Please forgive my absence. We have been treating visitors poorly.
Each year my nephews, Zylar (Zy) and Kade, come to visit us in the summer, and since we like to get them out in the lakes, we’ve aimed for late summer their past few visits. This year my sister was able to arrange her work schedule to join them, and brought our mom along as well. One would think the last week of July would be sufficient for planning warm weather activities.
Our guests arrived around 5:00 on Thursday evening, at which point we promptly changed into beach clothes and headed for a swim on Torch Lake. You see, we had all been keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and knew that this might be our only chance all weekend. Friday we attempted beach clothes again in Elk Rapids. It worked for a while. The boys played in the chute in the river (after some convincing, since none of the adults were yet dressed for beaching…and by “convincing,” I mean their Gran tossed one of them in), and then we made our way over to the admittedly warmer beach.
By this point, the sky was fairly darkened by incoming clouds, but breezes were light, and sun shone intermittently. The old folks held down beach towels while the young folks concentrated on constructing sand castles. And then the real weather blew in.
After this, the skies held very little warmth for the remainder of their trip. The boys played some video games with Tony, and we introduced everyone to Phase 10 (a long card game, not entirely unlike Uno). We even soldiered on with a hike up to Pyramid Point. It wasn’t 60 degrees, and the sky rained on us while we made the drive to the trail, but we enjoyed the view – through the falling mist – regardless.
While the clouds were sequestering the bigger drops, Tony and I took the boys over to the Sleeping Bear Dunes to play on the Dune Climb while Mom and Steph opted for the Dune Drive (probably not its most picturesque). Kade monkeyed around in the sand, crawling, rolling, and lolling in it. After we climbed the first major rise, the boys began jumping off little sand shelves. And then we climbed another rise, to find even bigger shelves. It looks like fun, but I am old and frail ;)
We did what we could to empty them of sand – which is to say: not enough. And that’s all right.
Sunday morning arrived, moody. The dark, puffy clouds dotted the sky, alternately threatening rain and actually raining. Deciding it was our last chance to get at least one child out on the water, Tony and I loaded up the boats – between showers – and we took Zy over to Torch. Kade wasn’t feeling quite so adventurous that morning. We hastily unpacked the kayaks, and hurried them into the water. The angry skies questioned why we even bothered – did we not think they would unleash their vengeance? We picked a point to the east (someone’s water trampoline), and paddled there. It wasn’t a long trip, but it was enough. As we rounded our chosen landmark, we spied falling water on the far side of the lake, and I am sure I heard the clouds utter “I told you so.” Like a scene from Deliverance, though much more child-appropriate, I urged Zy on: “Paddle faster.”
Just as we tightened the last strap attaching the kayaks to the car roof, the rain arrived, blotting out the sky once more. Temperatures hovered in the high 60′s, and the mixed weather hung, too. We didn’t attempt any more hikes, but Tony and Zy played some afternoon lacrosse, Kade and I picked some raspberries (which we stirred into homemade ice cream), and then we even squeezed in a walk…after which it rained some more.
And that was it. Everyone packed up and drove south the following morning. In the rain.
The weather has since been behaving itself. Until today. Because we have more visitors on the way.
Click any photo – except that one giant one – to embiggen. There are some fun ones in there that you can’t see nearly all the detail…assuming you want to :)