Summer Visitations

When you live in a cool place that isn’t co-located with your friends and family, those same people tend to come visit in the summers.  For the past few years, this migration of friends and family to our home has, more than the end of the school year, marked the arrival of summer.  It’s been a fairly constant stream of people coming and us going for the last month, and that makes it difficult to keep up with this.  Alas, it was my idea, and I shant whine.  Regardless, here’s what’s been going on during my blogging hiatus:

Meg came to visit.  Yay!  We’ve been really good friends with Meg since we lived in Miami.  It’s kind of a miracle we ever became friends, and to some extent, it’s a bit of a miracle that we remain friends.  You see, Meg is unlikeable.  No, that’s not true.  What is true though, is that Meg is as nomadic as we are.  However, whereas we tend to stick to the I-75 corridor (from Canada to Cuba…), Meg makes giant moves.  Like from Maine to Maui.  So when we get to see Meg, it’s special.  We took a brief tour of the “neighborhood,” and stopped in Elk Rapids to throw rocks into the lake.  Throwing rocks is an objective any time we are near the water, and the rocks in this area must have been preordained for the purpose of skipping.  If you don’t believe me, come visit!

Meg throwing rocks into the lake...perhaps even skipping them!

The weather cooperated quite nicely during Meg’s visit, and we got to take a canoe trip down the crystal clear Platte River.  We spotted many large fish during our journey, which for some reason is always a highlight of any water outing for me!  I always look for them, and am delighted when I see them.  When I do not, I declare that there must not be any fish in the water, because if so, you’d be able to see them!  I think that seeking out fish in some way fulfills my mushroom hunting addiction…

Canoe trip down the busy, but beautiful Platte

We also took a few hikes, including one through a nice hardwood forest to an enchanting Lake Michigan overlook, one through Skegemog swamp for a nice sunset, and one along the majestic Manistee River.

This hardwood forest looks like a "good ridge." I think Mom would agree 🙂

View of Lake Michigan from the hike

An epic Skegemog sunset

Meg spied these Showy Lady Slippers on our way back from the swamp

Glorious view of the Manistee

And what trip Up North is complete without a stop at Torch Lake?  We went, we saw, we swam.  But only briefly, because the lake is cold!  There are fish cribs up near our entry point, and I was determined to find them.  But the sky clouded over, and Tony and Meg backed out on our snorkel trip.  Not to worry though: Meg brought my snorkel gear to me in exchange for me not cajoling her into getting back in.  Not to be outdone, though, she suited up too, and we took off.   (“Teamwork.  Keeping our employees gruntled.”  I digress…) Turns out determination is not enough to find the mysterious old pier supports.  I will find them, though!

It really wasn't that bad, once you got used to it...

Meg left on Wednesday; Tony’s parents and grandparents arrived Friday.  I did my best to help them all on their heart-healthy, waistband-friendly diets.  Just ask them 🙂  Our happy half-dozen piled into Mamaw and Papaw’s Envoy for a jaunt up to the Old Mission lighthouse.  The Blond Chic, Phil, Tony and I waded around in the warm shallow water for a bit, which was a nice change of pace from Torch’s cooler temps.

View of the lighthouse, obviously from my perch in the water...

And, since this is the cherry capitol, we stopped at a little roadside stand to buy some washed, sweet cherries.  (I only say this because all the signs indicate the cleanliness of the cherries…)

Old Mission fruit (and syrup) stand

You might think from looking at the pictures that Phil was really excited about the fruit.  What you can’t see, though, is the sign by the road that says Pure Michigan Maple Syrup.  (No, Papaw, I still haven’t figured out how they harvest it from pines!)  Apparently, maple syrup is best taken in shots directly from the bottle. From Old Mission Peninsula, we headed over to the dunes, which I cannot wait to sled down.

Who knew a sand dune could be such a cliff??

This picture looks down one of the bluffs to Lake Michigan…not one I want to sled down.  A nearby sign indicates the drop is 450 feet.  There are a couple of people all the way at the bottom, and if you squint just right, you may be able to see them.  We didn’t join them.

Video gaming family fun (she's playing Trials) after our excursions

Before Meg got here, we bought a couple kayaks from a nice couple that we found through Craigslist.  I say they’re a nice couple, because they sold us their kayaks, and that made us happy 🙂  We didn’t get a chance to take them out until Sunday evening.  It had rained intermittently all day, but we were resolute about getting in them.  I guess that’s all it took, because the clouds parted, and the birds sang.  Of course we went on Torch Lake.  We had a great time…so great, in fact, that we left the kayak racks on so that we could go again Monday.  We didn’t, because it was cold and windy.  So, we made plans to go today.  We didn’t, because it was cold and windy.  We hope to go tomorrow.  We plan to go early, so that though it will likely be cold, hopefully it won’t be windy.

Floating above our favorite inland lake

In the event that it is both (cold and windy), we can always drive around for happy sites or forage for food, both of which we have done the past two days!

Wild blueberries...smaller, but very full of flavor. My students might say they are hypertonic compared to their marketed cousins. *groan*

Smiley barns...they work for me!

Saw this in Bellaire and it demanded to be photgraphed

Clearly for us, then, summer is here.  Tony’s family has departed, and we await my mom, sister, and nephews for the upcoming weekend and following week.  I’m looking forward to all of it.  And the fall, too 😉


3 thoughts on “Summer Visitations

  1. Yes, damn it, I am unlikable. Unlikable and gruntled. Will you block me if I call you a f&%#$^r on here? ‘Cause I really want to. F&%#$^r! Maybe you urinated on yourself!

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