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Ah, Quasi-Wilderness








Well, we made it through our second camping trip of the season. We stayed at Arbutus Lake State Forest Campground, which is about 15 minutes south of Traverse City. We had the beach almost exclusively to ourselves during the five days we were there.
A blue heron or two hung out to the northeast of this beach and at least one loon made its home somewhere on this particular lake.
While there we visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Surprisingly, this has been one of the few attractions in Michigan that I have failed to visit. We didn't spend as much time as I would have liked there so we'll have to go again. This picture is from a .6 mile hike to Pyramid Point, the northernmost part of the park. You have a great view of South Manitou Island from the bluff up there. That's about a two hundred foot slope below my feet there.

We also hit the Leelanau Peninsula, Traverse City, and Point Betsie Lighthouse on the way home. (Does anyone know how to layout photos so they aren't all clustered at the top?)
One other good note: my family members all survived their first state forest camping experience--no showers, no flush toilets.
I have to reflect on the "feeling" that I have everytime I'm "Up North." For most people in Southeast Michigan "Up North" can be the tip of the thumb, or more generally draw a line from Saginaw Bay westward and if you pass north of that line you are considered to be "Up North." Though for some of my past students Rochester and Flint would be considered "Up North." Anyway, the feeling I experience is one of home. Perhaps this has to do with spending two weeks every summer until I was fourteen on Manitoulin Island with my maternal grandparents. Perhaps it has to do with the lack of electronic distractions. Maybe something about being in the church "not made with hands." Whatever it is, that feeling is not present here in Dedford. It only confirms my desire to find a larger plot of land than I currently own and cultivate it. My wife feels the same way. Some are city folk, some suburban folk, and we'll, we think we're not quite country folk, but don't feel comfortable in the other two categories. And yes, I HAVE lived in a city proper--the Cass Corridor section of Detroit when I was attending Wayne State University. And while I want the city to succeed and become something of what it used to be (in all the positive meanings of that--no more new brownfields, please) I don't wish to live in the midst of that renewal.
The suburbs. . . I'll just avoid a rant about them right now.
No, I don't need to live "Up North" to feel home, but I do need a place where my children have to take more than one breath to get to the boundaries of our property. That isn't for everyone, I know, but I think it is for us.

(Photo key: from top down--Leelanau State Park (first two photos); Pyramid Point, Sleeping Bear Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore; Arbutus Lake #4 beach)

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