Out of the Storms and into the Other Storms

Since we last talked, Tony and I decided to sell our house, and we took a trip to Ohio. If you’re really interested in details, I’m happy to share, but the short version is: we want to live closer to where we seem to spend all of our time when we’re not inside the house. Obviously, working up to that decision and then prepping for selling has taken up much of the time that we weren’t visiting family in Ohio. So, that’s where I’ve been whilst neglecting this blog.

But you’re here for adventures, right? The weather has been rather stormy for summer in northern Michigan, with far more rainy days that we’re accustomed to. We’ve taken to scheduling outdoor activities during brief periods that we don’t expect inclement weather rather than just days of outdoor fun.

Initially, Saturday afternoon looked like a great time to take a trip up to Wilderness State Park with Jess, Jim, and Jackson. But then Saturday arrived, bringing a long string of storms to plague the Tip of the Mitt at least through the evening. Tossing that idea in File 13, Jess suggested we look south to a shipwreck we had both recently learned about.

Frankfort beach hike

We all arrived at the beach south of Frankfort to a lovely, sunny stretch of mostly empty beach. Winds blasted the shore, whipping Lake Michigan into an ocean-like fury – beautiful, but with lots of rip currents. Not great for swimming, but terrific for a beach hike.

Frankfort beach hike-2

Unfortunately, clouds darkened the sky just a couple minutes into our trek, threatening rain with each additional step. We were a determined group, though, so we pushed on. However, a few of us might have been wishing for less summery clothes.

Frankfort beach hike-3

Happily, the ship’s remains rested a short distance down the beach. We marveled at the size of the old boat, and wondered about its past.

Curiosity sated (well, only regarding the shipwreck’s appearance), we turned back north with hopes of returning to our cars before the weather really got ugly.

Frankfort beach hike-13

Jackson might say otherwise, but the hike back was more comfortable thanks to the wind on our backs instead of our faces.

I even took a few moments to linger with some exposed beach grass roots, appreciating their anti-erosion effects.

Frankfort beach hike-15As often is the case, the trek back seemed shorter than the journey there. Once more at our trailhead, we were all grateful for the warmth found a few steps up and away from the water – not least of all Jackson, who quickly returned to his happy, talkative self.

Not only did we make it safely back, but we also took the clouds away from the beach with us: the sun reappeared before we got back on the main highway. Such is life…and such is life Up North that we all stopped at a different beach after dinner to enjoy some funtime in the sunshine. And if I can get it together, I’ll share some photos from that soon :)

Edit: A quick Google search reveals some interesting info about the 1886 shipwreck of the Schooner Marinette.

More Ice, More Exploring

There’s more snow above that mailbox than there is below.
laughable mailbox

Yep, that’s a lot of snow. Our inland lakes are frozen, with the snow on top forming drifts, and over half of Lake Michigan is frozen. Some days it seems like a featureless landscape, and fighting off ye olde seasonal affective disorder can be a chore. Normally, we’d just jaunt off to go skiing, but our schedules have been less flexible lately, and it has been cold. Thus, when the clouds part to reveal the blue sky they’ve been concealing, we go adventuring.

…And because it’s still winter in northern Michigan, sometimes the clouds swallow the sky right back up as we’re on our way for a hike. Too late, though; we were already on our way, so along we went, to the mouth of the Platte River. Our dearth of moving water meant that we appreciated the short stretches of exposed river wending its way into Lake Michigan’s icy expanses.


Tony, Petey and I meandered along the beach (there was sand to walk on in places – sand!) and then scampered out onto the near parts of the ice shelf for our weekend explorations. Occasional peeks of the sun added a touch of drama to the sky to compliment the ice formations.

After a bit, we headed south to check out the Pt. Betsie Lighthouse. We were there just before Christmas, reveling in the blue waters despite our constant grey skies. Yesterday revealed a different scene. Ice stretches nearly to the horizon; from the top of the dune, you can just make out a hint of open water.

It’s a surreal thing, absorbing the beauty and irony of a lighthouse perched above a giant frozen lake. This lighthouse is always a favorite, but I particularly love how the ice near the shore retains its characteristic teal color.

Not long after we left Pt. Betsie, lake effect snow again blew in, blotting out any color in the sky. With a projected high of 6F tomorrow, I am ever more grateful for the ability to take spontaneous refreshing, recharging trips on the weekend. I hope you’re recharged for the week ahead.

Skiing Weekend Getaway – or How to Be the Coolest Aunt and Uncle Ever

A little after 10:00 on Sunday evening I got a text message from my sister asking if we had made it home. We hadn’t, quite, but were nearly there after a journey down to Ann Arbor and back. “The boys are worn out an in bed,” she said. “They should be!” I said. And I wasn’t kidding. Also, so were we. Continue reading

Baby It’s Cold Outside

The weather behaved a bit atypically on Thanksgiving Day. We enjoyed mid-sixties, albeit with quite a bit of wind – downright balmy by Up North standards. By the end of the day, though, things were cooling off, and the sky was dropping flakes by 9am Friday – about four hours earlier than predicted. Mom and Dad took a break in da U.P. from our renovation while the tile sets, and ended up in a blinding snow for their troubles. They’re back now, and Mom has taken over my kitchen, not following the soup recipe she has pulled up, but making dinner, so I am not complaining one bit. Continue reading

A Falls-less Fallsville

After work this afternoon, mom and I wound our way over to the Fallsville Wildlife Area. I could be making this up, but the area is named, presumably, after the waterfalls formed when the Clear Creek cascades over a 15-foot drop. Or it does in non-drought-at-the-end-of-August. I’ve been there when there’s water in the creek, and the falls are a beautiful surprise amidst the area’s usual pastoral scenery.





Mom and I simply enjoyed hiking the dry creek bed this time. Much of the exposed rock was so dry that the normally slippery algae was instead a dry crust. The area still held unexpected beauty; more leaves than I had expected were tinged with gold, and the very occasional breeze whispered through them, providing a nice soundtrack where the falls failed.


At the beginning of our descent into the falls area, I tried to spy another, easier way down to the falls. (Remember – my mom just had that surgery, regaining her ability to for-real-walk back in June.) She hopped down  – a drop of about five feet in a tight, rocky crevice – and beckoned. Well, obviously I was underestimating her (sorry Mom!).




We clambered over rocky outcroppings and tumbled stones, until the puddles of creek disappeared from view. Despite the heat and sweat dripping down my back (thanks, camera bag), we had a great time. I’m pretty sure we’ll go back to shopping for our “girl time” when the weather worsens, but it’s great to get out for a brief hike together again!

I love you Mom. Please forgive my use of this picture that I also love :)