The past few years, we have spent early June at our “sticks and bricks”, enjoying normal-length showers, our huge king size bed and our dishwasher, among other comforts of home. We catch up on laundry, routine dentist and doctor visits and time with family. This year there were also retirement parties, our niece’s graduation party, a nice Father’s Day picnic and a visit from our Hawaiian friends, Kacy and Bri, and their daughters.
We started planning for our return to our property in Frankfort and for some short tent camping trips. We had both been inspired by other tent campers’ set-ups on our previous journey. It would be a way to use our Northern Outpost as a base camp and venture out further, without hauling our large rig. Last year we went backpacking for the first time in 20 years, with some heavy, outdated equipment. While tent campsites are less remote than hike-in sites, we could bring a larger tent, a cooler, plenty of food and drinks, and comfortable air mattresses. We would also have access to many more smaller sites that would not accomodate our rig.
We finally headed north in late June. There is nothing like the feeling of our first arrival of the year, at our property. The first thing we always notice is the strong, sweet smell of Douglas Fir trees, one of my favorite scents on the planet. I love seeing and hearing the birds, especially those that we don’t see or hear anywhere else. The Eastern Towhee, Indigo Bunting and Black-capped Chickadees sang as we decided where and how to park the rig for the summer. It is always interesting and fun to see which trees have grown bigger, which have fallen or died, and where new saplings have sprouted.
We set up camp for the summer and eased into our normal summer “up north” routine, hiking, visiting our favorite places and meeting up with friends in the area. We spent 2 nights tent camping at Fisherman’s Island State Park In Charlevoix. We had a beautiful lake front campsite. Our only complaint about the place was that the restrooms were very far away (between a quarter and half mile). It was great to see Charlevoix again. Unlike other northern Michigan towns, which have become overrun with tourists and wealthy vacation homeowners, it seemed to be mostly the same as when we last visited in 2009. We loved camping in the bigger tent and the new air mattresses were pretty comfortable. After 11 nights off grid, we were running out of water, so we came home.
Camping off grid at our own Northern Outpost. Home sweet home…