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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
Eventually we found the trailhead.
The woods were beautiful, filled with wildflowers. My friend had an app on her phone that told us what they were.
Of course I don’t remember any of it, except for this lady slipper.
We found the first lake just as it began to sprinkle. But we didn’t let a little rain stop us.
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.
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.
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!
We had a lovely dinner….
…and an even lovelier campfire where we heard coyotes loudly discussing something important….
….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.
By the time we got to the mouth of the river we were definitely tired!
But not too tired to hike the Empire Bluff trail! The trail goes up and down through some beautiful woods.
And the first view you get of the shoreline is stunning.
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.
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!
We packed up in the morning, walking everything back down the long trail to the car.
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.
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.