It has taken much longer than expected, but I finally spent nearly a week camping in the north woods between Rogers City and Onaway. Better late than never certainly applies here, as I had a terrific time, re-learned quite a bit I’d forgotten since I last camped forty years ago, and got a special, unexpected visit.
I arrived at Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground Tuesday afternoon, August 1st. With only three campsites available out of the total of 14 there, I picked the best one remaining and began setting up camp. The tent was easy as could be, but I found setting up a kitchen canopy using two 8×10 tarps, 4 poles, and 10 guy lines with stakes was a difficult proposition for one person to handle alone. Still, a bit of Yankee ingenuity helped to get the job done and soon the camp was looking good and very comfortable.
Our campsite backed up to the river, just 20 or so yards away. I could hear the rushing water and it provided a soothing effect for this suburbanite. My camping buddy, Abby, enjoyed playing with chipmunks, barking at other dogs, and swimming in the river with a playful otter.
Michigan State Forest Campgrounds do not provide electrical hookups, and I found that my Limefuel External Battery Pack Charger could not keep up with both my iPhone and iPad’s charging needs over the six days of camping. Perhaps the lesson here is that one should not want to “be connected” while getting away from it all, eh? The downside was not being able to take as many photos as I would have liked with my phone.
On Wednesday, I drove the 12 miles into Rogers City to visit the Calcite limestone quarry, the largest in the world, just south of town. While there, I was fortunate to watch as a great lakes freighter, the H. Lee White, pulled into port for a load of limestone. At nearly 700 feet in length, it was amazing to see the huge ship up close and personal. Here’s a shot of part of the quarry…Michigan’s own Grand Canyon.
We experienced four short-lived rain/thunder storms during our stay. Thankfully, the canopy did its job, providing a comfortable shelter from the elements. I had set up a small kitchen area under the canopy, with a table, Coleman stove, coffee pot, and utensils. With a couple folding chairs, it made sure a rain storm did not keep us from enjoying the day.
The menu during our stay included hobo pie pizza, brats, scrambled eggs, smoked sausages, a burger, and much, much better fare thanks to our visitors for the weekend.
However, the campers next to me outdid everyone one evening…a lobster dinner!
Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure of welcoming my daughter-in-law and two grandkids to the campground! Coincidentally, they had planned a weekend of camping at Ocqueoc, so it worked out perfectly. They were able to set up just two sites away from mine, making back and forth visits very easy.
Since I welcomed Melanie’s delicious camp meals, I spent most of my time at their site, eating, visiting, and enjoying their campfire. My son arrived Friday evening after his work day. Here, he and Abby were looking for that otter for more play in the river.
On Saturday, Rogers City was having their annual Maritime Festival, so we went in to see what they had to offer. At the Calcite quarry just outside of town, they had some of their HUGE equipment on display. The 53.5/85-57 tires on that loader cost $79,000 each when new!
Back at the campground that evening, it was time for dinner and some roasted marshmallows…no, I’m not dozing off, but it does look like it!
Sunday morning, the grandkids took advantage of one last opportunity to enjoy the rushing water at the falls. I think they would have stayed there all day long if possible!
We broke camp, packed up, and headed to our respective homes by 1:30. It was a wonderful time together; I know we all enjoyed our camping and the memories we made.
Back home, Abby and I did a lot of this to recover from our super time in the woods!!! :-))