My family has a deep connection with northern Michigan. When we were younger, my family, along with two others who I grew up with would drive up to Lake Superior and camp right on the water for a couple weeks. We would explore the Upper Peninsula and go rock-hounding, kayaking across Pictured Rocks and hiking by Tahquamenon Falls. For the past three years, we have rented a cabin for a week that sits right on a bay on Drummond Island in Lake Huron. It is right next to Canada, and so our internet connection is almost non-existent, giving us a wonderful break from the ever-present real world of social-media and breaking news.
The house was built by a Swedish lumberjack back in the 1800s. It sleeps almost 20 people. There is a guest house by the water that now houses firewood, a large fire pit next to the beach, and an old dock which perfectly encaptures the character of the house. The cabin got its first electricity through using two Model T engines in the back next to the clay tennis court.
The island is about a seven hour trip from my house in Kalamazoo, including a half an hour ferry ride across the lake. It is one of the most peaceful locations that I have been to, with loons singing in the morning and camp fires every night. We play euchre and corn hole during the day, and collapse in our beds smelling like camp each night. The entire island is very rustic with tons of dirt roads leading into seemingly nowhere, to come out on the other side with a stunning view of Lake Huron. A well-known location on the island is Fossil Ledge. It is about a half an hour drive through rocks and dirt to get to a stretch of the island with millions of rocks with every type of fossil you can possibly imagine. The biology professors and rock-hounding fans that come with us on the trip examine every rock and tell me about the types of creatures that we are seeing fossilized thousands of years later, but I tend to get deep into the freezing cold water to take pictures of the land around me. The ledges are something that I’ve never seen anything like in any other place than Drummond Island, though this year most of them were flooded due to the rising water level. It was still worth to rock climb and get hit with gigantic waves to go see some beautiful butterflies, untouched fossils and other beautiful wildlife.
The unspoken word is that we will all come back to the cabin at night after whatever adventures we take, be it bike riding, rock-hounding or fishing, and come to a roaring fire to eat some amazing food and be together with our chosen family. Northern Michigan will always hold a soft spot in my heart and it reminds me every year why I love this state.