July 25, 2013–Day 8
This was our second night at Wilderness State Park, and we loved it. The arrow in the photo shows the location of the State Park–about 30 minutes from the Mighty Mac Bridge.
We loved the State Park because, you can camp right on the lake! See the camper in the photo? That is as close as you can get to actually camping right on a sandy beach.
Secondly, the campsites are all sand. Sand is much softer to sleep on than hard dirt, and it also drains water quickly when it rains. The camp sites are also shaded with piney tree that give shade and the wonderfully piney woods smell that I associate with camping.
Breakfast was one again pancakes and bacon. I found that the hub of our trailer tire worked to hold the camp stove. The cooler was just inside the side door of the trailer, so it became my kitchen.
Today we planned on just staying around camp. For the last week, we had gotten up and it had been all “go, go, go.” It was nice to know that a day stretched lazily ahead of us with no plans other than beaching and biking.
The kids headed off, while I washed up. Washing up took a looooong time each day, and each day I tried to think of a better method. I think the Boy Scout’s plan of three wash tubs is probably the best idea. Tub 1 = very, very hot soapy water. Tub 2 = hot water rinse. Tub 3 = cold sanitizing rinse (bleach water). I only had one tub, but I think I will try three next time as they can easily stack, and I think the dish washing would go more quickly.
We spent all morning on the beach.
Little Man played in the sand.
The Daddi got wet up to his knees.
And the girls spent all morning in the water. Baseball Boy tried to fly his new kite with limited success, but it kept him running up and down the beach all morning, so he was happy.
Lunch was BLT sandwiches with bacon I had hidden from the family at breakfast. After a long morning on the beach, The Daddi suggested a family bike ride.
The only problem is that my Dumpster Dived Bike had several detached spokes. Thankfully, only two actually were missing, so the wheel still held me up.
We had heard rumors that the U.S. Military had used the end of the peninsula for bombing practice during WWII, and there remained large bomb craters. We decided to check with the Park Ranger to make sure. He certified the rumors and told us how to get there, but advised against biking since it was “too far.” When the Ranger said “too far”, I saw the glint in The Daddi’s eye, and I knew we were going to bike the entire way.
I don’t remember the exact distance but it was something like 6 miles each way. Our seats were very saddle sore from our bike ride around Mackinac Island the previous day, but the biking conditions were perfect. The asphalt road quickly turned into a shaded, gravel path with minimal traffic.
We stopped at the swimming beach for a water break.
Shortly after the swimming beach, the road ended and we continued ahead on foot.
The sun was shining, the bugs minimal, the sky a gorgeous blue, and hiking conditions couldn’t have been better.
We stayed on the trail looking for a “Target” the Park Ranger had mentioned. The military had pulled the target while planes had shot at it.
I think this is the target.
We still hadn’t seen any Bomb Holes, so we left the path and cut across towards the lake.
And there found our first Bomb Hole. There were several of these craters–all filled with rather stagnant water.
We were all now quite hot, so we continued on to the lake for a swim.
The kids all waded out to a little island, and eventually, I joined them. If you don’t mind a hike, it would be the perfect private beach for a day. It even comes with a view of the Mighty Mac bridge. The land is all State Park, so open to the public.
But now it was time to head back. When my kids were little, I read them a book called, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Classic Board Books)” which is illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (an amazing illustrator!)
The books begins, “We’re going on a Bear Hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared. Oh-Oh grass. Long wavy grass. We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it. Swishy-Swashy. Swishy-swashy. Swishy–Swashy. The book continues with rivers and mud, etc. . . all with their sound effects for a read that is almost more a chant.
My kids always loved this book, and today I felt like we were on a Bear Hunt–except in our case it was a Bomb Hole Hunt. We had to bike down the road and onto a lane. We hiked the lane and then trekked off across the scrub. Then it was over a river and into a lake. And after a nice dip in the lake, it was. . .
. . .back again across the river, (Squish-Squelch. Squish-Squelch. Squish-Squelch) and then. . .
. . .across the scrub (Swishy-Swashy. Swishy-Swashy. Swishy-Swashy.)
. . .back to the trail (Trek-Trudge. Trek-Trudge. Trek-Trudge.), then. . .
back to the bikes and back to the lane (Pedal-Pump. Pedal-Pump. Pedal-Pump.), and. . .
. . .off the lane and onto the road (Huff-Puff. Huff-Puff. Huff-Puff), . . .
Until we stopped here for some ice cream (Drip-Slurp. Drip-Slurp. Drip-Slurp)
The Wilderness General Store seems like a store that got lost in time–they have a book shelf with free books to borrow or trade. (Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.)
They sell supplies to the campers–bacon and bug bite medicine, cards and campho-phenique, maps and matches, toilet paper and tent pegs, milk and mallets, and ice cream and whiskey. The general range of products used while camping. (Ka-Ching. Ka-Ching. Ka-Ching.)
The proprietor only stayed open during the summer tourist season, and is famed for his homemade doughnuts. We decided to stop by on our way out for some fresh doughnuts the next morning. (Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum.)
Little Man ordered Superman Ice cream. I remember always ordering the some “flavor” when I was little. (Sleepy-Boy. Sleepy-Boy. Sleepy-Boy.)
We sat at the counter and ate our cones, and then. . .
. . .headed back out for the last mile of the trip. (Sore-Seats. Sore-Seats. Sore-Seats.)
We had an easy supper of hot dogs around the fire and then off to bed. (ZZZZ-zzzzz. ZZZZ-zzzzz. ZZZZ-zzzzz.)
Thanks for coming along on our Bomb Hole Hunt.
P.S. If you are just now joining us, you can follow our entire trip via these links.
July 18, 2013–Traveling Up to the U.P.-Day 1
July 19, 2013–First Day of the Tournament–Day 2
July 20, 2013–Kayaking in Lake Superior–Day 3
July 21, 2013–Maritime Museum–Day 4
July 22, 2013–Lake Superior and Sugarloaf–Day 5
July 23, 2013–Picnicking along Lake Superior–Day 6
July 24, 2013–Biking around Mackinac Island–Day 7
P.P.S And now a little potty humor.
If you want a very, very, very funny account of a Halloween trick, a wiley old grandma, an outhouse, three high school boys, read the book, “A Year Down Yonder” by Richard Peck. This book is one of my all-time favorite reads!!
Mary Alice’s childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel’s sleepy Illinois town were packed with enough drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she is fifteen, and faces a whole long year with Grandma, a woman well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else! All Mary Alice can know for certain is this: when trying to predict how life with Grandma might turn out . . . better not. This wry, delightful sequel to the Newbery Honor Book A Long Way from Chicago has already taken its place among the classics of children’s literature.
sounds like a great day and a great book! love the sound effects. i know that feeling of relief at having a whole day in camp … not having to pack up is just plain delicious after days of doing it over and over.
Bethany, having visited Southern Illinois many times, you will “get” the story “A Year Down Under”. It is a very mid-west, mid-century, middle-income, story that split my side with laughter. If you read it, I would love to hear what you think.
Enjoyed the entire post–it almost makes me want to try camping with our family, and also appreciate the book recommendation. I’m always on the lookout for books for my kids.
I always dread camping (all the packing up), but always enjoy it after all.
Sound like I’d like to read it, too…being as I’m a senior citizen… You had quite a camping trip since Little Big Guy had to go to the baseball tournament near there.
It was an unexpected vacation, that lasted unexpectedly long, and the U.P. was unexpectedly beautiful and the whole trip (I had been dreading it) was unexpectedly fun!