Canoeing the Pere Marquette


I know of some folks that believe that they can get from the Baldwin, Michigan, area to Lake Michigan in no time flat along the Pere Marquette River, that is, as the crow flies. But crows don’t paddle all the twists and turns of that river so to go that distance in just a few days is not a reality.  One man, in particular, only made it about half way in the time limit that he had alloted for himself, much to his displeasure.

I’ve never taken the Pere Marquette River in any sort of speed contest as that would ruin it for me.  This river was meant to be enjoyed and part of that pleasure is to camp along its banks and get in some good fishing.  If you’re in some sort of speed contest, you’ll miss all that this river offers you.  I even enjoy a brief swim in the cool waters of the Pere Marquette. 

This river was meant to be enjoyed to its fullest and each and every time that I dip my paddle in this river, I take my time to enjoy every minute.  What’s the rush?

Disc Golf


My good friend Dave Norris would be thrilled to learn that now the Manistee National Forest even has Disc Golf Courses!  I think he refers to them as Frisbee Golf Courses since Indiana is not quite up to par with the term Disc Golf yet.  Maybe they’ll catch the “birdie” on this one sooner than later.  It took o’le eagle eyes Michael (my hubbie) to spot this course.

Disc Golf has eighteen holes that are found in metal baskets and they are sprinkled throughout this portion of the national forest.  Mike and I play whenever possible but I usually come out with the victory.  He handles a frisbee like I handle a fishing rod.  I don’t think it prudent to play this course at night for one might encounter the “bogie” man.  Ouch!  My humor is starting to get like David’s. 

Wonderous Forest


Here is another of those unpaved roads in the Manistee National Forest that my husband, Mike, loves to journey upon.  He calls them his one tankful trips and thank goodness he sees fit to fill up the car before we head out into this forest.  For one thing, sometimes these roads lead to other unpaved roads and it seems like we’ll never find civilization again.

Yet that’s the mystique of this wonderful forest.  It seemingly never ends and one can spend a whole day traveling it and never run into a town if you plan your day well using a map.  Mike does but if something ever happened to him on one of our trips, it would take me nearly forever to navigate myself out of this forest.

I am not the best at map reading unless I am going to a CITY with stores.  Then there’s no one my equal but it amazes me how well Mike navigates the back roads of this forest.  And, he loves to explore it taking turns that he had not initially planned on taking.  But when he’s ready to stop exploring and head for home, we’re on either US 10 or 31 in a heartbeat.  It’s rather spooky how he knows all the ways back to the main highways.

Little wonder why green is Mike’s favorite color.  Mine is too but it’s the green that comes out of his wallet for me to go shopping!

The “Wal-Mart” of the Manistee National Forest


In the small town of Dublin, Michigan, is the Dublin General Store and of all these kinds of stores in the area, this one is a classic.  On a trip to the Pine River Bridge near Wellston, the Salesian Boys Club kids and I stopped at this store to pick up supplies for our picnic.  However, Whitey Meier found the right size battery for his larger than life flashlight, Timmy Flannery purchased long shoelaces for his hiking boots, and Mike Myers found a particular brand of cookies that he had not found at other general stores in the area.

The Dublin General Store is a kind of Wal-Mart in the middle of the Manistee National Forest.  The Big Bass Lake Store, on the other hand, had limited items and often one had to go to Scottville for a full shopping trip.  At the Dublin General Store you could also have a full shopping experience and then even more than that with all the specialty items they carried. 

I know that the Salesian Boys Club kids appreciated them.  They came out of that general store beaming with their unique purchases.  And I got all the things I needed for a great cookout at the Pine River that day.  Don Clodfelter took a great picture of this store.

Sandy Road Intersections


As I’ve mentioned before, my wife, Darlene, and I often drive the many sandy roads of Mason and Lake Counties in the Manistee National Forest but one of the problems is that with all the many intersections one encounters, a compass could well be your best friend.  Being a good map reader also helps however not all these dirt roads are on area maps. 

Darlene keeps track of each turn we take during our drives and sometimes she almost needs a calculator to keep up.  We both love to explore this magnificent national forest and each time we set off on our journey from different starting points.  It is our hope that we will be able to map out just about every road in this two county area over the course of time. 

Yet it is easy to get lost so each time we set out with a full tank of gasoline.   I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

The Lake Michigan Recreational Area


Here I am atop the lookout tower at the Lake Michigan Recreational Area with a beautiful view of the Manistee National Forest behind me. In front of me is Lake Michigan in all its glory so you get the best of both worlds from this vista. Directly behind me and under me is a vast sand dune that reaches down into the bowels of this forest.

I had taken a boys club trip to this are and the kids were busy taking my picture while begging to take a swim on this rather hot day. We had brought inner tubes to enjoy a rather wavy day. The kids had a blast swimming and this is the time where we had laid our towels and other materials down and gone into the water. After about an hour of frolic we went back ashore only to find nothing of our equipment! We thought someone had ripped us off but unknown to us, the current of Lake Michigan was the culprit.

It had taken us downshore about a half mile without anyone noticing a thing. As we walked back on shore we found all our stuff right where we had left it. All that seemingly movement without us feeling a thing! Remarkable.

Journey Into The Manistee National Forest


One thing that I like to do is drive around the Manistee National Forest until I find a side road and then to take that deeper into the forest.  I then like to stop the car and explore that particular area for about an hour or so.  I just never know what i might find that I didn’t know was there before.  For example, one time I find a small lake about a mile inside of where I parked my car.  There it was just sitting there in the middle of the forest and  knows ff anyone had stumbled over it before?

Other times I find an old deserted cabin and set about exploring that to see if there is anything worthwhile within it.  More times than not there is nothing to find but I enjoy searching anyway.  I usually take Darlene with me as she also enjoys exploring the forest.  But her searches lend more toward wild flowers or mushrooms.  Nevertheless she often finds just what she is looking for and rarely comes away disappointed. 

I like to take these journeys about once a month in largely the summer, fall, and spring.  I’d recommend these types of trips to anyone as you just don’t know what you might find in the Manistee National Forest.