In August of 2012 I had the pleasure of taking a group of 8 friends and clients to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for an adventurous trip that still gets brought up and quoted when ever we get together.
The trip began on a thursday evening, we met at my studio in Downtown Walled Lake and departed from there. Blasting BPM the entire way up north Nic “Motor” and I we’re leading the way. Not too far just over the Zilwaukee Bridge we got pulled over. :(. Not sure why, the first question after the officer approached the window and asked for license, registration and proof of insurance was “What’s the reason you pulled us over officer”? his reply ” you need to have head lights on when it’s dark out”. In utter shock I couldn’t believe we didn’t turn the lights on. But in our defense we did trade vehicles with “Bad Boy” Bill and the interior dash lights came on but only the low beam fog lights came on with that. So, with just a warning we were back on our way. whew!
That evening we stayed at my good friend “Tough Bastards” Cottage on Black Lake. As usual I was the first one to wake and made coffee and started banging pots and pans to get the rest of the crew up and at em. Not much longer we were crossing the Mackinaw bridge and enjoying the beautiful shoreline drive on highway 2 along Lake Michigan making our way to the first destination of our trip none other than the breath taking Pictured Rocks! Once there we realized that day wasn’t going to be our opportunity for everyone to enjoy the sights being that there were 4-6 foot swells crashing at our feet on the beach. So in any event Shawn “Bucky” McCall and I decided to give it a go and surf. One GoPro and a couple thrashings later we were done and on to black rocks to do some cliff jumping. Making a late arrival to Peterson’s Cottages in Ontonagon we unpacked and got some shut eye to be prepared for a fun filled day. I at least got some sleep, while some of the others decided to enjoy a couple cocktails and watch the stars and view a slight glimpse of the northern lights.
Up early, I prepared for long paddle on Lake Gogebic, the largest and deepest inland lake in the entire state. A big breakfast and we’re off, the lake was absolutely beautiful and the conditions couldn’t be more perfect 82 degrees and winds less than 5 miles an hour. Catching glimpses of turtles, plenty of fish and some “Yoopers” enjoying an afternoon on their patio. We paddled about 8.5 miles which included a little river paddling up and back down stream. then as we started heading back and cut across the widest part of the lake to follow the other shoreline back the wind began to pick up and before we knew it winds were in access of 18mph and were crossing us from the northwest. Working our tails off to maintain a cruising speed and keep balance. What a great lake.
After a filling healthy lunch the others were tired so “Motor” and I jumped in the truck and went mountain biking since the sun was starting to allow the trees to create some shade. We did about 6 miles on the easy trail and headed back to home base. This was the night we decided to have a big bonfire and let loose. The Northern Lights were shining bright on this evening and we thoroughly enjoyed them. Nothing beats a summer night in Michigan, with a bonfire on the water great tequila and even better company. We all shared stories about how we met each other and the impact we all unknowingly had on one another.
Not so early the next morning we rose to make a big bountiful breakfast of organic eggs, fresh fruit and bacon from Hale, Michigan. This day was all about the escarpment trail which takes you all along the mountains providing us with incredible views of the Lake of the Clouds, Lake Superior and the nature and wildlife along the way. Some of the moments of this trip were the “BBE” LOL, not to be explained, the cool welcome sign made of sticks at one of the camp sights, but more importantly our way back up from the waters edge of the Lake of the Clouds. It was Andrea and I who decided to chill by the water a few more minutes, not to go unmentioned Andrea was exhausted and took every chance to get water from my camelbak or someone else’s water bottles since she had consumed all of her water she brought. Heading back up the mountain Andrea started having a very difficult time continuing, so the trainer in me kicked in and I told Andrea “You’re not going to quit here, you can’t. There’s no way out of this. Time to put one foot in front of the other.” So that’s exactly what she did, with some continuos coaching and motivating she would take 4 steps and we would breath, take 4 more steps then breath. “Remember how this feels right now. And know when we come back here next year, your going to make this hike your B!*#h!” Happy we were done and at the top I gave her a big sweaty hug and a “Job well done”!!! Time to go relax for the day!
The next two days were filled with some Hiking and mountain biking. Enjoying the waterfall trail of Presque Isle in the Porcupine state forest was so much fun. I got a chance to do TRX over the edge of a 40 foot cliff. Awesome! As well as see dozens of waterfalls. The last hike of the trip was the Mirror Lake trail. We laughed and laughed and laughed on this hike like you would never believe. The Jokes just kept coming and we had such a riot back in those woods. The camp site at Mirror lake was very cool with big chairs made up of large logs from a down tree and hard boiled eggs I had in my back pack from the morning hike. Sounds gross I know but I was happy to have the protein. It took us forever it seemed like to get back and on the way we were all startled when we heard some thunderous crashing in the trees ahead. We stopped for a moment and waiting to see if something were going to show it’s self but nothing. I still wonder what that was to this day, who knows a bear, moose, elk, I was hoping for Big Foot but we’ll never know.
This trip was something I had been looking forward to for several years and I finally had the opportunity to embark upon it. I frequently stopped and thought, during our paddling and hiking, what was this land like before we were here? I imagined Native Americans riding horseback through the forest and along the mountain ridges as well as paddling canoes across the Gogebic. I felt truly blessed and grateful to be there in those moments, and equally fortunate to be sharing the experience with some really good friends. Can’t wait for 2013 U.P. Adventure Trip.