On our camping trips to our property, some names of places seemed to evoke some fear in the boys. The Haunted House on Haunted Island or The Bloody Antler Trail carried fear within their very names. Take the Haunted Island, for example. That entity the boys could see from our wooded beachfront the moment they arrived as it literally stared them in the face as they set up the tents. One of our many side trips was to Beartrack which was a camping area along the Little Manistee River.
Since it was located in the heart of the Manistee National Forest the boys equated that area with bears by its very name itself. On this particular trip with the Salesian Boys Club, it had rained nearly every day. Yet the fearful name Beartrack was about to dissolve away as the boys instead shed their shoes and socks and had the time of their life in a splash war.
The boys instantly became aware of how cold that river was as it neary matched Lak Michigan in temperature. Thy also noticed how swift the river ran even though they were in shallow water. Getting their feet out of their hot shoes and socks must have felt great as they hit the icy water. Before they knew it, they were all swimming and having a great time. The name, “Beartrack”, now meant a place of fun over that of a name to be frightened over.
What they had learned that day was not to be fearful in a name itself as no bears were to be found that day. Well, at least they had not seen any bears. Hmmm?