reservation at the Pleasant Moose Lodge for one night while I waited for my campsite to be available. I was tired by now, driving up from downstate, then exploring the refuge. I was ready to find the hotel.
But darn it, neither my GPS in the car nor on my phone could find this pleasant moose. I drove up and down the road looking, and saw plenty of places with moose art displayed, but all I saw whenever I was told “you have arrived at your destination,” was a decrepit rundown set of cabins. No way. It was getting on toward evening now and I was going to have to find somewhere to stay if these cabins were really the lodge!
So I pulled into a parking lot called the Pleasant Moose and a pleasant guy answered the phone and talked me in.
Imagine my relief when I saw it was a real hotel, just tucked way back behind some other stuff. I spent an uneventful evening, enjoying my last night of a real bed, shower and television before heading out to camp for 4 nights.
The next morning I needed to find something to do while I waited to check into my campground. I remembered seeing pictures of Crisp Point Lighthouse that was somewhere around here. Checking the map, and putting it into my GPS I set off. It was about 20+ miles away, but GPS said it would take me an hour.
What GPS didn’t tell me is that more than 15 miles of the trip will be on increasingly narrower dirt and sandy roads.
Roads that wind up and down and around. My average speed on the last 15 miles was 14. The last 7 miles it was closesr to 8 mph. I couldn’t believe it when, with only 5 more miles to go there was actually a stop sign.
But all that crazy driving was worth it to find this.
The lighthouse is absoutely beautiful. And yes you can go up to the top for a donation.
The beach is equally beautiful.
It’s strewn with wide swaths of smooth, rounded stones. A rock picker’s paradise.
I kept telling myself not to pick up any rocks. Not to even look closely at any rocks. I have plenty at home.
But they were soooo beautiful!
I was also facinated by what I guess was an old wooden breakwall.
It was actually two rows of logs driven into the ground.
Eventually I walked back up to the lighthouse and checked out what was on the other side. The light was better over there anyway.
People were picking rocks….
…and climbing the tower.
It was beautiful out there! But it was time to head back down that winding, sandy road.
The trip back out to the main road wasn’t nearly as scary as it had been driving in.
My campsite was waiting for me.
When I arrived the office was closed, but they had taped instructions for me to the door. I gathered those and drove to my site, a big, grassy relatively flat spot with a view of the river. I pulled the tent out of the car and realized as I was unfolding it that the rainfly was missing. And it was beginning to rain.
OH MY! What to do.
Obviously I couldn’t tent without a rainfly. Especially since it was already raining. Disgusted I threw the tent back in the car, went up to the office, put the rest of my reservation money folded into their instructions, along with an explantion note, and taped it to the door.
Then I drove back toward town, intent on calling the Pleasant Moose to see if they had a room. But a few miles away I thought I should call the campground and tell them there was money taped to their office door, wanting to make sure they got it rather than some nefarious camper.
The owner answered, and I explained and she was as sad as I was. Then she said she had a tent I could borrower! Really! Yes, she said, it’s just a 4 person tent, nothing fancy. That’s all I had myself, I replied. She said she’d go set it up on my site if I’d come back.
So I did. And this is what I found:
This campground comes with a mascot.
So….here I am camping in the UP in someone else’s tent, ready to visit a refuge I’ve already explored.
What will happen next?