We could have driven I-75 north from Interlochen straight up to the Mackinac Bridge, but that’s not our nature. We opted to meander up the shore of Lake Michigan for one more day on our approach to the Upper Peninsula. Enjoying the day, we decided to stop and camp one more night in the lower peninsula. Wilderness State Park was pretty full, but we lucked into a corner site with essentially a private trail to a private beach on Lake Michigan. We oohed and aahed at the beautiful sunset. (Might’ve even taken a photo or twelve.) Early the next morning our weather alert app fired off, indicating an imminent severe storm. The park ranger stopped by and warned us to button up, also to expect high winds, heavy rain and lightning. We extended our stay to wait out the storm.
The storm tracked south of us – twenty minutes after it started to rain, the skies cleared. Oh well, we could use a rest day – especially when we had a private beach… And, we got to see the sunset after the storm. Oooh, la la!
On July 22, we finally crossed the Mighty Mac into the UP! At 5 miles, it’s the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. Heading north, Lake Huron is on the right and Lake Michigan is on the left.
Using our usual, unusual tactics for travel planning, we had many recommendations for places to see and visit on the north shore of the UP on Lake Superior, and none on the south shore on Lake Michigan. We asked a local who suggested we see the Kitch-iti-kipi Spring, aka ‘The Big Spring’ near Manistique. Enough for us! South shore here we come…
Enroute to the Spring, we stopped by a Hiawatha National Forest Ranger Station for info – Hiawatha National Forest covers most of the inland, eastern UP – and we wanted to learn more. The ranger was totally excited to see us – camping for tents and smaller RVs (like ours) is free and available ANYWHERE in the Hiawatha NF as long as you don’t block any roads. He loaded us with maps and suggestions for things to see, roads to take and camping sites to consider.
Once again, no one suggested visiting the interior of the UP, so off we went… We spent an entire day traveling 25 miles on absolutely gorgeous dirt roads through forests, lakes, wetlands. That whole time, we saw one car and one Off-Road Vehicle (ORV as they’re known in these parts). And, we did indeed camp in fun little spot in the absolute middle of nowhere. And, we now get the jokes about mosquitoes in the UP!
And now we’re off to those spots people recommended…