Day 20: Wednesday, June 30th

Another clear, sunny and cool morning here in Manistique on the north shore of Lake Michigan. I got up around the usual time, no record of exactly when. I walked up to the Manistique Boardwalk, coffee in and hand and took a short stroll.

Click on the photos below for a larger image.

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The early morning light made for some interesting shadows. Betsy and I have really enjoyed this boardwalk and I wanted to enjoy it one more time before we pulled up stakes and headed north.

When I got back to the room at the Colonial, Betsy and I made up a grocery list for more camp food. Then it was to the store for her and back to the keyboard for me to finish up another installment of our trip.

When Betsy returned, she proof read the latest while I packed up what was left in the room and then we headed down the road at around 10:15. The plan was, using Betsy's annotated list, to try to find a State Forest Campground which suited us.

The closest one was just to the east of Newberry - Natalie Campground in Lake Superior SF. We decided to check that out then head north up to the Big Two Hearted River area and look at a couple of sites there.

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Our starting route was pretty straightforward - US 2 east to SR 77 north, then at Seney pick up SR 28 east towards Newberry. The photo above shows the main reason I could not wait to get off of US 2 and onto smaller, less travelled roads.

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This is just a couple miles up SR 77 from US 2. The lake is Lake Anne Louise.The vehicles are three-wheelers with trailers. We are seeing more and more of these on the roadways as we travel.

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Just south of Germfask and Blaney Park, Lake Anne Louise lots are selling for about 70k for 20 acres.

We continued on SR 77 north and then east on 28 and then about 3 miles west of SR 123, we picked up County Road 405. CR 405 then intersected with Natalie road which would take us to the first campground on our list.

We were a bit skeptical about Natalie campground suiting us since it was only a few miles from Newberry and it also had a boat launch suitable for motor boats. But, we decided to check it out. What we found was a nicely treed campground with 12 sites, two pit toilets, trash cans and running water (literally). The boat launch looked like it was far enough away as to not be too much of a noise problem.

It was now around 12:30 and all the sites were unoccupied and the ones which had registration tags on the site markers were all from the previous weekend. We then looked long and hard at site number No 11 which, unlike any of the other sites, had a beautiful view of the wetlands the campground was situated on. I cast my vote in favor of staying at Natalie. Not only was the site just about perfect, but I really did not want to spend the rest of the day driving all over Luce and Schoolcraft counties looking for the perfect site which might not exist.

Betsy said this was fine with her and while she registered us, I set about unpacking the tent.

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The fabulous view of the headwaters of the Tahquamenon River from site No 11.
Notice Betsy is wearing her fleece and long pants - it was refreshingly cool.

"The site looked out on large swaths of cat tails and grasses interspersed with slices of blue water and rimmed with conifers. A stiff breeze blew on the sunny campsite. WOW!" - Betsy's Journal

Give me of your bark, O Birch-tree!
Of your yellow bark, O Birch-tree!
Growing by the rushing river,
Tall and stately in the valley
I a light canoe will build me,
Build a swift Cheemaun for sailing,
Thus aloud cried Hiawatha
In the solitary forest,
By the rushing Taquamenaw,
When the birds were singing gayly,
In the Moon of Leaves were singing,
And the sun, from sleep awaking,
Started up and said, "Behold me
Gheezis, the great Sun, behold me.

Song of Hiawatha, W.W. Longfellow
Thanks to Terra Alta Jane for sending me this!

The wind was so constant and gusty we had trouble keeping control of the tent and it kept blowing the tent all over the place. Finally, Betsy came up with the brilliant idea of staking down two of the corners and then trying to get the poles sleeved and attached. This worked great.

While we were in the middle of setting up the tent, Betsy's phone started ringing. Surprise! Cell phone service right in out campground. To me, this was both a blessing and a curse.

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By about 2:00 we had the tent set up and had moved the picnic table close to the waters edge.

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There were birds in flight and also perched on the cat tails and reeds. Here Betsy gets a better look at a Black Tern, a new one for our list.

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While we sat there relaxing in the sunshine we saw a lone kayaker making his way in and out of the reeds.

We then decided to drive in to Newberry and have a look around. It did not take us long to figure out Newberry was the county seat of Luce County. We checked out the downtown. There was one closed and one open grocery store. A couple of resteraunt/bars and that's all I remember.

We drove through some of the residential areas and saw many of the homes had "For Sale" signs in front. One has to wonder how you could sell a house in an area with few or no jobs available.

We then drove down south down SR 123. Man! did this town have a lot of Motels! We saw 10-12 open and two which were nothing but crumbling ruins. It is hard for me to imagine what keeps all these places in business.

We passed another supermarket and resteraunt and then passed Hamilton Lake Road on the right. I caught a glimpse of a sign with "natural area" on it and decided to turn around and investigate.
Hamilton Lake Road ended at a parking area about a mile from SR 123. There was a sign with a map for the Hamilton Lake nature trail which was stated as being .75 miles long.

We decided to check it out and ended up in a maze of intersecting trails, some signed, some not. At one point I was convinced we were going around in circles. Apparently there had been considerable trail development since the sign was placed!

The woods was very young. Many birch and other hardwood saplings. Pleasant enough, but nothing remarkable or outstanding. After taking several other trails and not knowing exactly where we would end up, we got on the Zeller's Meadow trail which finally ended up in a stiff uphill climb and then took us out to a beautiful and extensive meadow and field area. There were numerous wild flowers in bloom along the trail and butterflies feeding on the flower nectar.

Finally, after being totally confused as to our whereabouts, I realized we were walking towards Hamilton Lake Road, the road we came in on. When we got to the road we headed back down the hill to our car. What we though was going to be a short 45 minute walk ended up being double that. And we were glad of it.

We then headed back to the campground. A drive through showed only one other site occupied. Yes! We had Happy Hour and dinner at our lakeside picnic table and enjoyed the breeze and sunshine as we sat there and listened to the wind in the leaves and the chuckling of the coots. Occasionally we heard Sandhill Cranes in the distance.

After dinner we took a walk around the campground and then over to the boat launch. The lone campers registration showed he was staying for three nights.
It was a quiet evening at Natalie and we enjoyed breeze and Coot chorus at out picnic table until it was bedtime.

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