Over and Under the Cooley Bridge at Pine River

For those of you who have visited this location I am sure you were impressed if for nothing else than the magnificent view of this bridge over the Pine River. Add to that the natural spring that cascaded down a hill with a walking platform overlooking each step and you had a great day in the making.

A great picnic site was on the other side of the road along with a pathway that led their from the spring. Some great hiking trails were to be found on both sides of the bridge. Plus you might even spot a passing canonist or kayaker on the Pine River. Any other thoughts about this area?

What Did YOU Think of Camp Martin Johnson?

Let us know your memories of Camp Martin Johnson so those memories can live on forever here at Big Bass Lake and Beyond. What were your favorite activities and foods? What was the worst thing about camp if any? Who is your favorite counselor? Who was your favorite friend at Camp and why? How many years were you at camp? Did you take trips away from the camp? Did you go to Winter Camp at Ward Hill ski area? Do you have photographs you would like to share with us? My email address is norrisd090@gmail.com. Keep the memories of Camp alive. I noticed a Facebook page has seemingly closed down. If you want to check out our category Camp Martin Johnson, Four Winds Island, or Martin Johnson Heritage Museum search for your favorite things. Thank you!

Remembering Dublin General Store

Sadly the Dublin General Store burned down last night. On any trip there with three separate boys club groups, we would always stop in at the stores before our Pine River side trip. The guys spent a lot of time selecting their jerky even over candy. Jay told me he had never seen as much jerky in one store. Im certain that the store will rebuild. It’s a staple in that area.

Campout at ULBC

Camp outs at the Union League Boys Club camp we’re a regular feature at the tents. My favorite place was about 15 yards away and on those nights we just used sleeping bags around the campfire. Those were great nights. We actually used to do that on our nights off with a few kids from the main camp. I get it twice just to get away from the Tent City. And with only a few kids it was rather quiet. The big tents held a complete cabin group of about 20 kids. Tent City had 4 tents with three for the kids and one for the counselors. That was one fantastic summer.


This is Labor Day Weekend But with the impending hurricane about to strike Florida, snowbirds May be delaying their trip south for a week or two. When is the last time for swimming in the lake? When does ice start to form and about when is it melting?  Where is the best location to fish From?

Whats your favorite fish? What’s the biggest fish you ever landed in Michigan? And what everyone wants to know is how many bears are in the area?

A Pirate Ship in the Narrows? By Gilly

I knew there would be skeptics and laughter but I saw this vessel for three minutes in my skivy at 2am.two minutes later it was gone. It was moving east to west above the Isle of the Wilds. I had been fishing that late when the light woke me up. I turned about and saw it. Look at Bass Lake. Mary’s ripple. In less than two minutes it was gone and pitch black again. I live in northern Ohio and I shan’t be back to this place anymore. You have spirits there. 

Night of the Hunter’s Moon

After being enveloped within the miles long canopy of trees the darkness yielded to a field upon the Bloody Antlers Trail that was lighted by a bright Hunter’s Moon. The boys of the Hoffman Estates Boys Club had to adjust their eyes from near total blackness to what they now beheld.

Still, the scene remained eerie and quiet as only a hint of a breeze could be felt in that field.  All around that field stood stately trees and behind them that same thick darkness that the boys had just come through.  And each of them knew that soon we would be going back through that same thick darkness on the way back to our camping site at Big Bass Lake.  In fact, I am sure that some of those boys wish we were back there right now.

Each of the trees around that open field seemed to conceal ghostly specters right behind them.  Some of the kids ventured out on their own about that field but the majority stood within a few feet of me with their eyes in total awe and what they were taking in as imagination sure played a role that evening.

One of the older members stood right by me as his eyes were focused on what might be coming out of that darkness at any moment. Would it be a bear?  More than likely it would have been a deer.  But his imagination was going full hilt at the time.

After about an hour being bathed by that Hunter’s Moon, the boys returned more than willingly to the thick darkness permeating the pathway back to our property.  It was amazing that they welcomed that darkness over the Hunter’s Moon light of that field.  But it was all their imaginations running wild as to what might be coming at them out of those ghostly specter shadows of the trees surrounding that field that made the trailway more than inviting.  What a night!

The Northern Lights In Site This Weekend

If you live in this wide encompassing area, you will be able to observe the majestic northern lights this weekend. It will be some show and free. Just go outside and pray for a clear night. Big city lights may also block the lights from view. Prepare to be amazed! 

What Do We Do WIth This Field?

The Mishawaka Boys Club was well planned out by a local benefactor who donated a lot of land behind our club to be used as a summer camp. He gave us a small pool as well. Then across the next road over another man gave us this field. It’s a good three blocks from our main building. It could not be secured very well. I thought we could use it for track and field events. The club and camp area are about three squared blocks and hemmed in by two roads. This is an exception. Ideas?

Daytime Visit to the Haunted Island

Haunted Island

On one of our trips to our property on Big Bass Lake the kids actually requested a daytime trip to the Haunted Island. Of course that was done in the early morning hours since lake traffic was less at that time. As events would have it there was a low fog that morning and the air was brisk so the kids put on wind breakers.

Big Bass Lake was a little choppy that morning and as we arrived at the rickety pier the fog got thicker. Talk about an errie atmosphere. As the boys climbed the short hill they could hardly see one another even though none were more than five feet apart. The fog had gotten almost to pea soup consistency.

When the boys entered the opening where they could make out the haunted house, they couldn’t. They could only make out its form. But as we approached it the house moved out of its errie form and appeared as it always has. The boys took their time exploring the full exterior of the home peering through the glassless windows and for the first time some noticed the stairwell that led to the second floor.

Even with the fog they could see far more than they could at night. Some of the boys glanced at the towering trees that surrounded the house. I asked them how they would like living out here all alone and most said it wouldn’t be bad- Until night fell that is.

Having satisfied their curiosity for the moment, they asked to return to our wooded beach and halfway back across the lake, the fog mysteriously lifted giving way to the sunshine above. As we docked at our beach, even the lake ceased its choppiness and became smooth as silk. All in all, not a bad daytime trip to the Haunted Island as even then it still had its mysterious effects on the boys.

US 31 at US 10 in Ludington

US 10 Ludington

Yes, that is the same US 31 that travels down to Indiana and within four miles of where my friend Dave Norris lives in Indianapolis. He calls that venue Meridian Street. This junction point is just outside the City of Ludington, Michigan. US 10 from Ludington goes into Scottville along with US 31 where the latter moves northward to Manistee, Michigan, and beyond.

US 31 is a divided highway all the way to Indianapolis from Ludington. I travel it whenever I head down to see David. Indiana, though, has very few rest stops which is not the case in Michigan. I don’t know why Indiana lacks in that area.

From Muskegon to Ludington on US 31 the highway is often divided by areas of forest so that one cannot see the other side of the highway at all. It’s a great way to travel!