30 10 2012

Michigan did not disappoint. Not that it ever does, but this time, the fall colors were above and beyond my expectations.
On Monday, Andy and I took the megabus in to Ann Arbor, where my dad picked us up. We spent a few hours around my parents’ house, then headed out to Dearborn Heights for dinner with Andy’s dad and Lynn. After dinner we drove back to Milford, where we met up with some friends at MVP. Tuesday we relaxed around my parents’ house until late afternoon, when we headed out to Royal Oak for dinner and drinks with Andy’s mom, sister and brother-in-law.

Honey bee at my parents’ house

On Wednesday we packed up my brother’s car with camping gear and headed north on 75. We drove until it started to get dark, called the state park’s office and made a reservation at the nearest, north of our location campground. South Higgens Lake State Park, is a HUGE campground. There are over 400 campsites. Luckily for us, there were very few other people there, probably due to the weather. It was cold, very cold, and windy. We set up our tent, built a fire and cooked some hotdogs.

The next morning we packed up our gear after a short walk and headed north on 75 again. Andy had never been north of the Mackinac Bridge, so that was our primary objective. We made it to the bridge with perfect timing to stop and have lunch on the lake front. It was still cold (50*F or so), but the sun was out and for late September in Michigan, really quite perfect.

The Mighty Mac

After lunch and a good stretch we were on the road again. We were hoping to get as far as Lake Superior State Park but decided we’d rather have more time to hike and explore, so we stopped an hour or so short, at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

That night we set up our tent, went for a short hike, built a fire and made bush pasties. I love bush pasties, it’s a camping tradition for me. To make a bush pastie, you dice up a potato, half an onion, and a carrot or two (I usually just use a handful of baby carrots), place all of this on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Then make a thin patty of ground beef, place this on top of your vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap everything up in the aluminum foil, careful to roll the side and ends without ripping, so no juices escape. Wrap a second layer of foil around the first and throw the whole thing into some hot coals in your camp fire. About a half hour to 45 minutes later, unwrap a corner and check your beef for doneness! Enjoy with ketchup, mustard, or chow chow! Yum!

Friday morning we woke up to freezing cold temperatures. The cold temperatures were good motivation to wake up, go to the heated bathrooms to wash up, then come back and build a fire! After making some instant coffee on the fire and eating some trail mix, we packed up our very dewy and damp tent. We hiked to lower Tahquamenon Falls from the campground. Then hopped in the car, drove the 7 miles to the Upper Falls trail head and hiked to the Upper Falls. The fall colors were amazing. Birch trees so golden and maples so fiery red I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen colors so vivid!

Golden Birch

After the two hikes we jumped back in the car and headed east toward 75 South. Having never been north of the Mac, Andy had also never seen Lake Superior. Since we had several hours before we had to be in Harbor Springs to check into our hotel for the wedding, we decided to take the Lake Superior Scenic Byway, aka the long pretty way. Miles of open road, beautiful views of the lake, nothing around except some little pull offs near the water… it was wonderful. We stopped at one such little pull off and wandered up and down the beach a bit. It was perfect.

Lake Superior

…I’ll write another post for the wedding…




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