I’m home now. It feels kind of comfortable here. And warm, not to mention dry. Still…the memories of five days in the woods remain. Want to see a little bit?
The first day and night was spent with a friend at Pigeon River State Forest Campground. It turns out there are several campgrounds there, each of them small, many remote. We chose to stay one night at Round Lake which has ten sites. Only one other site was occupied. We had this beautiful place pretty much to ourselves.
Pigeon River is in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, about thirteen miles east of the very small town of Vanderbuilt. A couple of the campgrounds are set up for horse people, so if you love riding your horse through the woods, this might be the perfect place for you!
But I guess you’d like to take a tour, right? We did just that, taking a walk on what we thought was a trail marked on our map. We were very careful to pay attention to where we were, given we both have a propensity to lose track of things when we’re busy talking and catching up.
We enjoyed beautiful blue skies and tall trees and soft ferns and lots and lots of wildflowers.
We even made a new friend while we were admiring an iris. As we hovered over the purple beauty at the side of a swampy ditch we heard a low growl. Startled we looked closer. Turns out we had ventured into the territory of this guy.
We moved on, enjoying the sunshine on the bright green ferns…
…and the towering pine trees.
I bet you didn’t know there’s a herd of elk living in the region! I didn’t either. But our map (and the park ranger) pointed out a few places they like to hang out, especially at dusk. So as the sun got lower we jumped in the car and went ‘elk hunting.’
It was good we had a map. The roads back there are primarily unmarked dirt one lane tracks. We weren’t always on the road we thought we were on, but we could generally keep going in the direction we intended. Good thing we had a compass though because it was very easy to get turned around in the deep woods.
We laughed as we sorted out our directions, heading to a place on the map that had an elk image. “You know, just because they put an elk on the map doesn’t mean they’re going to be waiting right there for us.” “This is probably a wild goose chase.” “I don’t think we’re actually on the right road.” “What are the odds we even see any?”
We came upon a break in the tall trees – a large open meadow. My friend said “You’d think this would be the kind of place they’d hang out.” as we both turned to look out the right side of the car.
And there, at the back of the meadow, were three of them.
They stared at us. We stared back. “You have the long lens! Quick get the shot!” she said to me. “I can’t figure out how to roll the window down!” I replied in a panic. (It was her car.) Somehow she got the window down, I got the camera up, and this is what we saw:
Seeing the elk was the highlight of the first day of my adventure. But we also enjoyed building a fire and sitting around it talking. I loved the way the trees turned into art as night overtook us.
A serenade of frogs woke us early, and after a night sleeping under the stars we enjoyed watching the sun touch the tips of the trees above us while we were still snug in our tent. It was a gorgeous new morning.
The lake mirrored the blue sky. We spent some time just sitting and enjoying the peace and beauty.
We sat and listened to nature all around us. The frogs. The birds. The wind in the trees. And we commented that all of this would continue after we were gone. That when we were stressed by life we could remember Round Lake and smile.
Peace at Round Lake. Definitely a good start to my adventure. Day two coming up!