Friday, October 28, 2011

Summer Vacation in the Upper Pennisula...A Whole New World

In June, the boys and I joined a group of about 12 families for a fabulous camping experience in Michigan's Upper Pennisula. The trip was part of a National Park Service Program to expose families from Detroit to the National Forest System in Michigan. The group photo was taken at Taquamanon Falls. Here is another pic of the falls. The water is a copper color from the tannins in the oak leaves that line the area.

Our itinerary included Hartwick Pines where we hiked among old growth forest areas that included white pines, oak and maples trees. The Park's educator grew up in the Detroit area and was excited to share the park with us.

We arrived at our home base at Clear Lake Education Center located in Hiawatha National Forest at about 4:00 p.m. The camp site was well equipped with plenty of cabins, a building for meetings and media center and one with a full kitchen and eating area. We were welcomed by two Park Rangers (Mimi and Dave) and were assigned cabins. My boys and I shared a cabin with the Moore's and Dixon's -- three moms and seven boys, ranging from 6 years old to 17 in all!! We are all pictured here with Mr. D...he and his wife were the trip organizers.

We spent a whole day hiking in Hiawatha National Forest where we learned how the habitat here contributes to a healthy eco system and how we (humans) are impacting the forest-- both negatively through pollution and positively through conservation efforts. Although it was raining most of the day, we made the best of it.

This lighthouse was at Pictured Rocks National Shoreline. It was foggy that day but still beautiful. We toured the lighthouse, as well as the historic home that had been restored and learned about the bootleggers who operated in the area because of the proximity to Canada... that's something Detroit and the U.P. have in common!

We had a chance to try six different activities in one day including kayaking, mountain biking and fishing. My favorite was the kayaks and I have since gone kayaking several times.

Evenings were a chance to share a meal, make new friends and play games.

All in all, it was a great trip and one we will remember for a very long time. Thanks to the National Park Service and trip organizers, Delashon and Nick Dicrese, Lisa Perez and Ranger Dave!!

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