Maybe Ed Should Consider This for his House?

Ed? Why swim in Big Bass Lake when you can have a pool in your house? And a sauna? You could live like a king! This house and pool are in the Irons area. Perhaps Ed should consult with this homeowner? And remember, Ed, those long Michigan winters? Just think of how good that sauna could be in the winter?

A Natural Shower

My friend, Ben, and I came upon this natural shower on a recent hike through the Manistee National Forest and it just seemed to beckon us to undress and go under it for one of the most refreshing showers I can ever recall. The water pressure on this given day was just perfect as sweat and dirt disappeared fast. Ben thought the water could have been a tad warmer but nothing is perfect. Unless, of course, that Mother Nature is at our beckon call?

Water like this not only cleans us off but also massages aching muscles from our daily walks. I wish I could pocket this falls and take it along with us so that it would always be available when needed. You can even take in a good gulp or two of water at these times to refresh your throat. Later this same waterfall would serve us both as a fishing area at the bottom of the falls.

You know, after this, my home shower just won’t seem the same anymore!

Ward Hill Ski Area Update

I received a couple of photographs recently from an anonymous source about the Ward Hill ski area after Camp Martin Johnson owned it. This was during the time that the Kennedy Brothers owned it. Extensive repairs were made to the Lodge making it party-friend

The other picture I received was from their sledding hill. I don’t think they ever planned to convert it back to a ski area but for a sledding area instead. I’m not sure what this is accept something to smooth the sledding hill out.

Overnight lodging had to be a problem for this area as it was quite remote. Outside of the lodge itself there was no other place to eat in that area. Has anyone else heard any other updates about this property? If so please leave us a comment.


On Top of Ward Hills

This was to be the foundation for a warming station atop the Ward Hills Lodge. Yet the Lodge ceased operation of their Facebook page in May of 2010 which leads me to believe their venture, although well intended, fell to the same fate as when owned by Howard Reese.  Reese wanted an affordable skiing option to the area but probably made it “to affordable” and went broke in so doing. 

In 1960, he sold his land to Camp Martin Johnson which owned a summer camp on nearby Big Bass Lake.  Apparently the camp desired  a winter haven to add to its program format.  Ward Hills would not only allow skiing and sledding but hiking opportunities as well. 

When the camp folded in 1976, the land stood fallow until a group of investors purchased it with the intent to have some sort of social club complete with a bar.  Renovations were made to the area and at the Lodge itself accommodating itself for partes and the like while additional work was done on the hills.  The plan was more in the line for sledding hills over that of skiing due to the prohibitive cost of insurance.

I wonder what will become of this area now?  Time will tell.

The Manistee Drawbridge

This looks like your ordinary everyday Bridge that spans the Manistee River in route to Lake Michigan. Now this fridge may not have a cape but it does some pretty super things. Here’s what it does.

Now to a young person this is pretty cool. However for an adult Bridges like this can test their patience especially if they are in a hurry. It takes a little bit of time to crank that bridge up and then one must wait for the boat to travel completely under the bridge before the bridge can be lower which also takes time. I guess the model of this post is let patience have it’s perfect work. Try to remember these times the child that is within you.

Is Tiny’s Bait Shop up for Sale?

Apparently Tiny’s is up for sale and has been for about 2 years. These kind of stores are closing right and left in this area. Luke’s corner, the K&K, the Sauble Lake Emporium, The Loon Lake roller rink, the Fun Spot, the Big Bass Lake store, and others have closed. The only area store that I know that is still open is the corner store run by Larry Bender. Perhaps the new owner will keep that business up but only time will tell.

Enjoying the Wake of Speedboats

The Hoffman Estates boys club kids loved swimming at our property beach. They would take out the inner tubes and plop themselves on them and just wait until a speedboat passed by to catch the wake of the boat as the waves headed to shore. In that way they could bob up and down as the waves reached them.

In the 1970’s speedboats came by every few minutes usually towing one or two skiers behind them so the kids had a lot of time to enjoy those wakes. Every now and then the kids would also tip over our metal rowboat and use it as a diving platform. The same boat was often sunk near shore to serve as a bathtub on bathing nights which usually followed a long sweaty hike.

The kids loved to watch the speedboats race by on their way around the Haunted Island. Tney would always follow the same prescribed course past our beach and heading south around the island and then back up north. I think the kids enjoyed the inner tubes more than actual swimming due to those passing speedboats.

Halloween Scare

I took five away from the Mishawaka Boys Club on a hike in the Prescott National Forest one evening with my friend Nathan. We encountered this strange tree when it was quite dark. Nathan bumped into it and then looked upward and screamed. Two of the boys screamed when they saw it too and then everyone began laughing. This tree looks very ominous at night almost like it was a spectre. For a moment it even unnerved me. I took the boys back here the next day and took this picture of it. Can you even imagine what it looks like at night? Nathan said that was the most scared he had ever been. So what do you think about this tree? One of the boys said cut it down! Everyone laughed again including Nathan who later told me that was a darn good idea.

Is The Pier Larger Than The Lake?

big pier alice lake

Maybe Ed Hawks can enlighten us as to this particular photograph when he gets the time. And maybe he can let us know a little about Alice Lake as well. For one thing, how did this lake gets its name? Its founder wasn’t known by the last name of Kramden, was it?

This is one large pier? I wonder if Ed knows the property owner? How many cottages are found on this lake? Do speedboats use the lake at all? Is it big enough for water skiing? How about the fishing here?

Best Window Washer Ever

You’ve gotta give Lake Michigan a lot of credit as it really knows how to get windows really clean. Can you imagine if all the houses in the area could get this kind of effort in cleaning their windows? I’ve often wondered how many people visit this lighthouse and get a bath at the same time?

More to the point, how many are washed off that breakwater and right into Lake Michigan? The lighthouse is a good quarter of a mile out into the lake from shore. I’ve seen ferry boats emerge out of thick fog that is so thick you can’t even see the shore. Those boats almost appear like sea monsters breaking through that fog.

I don’t go out to the lighthouse in high seas as I am smarter than that. Even so, even on calmer days, Lake Michigan does have the tendency to still whip up an occassional wave that can soak you on that breakwater. Try it sometime.

The Encounter

I was on a trip with the Marion Boys Club and were on the back side of our property on a hike when we saw this character just across our Creek. Otis Freshwater saw him first and shouted out loudly while pointing across the creek. The characters eyes are glowing red they all shouted. And then in an instant he was gone. Even I saw him but I explained it like what once happened on the Haunted Island. I had taken a picture there of all the boys by the house and when it was developed Keith Hansel’s eyes were bright red as if he was possessed. I told them whoever that was we must have caught his eyes in much the same way giving him a red eye effect. Later that night around the campfire they huddled close together and talked about that mysterious guy. We might have scared him as much as he scared us. To this day I haven’t returned to that exact part of our property at night.

Our Wooded Beach to the Haunted Island


In this photograph, in the upper left side, in red, was our wooded beach area and the island encircled in red was the Haunted Island. To its right is the Big Island and then even to its right is Grandma’s Hat, the tiny island some now call Loon Island.

As you can plainly see, the Haunted Island is largely forested as was our beach camping area. It was always in plain site from our camping area. When we visited that island we always docked on the central western side. The haunted house was located almost in the middle of that island in a small clearing surrounded by large pine trees.

What my Uncle Joe once called “The Pointe” would be on the eastern most area of that red circle on our wooded beach.

In the future more such maps will be presented of our former family farm and the surrounding area.

Watch Out For That Hill!

An ever-growing hazard on the many miles of snowmobile trails in the Manistee National Forest is evident by what you see here.  Yes, it is only a hillside on the trail but one must be continually vigilant as to what might be coming over the top of that hill especially if you yourself are racing up it.  Collisions are ever-increasing due to not being very vigilant as to what you are doing on those trails.

And, it is not only other snowmobiles that you have to be aware of but also cross-country skiers that use these pathways not to mention hikers.  Due to the snowpack being reduced by constant travel by snowmobiles, it is a draw to both cross-country skiers and hikers. 

I always reduce my speed when I am approaching a hillside going either way.  It’s much better to be safe than sorry.  Yet many snowmobilers love speed and they love to fly over these hillsides as many take briefly to the air when they do.  But that is trouble in the making. 

So my advise to snowmobiles everywhere is “Watch out for that hill!”