A few weeks ago, the Adventure Club packed up all of its coats and cameras and took a road trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The trip was much too brief, but we packed it in and filled our eyes and hearts with as much as we could in four days. November is considered the off-season up north, and so our drive was so many empty roads, fields set between towns with vacant motels and seasonally closed businness, and the most impossibly golden pine trees. Our hikes through state parks were uninterrupted by others- we had miles and miles of majestic Michigan trails and beaches to ourselves. We got to experience a beautifully desolate wonderland of waterfalls, overlooks, and the last of the season’s fall colors.
Unfamiliar places always make everything seem special to me. We drank a lot of truly mediocre coffee and had to check for bed bugs at Scotty’s Motel
, but I loved every cup, and we slept so soundly after a long drive and a day of exploration. This was my first trip to the upper peninsula, but I felt a sense of nostalgia there, like I was already missing the memories as we were making them.
Our last full day was spent in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. We braced ourselves for a very windy walk to an outlook where we could see the Lake of the Clouds, and were rewarded with the most beautiful view, and, of course, a champagne toast.
Our drive home was bittersweet but beautiful. We stopped at a coffee drive-through and started the long trip in morning fog. We stopped to stand in one more of Northern Michigan’s magical fields where the fog wrapped like ribbons through tall grass. We could see its clear beginning and end, where telephone lines waded knee-deep, and barns bathed.
We hit a few more parks along the way home, including Palms-Book, the home of Michigan’s largest freshwater spring.
I was so excited to finally visit some of the places I’ve wanted to go for such a long time. I forget sometimes that I live in a state full of such remarkable, natural beauty, but it’s always there, just waiting for us to seek it out. The Adventure Club can’t wait to go back and experience the magic in another season. Preferably with tents and kayaks.