Sunday, June 7, 2015

From Leelanau,Michigan to Canada and a Few Places in Between

I can't fall asleep tonight. I've played at least fifty games of solitaire and I'm still not bored enough to fall asleep. The cool air coming In the windows is bringing the smell of someones campfire with it.
I'm laying here trying to remember what day it is and where exactly we are. Somewhere in Ontario at a place called Fitzroy Harbor Provincial Park . It seems as though weeks have passed since we sat on the side of a country road smelling the cherry tree blossoms while listening to the bees buzzing joyously through the orchard.  Ahh the Leelanau peninsula,my new favorite place in Michigan.

How long has it been since we watched the gathering of the blue jays feeding on the rising dark clouds of midges from Lake Michigan. Or watched the sun rise through the birch trees.

 Tunnel of Trees Road

The ride thru the Tunnel of Trees between Harbor Springs and Cross Village seems like a dream long filled with trillium and steep cliffs overlooking the lake.

Wilderness State Park, MI

How we loved Wilderness State Park, when we got there,only three other campers and then Memorial Day arrived along with 175 other campers. Then as quickly as the campground filled it quietly emptied and we has peace and solitude for a day before our journey north continued.

I can still taste my first ever bite of a hot from the oven pastie from Lenora's just outside of the Mackinaw bridge. And the cold leftovers the next day with a little dab of ketchup reminded me of the cold meatloaf sandwiches I ate as a child.

Twelve Mile Beach Campground,Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

When did we get to 12mile beach at Pictured Rocks? We had visions of a sitting on a sandy bluff looking over Lake Superior while the sun warmed our faces. Instead we had bone chilling cold and fog,lots of fog.

But we also had bald eagles and a roaring fire before the rains came and snuffed out our fire. For days we watched the eagle soar and felt such gratitude for our life.

Miner's Castle, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

And how long has it been since the day trip from 12mile beach to Munising and the   discovery of the spell binding trail overlooking Miners castle at Pictured Rocks. I'm still amazed that when we drove from site 25 at 12 mile the temp was 45 and just five miles down the road it jumped to 75 and then 80 once we arrived in Munising. Lake Superior really does make her own weather. By the time we pulled back into camp it was 50 degrees.
The UP felt so isolated and lonely. Everything is far away from everything else. The people who live here are the last of a dying breed of pioneers.

We read about the fox River near Seney Michigan,where Jim wanted to fly fish. When Ernest Hemingway wrote about the Two Hearted River and trout fishing he was really writing about the Fox,he just thought the name Two Hearted River was more poetic. We found his little memorial along the river and even more touching was the memorial to the officer who loved to fish ...killed in the line of duty.

Tahquamenon Falls,Upper Falls

Then from the cliffs overlooking the beach and the fly fishing River of Hemingway we arrived at the falls. Tahquamenon falls,breathtakingly beautiful . Watching the water colored by the tannins in the water from  the trees looked like strands of gold and copper pouring over the rocks.
Did I tell you we were in Paradise? Well we were and they have a wonderful little store where we discovered those tennis racket bug zappers and finally began to win the war against the mosquitoes!

Onward and upward,or at least eastward. Not knowing where you are going to sleep at night can be disconcerting to some, not us, or at least not all the time. We would just drive and try to look for routes that ran close to the lakes or rivers. Sometimes heading to one destination resulted in our arriving at another.

Boondock spot along a beaver pond off of Fairbanks Lake Rd 

Like the beaver pond. We were headed down the road to investigate Fairbanks lake when out of the corner of our eye we spotted this little beaver pond just of the highway under the power lines. At dusk we watched the beaver swimming slowly by us,watching us cautiously and barely making a ripple in the water. That was the night of the full moon,so gorgeous rising up behind the pines.
Next stop Algonquin prov park. We played too long during the day along the route so we arrived late in the day. As we came east on hwy 60 at mp 20 there they were --moose. We felt so blessed, never expecting to see them and so grateful that we did.

We were campground challenged here,stopping first at Mew Lake,but the electric outlets were hidden back amongst he trees and our 50ft of cord couldn't reach them. So we headed up the road to two rivers, a larger campground just a mile east of new lake. That was an experience ,the ranger and a park warden who happened by apparently thought we were a counterfeiting ring trying to rip off Canadian parks because we had some really old Canadian currency that they wouldn't take because it lacked the water marks. Yes officers we just drove 5000mils to try and pass 20ca for firewood. We laughed so hard our bellys ached that night. We didn't laugh in their presence though, they were very serious and stern. So back to the campground sear,we felt like Goldilocks and the three bears. Too far away from the electric outlet, too big and crowed, and finally rock lake,I would love to say just right, but if you saw how we had to park Ruby,well it just wasn't natural. 
The next morning as we left rock lake and pulled back onto hwy 60,there it was, an Algonquin wolf. Unbelievable,just 30 ft away in the middle of the road, lifting its head up in our direction and then running off into the woods. That image will be in my heart forever.

And that brings us to crooked trail,one of the sweetest boon docking sites ever. Our philosophy is, if it isn't posted as no camping,no trespassing it's fair game for boon docking.
How did we find this site you ask?

Hmm delicious pierogi filled with potatoes and cheese

 While Jim was getting us lunch at an incredibly delicious food truck I spotted in Barry's bay-polka spuds,I was perusing the map. I spotted a two lane called old Barry's bay road that ran south from hwy 60 and based on the meandering rivers and lakes dotted along the way I decided this could be a good route.

As we were driving down the road something caught my eye. Was that a waterfall? I made Jim stop and told him we needed to go back and check it out. And we were oh so glad we did. I swam in the water under the falls; he fished the stream above the falls and  we both fell asleep with the back doors open with the sound of the waterfall lulling us to sleep.

And it was,so pretty through the forest and along side more beaver ponds. No beavers spotted , just a family of sweet little Canadian geese.

I hope I haven't lulled you to sleep with my ramblings.  We are heading out Sunday from Fitzroy, hopefully to visit Yvette and Paul who live in Ottawa.  I'm catching up while sitting in Tim Hortons today.  We will be heading into Ottawa to buy a Canadian Sim Card,but most of my blogging will be done when we find free wifi along the way. So my friends, not sure when you will hear from me again,but rest assured we are so enjoying this trip and we've met so many wonderful people along the way.  Most important, we are enjoying the beauty of this marvelous world and I hope you are doing the same. Until later.

Safe travels and Happy Trails !


  1. Beautiful pictures. I found myself stopping at each one and drinking in the view as if I were there and not wanting to miss a single detail. When I grow up.... I want to be able to take pictures just like you!!!

  2. Oh my. You've seen some of my favorite places in upper Michigan! LOVE all of these spots. Glad you got to experience it. (I'm over from Kimbopolo). I live in lower Michigan, but used to live in the UP. Leelanau is one of my very favorite places. But am in love with Lake Superior too. Have fun on the next adventure!

  3. I love the Leelanau Peninsula. It is one of our favorite destinations from our home in Ohio. We have not taken the Airstream to the UP but Pictured Rocks is high on our list. I was just looking at Grand Marais and 12 Mile the other day. Your pictures might be just the inspiration for us to make the trip over the Big Mac sometime soon. Absolutely gorgeous and inspiring photography. Safe travels from the Trout family.

    1. Doug you would love it and it's perfect for the airstream!