Last Sunday, myself and three of the kids headed to Manistee for camping.
July is always my husband's busy month (when Ford has their July shutdown - he goes into overtime mode. He'll be in Ford Plants in Chicago, Kentucky, New York and maybe Georgia. all before the 19th)
The kids have been begging to go camping for a few years now. We used to go when Allan and Wendy were little, but it's been awhile. The kids are finally at an age where I felt I could tackle it on my own - but by going where I knew I'd know other campers.
Sight #34. We made it to the campground just minutes after the 2:00 check-in.
And we set up.
The tent putting up lesson that Greg gave me came in handy. I had purchased that tent at a garage sale years ago, but Greg has been the only one to use it when he goes with his brothers Memorial Day weekend.
Tent set up - it was time to make supper.
And then go exploring.
Day one completed by sitting around the campfire.
Day 2 - more time on the trails.
We spent two full afternoons on the beach.
Mark was pretty fired up to catch a fish with his hands.
The iced over lakes in the winter have made for a very high water level (was it 14 inches higher than normal what I heard?) and hardly any beach. The most beach to be found was by the creek.
Sunset, night three. On this day it had rained most of the day - so we headed out to Ludington to hit some stores and check out the town. It rained enough that I didn't take many pictures, but we did make it down to the beach for the sunset.
The beach by the creek. To sit anywhere else would be to sit in the water or up on a bank.
We put in quite a few miles on the trails.
That Mark learned to ride his bike just a couple weeks before we went was HUGE. He was up and down those trails like a champ.
Originally I was going to tent on Mrs. K's sight. Mrs. K, because she was Mark's preschool teacher, so when he's around it's hard to call her Deanna, even though we've known each other for about thirty years.
As it turned out, she started thinking she couldn't come at all - so I bought her out, so then it was a bonus when she WAS able to come with her mom and two girls for two nights. Mark was pretty fired up to be camping with his preschool teacher.
Fun to wake up to more faces and fresh coffee.
On Thursday we piled into two vans and a truck and headed up to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. These three had a final race to the top. Mark had seen the dunes and his thought was, Again? Didn't we just do this last year???
Julie hadn't been there since her bigs were little.
Wendy was at the bottom with a toe injury (more on that in the next post) and I promised the boys I wouldn't make them do the whole, 'let's just go to one more hill' thing like we did last year.
The group did see a young teen/tween who ran all the way up and down in 9 minutes. That was pretty impressive. I then happened to be sitting next to a woman who said she had visited with the boys mother who said he also does the other steeper hill in 9 minutes (down and up) and that they come for a week every summer and he does the hills every day.
While the rest of our gang walked the next hill, I sat with the boys. Brian dug this pit all the way to his waist during the time the others were trudging.
Everyone piled back into the vehicles, we then headed to the Platt River for an afternoon of floating. Shoes are recommended on this part.
There is a bit of van shuttling that has to go on so that there is a ride at the end, so we took a few photos while we were waiting for the drivers to come back.
It was a two hour float from the starting point to the lake, and it was awesome. The wind got a little chilly towards the end of the adventure - so we were feeling sympathy for the mom and daugher who were starting as we were ending. I'm sure they were cold by the time they were done.
It was a great trip.
We woke up early yesterday and began packing the sight up, and were on the road by 11. I had debated spending some time on the beach, but I knew I'd struggle with tired driving (a 3-1/2 hour drive home) if I did that, and we were really hoping that Greg would be home last night -
but he called and he's stuck in Buffalo for one more night. We'll see him hopefully tonight for about twelve hours as he passes through on his way to Kentucky.
The next camping post will be about what worked, and what didn't. If you can imagine. For example - that yellow waterproof bag in that above photo - totally worked for toting Brian's shoes/orthotics down the river)
I've got some laundry to tackle.