Monday, March 28, 2011

Going U.P.

The calendar may say that spring is here, but the weather begs to differ.  It is slightly above freezing, right now, and there is still a fair amount of snow on the ground.  The only thing that is keeping me going is the idea of taking a trip once the warmer weather finally arrives.  It doesn't help, any, that I keep seeing this commercial on television.

Every year, I request a copy of the Michigan travel guide.  It's full of gorgeous, glossy pictures of places I've never been (even though I've lived in Michigan my entire life), and places I'd like to go.  It's a good starting point for planning day and weekend trips.  Once I find a place of interest, I begin my search on the internet for more information.

We've been talking about spending a weekend in the Upper Peninsula, so I spent some time researching points of interest, there.  It is primarily forest land, which means that a trip to the area is not going to be full of amusement parks and tourist attractions.  Camping, hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing and sightseeing are the standard.  There are dozens of state parks and state forest areas with campgrounds, and they all have unique features that I've been comparing.

The first thing I ruled out was any campground with the term "rustic" in it's title.  I love the outdoors as much as anyone, but when I read the following, it didn't inspire me to make reservations:
Rustic campground includes vault toilets and potable water from well hand pump.
Vault toilets?  Yeah, I know what they are.  Most of the scenic overlooks along the eastern part of the state have them.  On a 90+ degree day you can smell them from a half mile away.  Trust me when I tell you that you don't want your campsite anywhere near one.   

Another type of campsite I wasn't terribly familiar with was a "walk in" site.  Then I read this description of one:

Craig Lake State Park is the most remote state park in the system. It spans more than 6,900 acres in Baraga County. Craig Lake offers a touch of wilderness and access into the park is somewhat of an adventure. Vehicles with high ground clearance are recommended due to the rocky conditions of the road. The park contains six full lakes and numerous small ponds along with a variety of wildlife such as deer, black bear, beaver, loons and a portion of the Upper Peninsula moose herd. Craig Lake is 374 acres and features six islands and high granite bluffs along its northern shoreline.

A touch of wilderness?  It sounds like more than a "touch" to me.  You can drive into the park, but you must walk to the camp sites because there is no vehicle access.  I'm sure it's beautiful, but when you use "remote" and "black bear" together, I get a little worried.  We may consider visiting during the daytime, but I don't think we'll be spending the night.  While I may want to share some highlights of our trip on my blog, I don't want to be featured on an episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive". 

I had read that some of the campgrounds are close to ghost towns.  An afternoon spent poking around an old, abandoned logging camp or mining town sounds like fun.  I also found that there is a place called "Willoughby Lodge" that sits on the foundation of the former sawmill in the now defunct town of Prentiss.  How cool is that?

There is still a lot of information to cover, so we don't have any concrete plans, yet.  Even so, I'm enjoying the planning because it keeps me from looking outside and noticing the snow that just won't leave.  Plus, Tim Allen is pretty convincing (he does the voice over in the Pure Michigan ads).
Do you have any plans for spring or summer getaways?


If you're planning a trip to Michigan, or want to spend some time on a virtual getaway, click
here to view the digital version of Michigan Travel Ideas.


Kerrie T. said...

I just want to go on a real vacation. Usually we are visiting family.

Pearl said...

Oh, this was so funny!!

And vault toilet?! What? I don't like the sound of that.


My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

good to hear from you today, my friend

wish i was there in that pile of old favorite thing to do...

A Treasury of Great mary and vincent Price...

keep never know..whenever i see some old books...i always look for it too...someday we will find one


Happy Spring
kary and teddy

lisleman said...

It is nearly impossible to get the best of both worlds - civilized and wilderness. I've enjoyed staying in some cabins up north, but I have yet to spend much time at all in the UP. Your post has me thinking of the Jurassic Park movie - visitors trying to be protected from the wildlife.

Pink Scarf said...

I've lived in Michigan my whole life as well. The state does look prettier in travel guide pictures, doesn't it? Though I recently went to Mackinac Island and it was GORGEOUS there.


Joanna Jenkins said...

A "Vault Toilet"!?!?! OMGosh, I can't even imagine.
Happy planning! The commercial looks like you have gorgeous places to visit.
xo jj

elvira pajarola said...

Fabulously your vacation - and weekend - plans...!!!!

Oh, I think it's a great idea to "be tourist" in it's own country...!!!

We do ths tooooo....sometimes the closest places are the most beautiful ones!!!!!

i wish you a wonderful spring and send you a loooooot of warm Tuscan sunshine!!!!!!

ciao ciao elvira

Cameron said...

Hi! First, I love the new look of your blog (well, new since I've been back in blog land!!!) Second, I truly feel for you and the frigid winter y'all have had, you are in need of fun & sun!!!!! Thank you SO much for stoping by my monkey blog, it is helpful to hear how other mom's made it through the first year.

Hope your week goes well and be in touch!
Cheers & Warmth your way!!!

Jenny said...

I love Michigan! In a perfect world, I would live there from May through October, then hurry back to Arizona before the snow flies.

Just dreaming...

Jenn Erickson said...

That commercial definitely makes me want to hop the soonest plane for Michigan, so I can understand how you'd be moved to explore your won beautiful state. I can't wait to hear about what adventures you plan. Hmmmm...Willoughby Lodge....sounds serendipitous!


Simone @ Doberman's by the Sea said...

Hello, stopping over via 504 Main. Thanks for your nice comment on my guest post there. Your blog is lovely. I order travel brochures too, and dream of a vacation there:)

Mary said...

What a perfect way to begin the day. You will have me smiling all day. This is my first visit to your blog and I took some time to browse through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did. You've created a wonderful spot for your readers to visit and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

abby jenkins said...

vault toilets? Yeeech... my sister used to live in Sault St Marie and one year called with horror stories of not being able to open the door to let the dog out because they had multiple feet of snow. Talk about a long winter!

That being said, when I drove cross country in my twenties our route along the top of the great lakes was one of my favorite spots. The natural beauty mixed with the hospitality of the people was sheer perfection!

Can't wait to see where your travels take you in 2011 my friend!

Jenny said...

Ha! The vault toilets made me laugh. I thought they sounded great, too! That area of Michican is really glorious.