The Rock Tripe Plant

IMG_20170921_064524When I was a forest ranger I learned about survival. One never knows when they will be caught up being lost.  Nature’s supermarket provides the answer to survival. The best place to look for food are actually swamps. Have you ever heard of the rock tripe plant? You can largely find them grown on rocks. When you gather them up you must put them in water and boil them. This process must be repeated over and over again. The Rock tripe plant tastes like the white of an egg. It is somewhat starchy and chewy. So next time you’re lost look for some rocks and enjoy supper.

A Wanderers Rainbow

Just look at those autumn reflections on Big Bass Lake!  It’s not hard finding the rainbow in the sky, but can you locate it in the lake? This is in the peak of the fall where color literally springs out at you. And look at the shine on the lake. I’m one that enjoys going about many sections of the lake to get my pictures. After all, variety is the spice of life. 

Wabash Field of Dreams

When I lived in Wabash in the 1960s, Little League Baseball was played at Wabash City Park. Part of it then moved to the Honeywell field behind the pool. Now on the northeast side of Wabash they have the Field of Dreams baseball park which has the Little League playing there. How do you like this aerial shot of the fields? Which area did you play your little league baseball in?

The Little Manistee River- Part Two

A good canonist or one that handles a kayak well should always be aware of the obstacles that exist just below the surface of  the water on the Little Manistee River.  Just as you see here, these two kayakers are avoiding the obstacles in the river by going around them rather than over them.  One good thing about this river is its clarity.  Unlike some murky rivers in other states the Little Manistee River is clear all the way to the bottom making obstacles easy to spot.

So enjoy your excursions on this river but always be vigil to the dangers that are found just below the surface.

This would be heaven on earth for me living so close to the Little Manistee.  Imagine!  All I’d need to do is step out my front door and walk a few feet to start fishing.  Darlene would need to set up a garden and an access road to the property would be the final touch of perfection.  Maybe some day this will become a reality.

Among the many species of fish found in the Little Manistee River, one of the more popular is te Steelhead.  It is mighty tastng eating and a challenge to snare.  What might be your favorite type of fish in this river?

I’ve always loved the coloring of this river. It appears somewhat dirty but nothing could be further from the truth. I know that in the 1970s I could just lean over my canoe and get a cool drink. Is it that clean now? I still believe it is.  If not, just fill your canteen and add a few water purification tablets and you’re good to go!

There are places like this where you can almost step over the Little Manistee River and just examine how green this area is at this time of year.  It almost looks like the Garden of Eden itself!  I’ll wager that there are a few trout in that river that would look mighty good in my fry pan tonight.

I wonder if this area of the river could take a canoe going down it or if it would soon be portage time?

I find it fascinating how the cool green colors correspond to the brownish waters of the Little Manistee. 

This photograph is a perfect example of all the twists and turns of the Little Manistee River. If you will follow each turn in this picture you will see what I mean. Yes, there are straight-aways but there are far more turns in this river than one can count. If you canoe this river, be prepared for them.

The Little Manistee River- Part One

For me and my wife, Darlene, I don’t think there’s any more glorious location in Michigan than the Little Manistee River. While I fish for trout, steelhead, or salmon, depending on the season, my wife photographs and sketches the area. Talk about a marriage made in heaven! At times, when the salmon is running all one needs is a stout club or fishing net as no rod ss required. Salmon run, thick as thieves, through this water and are found in such abundance already my mouth is watering for the catch of the day!

In the fall I enjoy hiking the pathways along the Little Manistee with Darlene. I even do a little hunting on the side for deer at those times. This river snakes its way through the Manistee National Forest from east to west and covers a great many counties along its way. The scenery is always topped just around the next bend from what you are now seeing.

I even enjoy camping alongside this river and some of my favorite areas are known as Beartrack and Driftwood Valley. We get in some good fishing and have a time telling yarns around the campfire at night.

Canoeing this river is my passion however I have also used a kayak on occasion. My friend Jack says he uses a rowboat but since rowers have their back to wha’s coming up, I don’t find that method of travel feasible in the least. The reason why is that the river is very swift and obstacles are upon you before you know it. Thus your vision has to be forward and not backwards.

More coming your way tomorrow!

Treva McCarthy

This is a picture of my mother when she was a student at Libertyvlle High School in Illinois. She was described in her yearbook as one that was very enthusiastic and full of pep and stuff. Her maiden name was McCarthy and not much is known of my mother’s side of the family as they disowned her when she departed from the Roman Catholic faith. One of her family lived with us for a time in both Forest Park, Illinois, and then in Wabash, Indiana. She was Dorothy Lemming and she is buried in Wabash.

My nephew, Bob Marks, is now doing research on the McCarthy family and will be sharing that with me soon and then I will present it here. My older sister is named after my mother. Bob did a fine job in providing us with the Noreika / Norris family tree and will soon have for us the McCarthy / Norris tree.

Adam John (AJ) Noreika/Norris

The following is the record of my father, Adam John Noreika / Norris.

Birth: Dec. 24, 1909
Houghton County
Death: Mar. 6, 1973
Cook County
AJ Norris was the son of Joseph Noreika (1873-1956) and Barbara Letukas (1884-1976). He was born on Christmas Eve, 1909 in Calumet, Michigan. He grew up with three siblings, Barbara Agnes (1916-1992), Elizabeth Eve (1917-2004), and Joseph Martin (1920-2006); two other siblings, John Noreika (1911-1911) and Eva Noreika (1913-1916) proceeded them in death.The last name Noreika was “Americanized” around the time of WW2 to “Norris.” Adam grew up on the 280-acre family farm right on Big Bass Lake in Irons, Michigan. He entered the armed forces as an enlisted man and then as an officer in the Army Air Corps. He was stationed In Hawaii at Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack, though he held a “desk job.”

After his honorary discharge on February 21, 1946 he returned to Chicago and worked in the printing industry. He was president of the Runkle-Thompson-Kovats design firm.

He married Treva Margaret McCarthy on August 29, 1941 and they had four children: Susie, David, Kathy, and Treva (the third generation for the unique first name).

The family lived in Illinois then Wabash, Indiana. AJ died in 1973 in Palatine, Illinois.

Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Specifically: Irons,Michigan; Noreika Family Farm.  His ashes were scattered along with my mother’s in 1992 on the north end of my grandparents property quite near the phone lines.  It was near a little creek that he liked to think by as a young boy.


Otto Bartlett: The Face of the Big Bass Lake Store

Many people probably aren’t aware of this but in the original Big Bass Lake store, the Bartlett’s lived in that facility. Later they moved slightly west into their own cottage. Yet as I was growing up, Otto Bartlett was the focal point of this store with his cheerful countenance and great service. He was such a kindly man with a wonderful smile.

In the early days of my youth, the road in front of the store was sandy. I loved the Bass Lake postcards, the comic book rack, the great bottles of Squirt that tasted so good after either a long walk to the store or a row across the lake, and the wonderful tasty treats he had in his store. Always friendly to kids, Otto made a huge impression on me.

The store was never quite the same again after Otto sold it. But he was a hard act to follow. Any other thoughts on the Otto Bartlett era at the Big Bass Lake Store?

Camp Mishawaka Overpriced

Camp Mishawaka in Grand Rapids Minnesota charges unbelievable rates for 2 weeks. Don’t even ask me what they charge for 8 weeks as you could get a college semester for that. Here are the camps Mishawaka rates. This is the camp for the extremely rich. One boy told me that his parents dumped him off at camp so they can go to Europe for 8 weeks. Don’t get me wrong as it is a good camp but not worth that much money. A rival camp in Wisconsin charges only $100 for two weeks and they have so much more at that camp including a swimming pool. Just be wise as to how much you want to Shell out to go to an overpriced camp.

The Jam Farm

  • Just one mile outside of the city of Ludington is the  Jam Farm . There you can find a wide assortment of  fruit  Jams. They even have spicy Jam. In addition  they have  maple syrup  and flavored butter . The owner  daily makes jam when the fruit is in season. This would be a great place to visit if you’re ever in Michigan. And bring your appetite with you!30ed0fef01c4892ff5e84bb661f3cd98--traverse-city-michigan-the-jam

Entering the Channel

Well, here again am I in my trusty kayak. I so enjoy moving through the channel at a fairly brisk pace. Today is a little cool so I slipped on a windbreaker. Clouds are moving in rapidly so I finished the course and headed right back through it again. Haven’t seen anyone else in the channel today as it seems to be all mine. It’s so peaceful yet somewhat spooky at the same time. 

A Campers First Sunset

A young boys first sunset at Big Bass Lake is always a special event.  For some of the boys, it is their first time away from home on a major trip without their parents.  Others have faced this impending darkness before.  Yet as the shadows begin to heighten around the lake, the kids draw closer toward the campfire.

One of our older boys, Jughead, had never before been in the deep woods and this first night saw more apprehension in him than even any of the younger boys.  He was along more for a helper to me however this first night saw him shaking in his boots as the darkness envealoped our campsite.  Add to that, the Haunted Island was getting darker and darker as night settled upon Big Bass Lake. 

Whitey Meier gulped saying, “You mean that’s the place we’re going at midnight on this trip?”, as he pointd to the foreboding island.  I could almost feel the shiver comin from Jughead.  Our two youngest campers, who you met in a post yesterday, Jay and Tony, giggled as they saw Jug’s apprehension grow.  Two other boys were stationed at our second firepit making smores and they were so engrossed in that, that they never even took notice how dark it was getting.  But, then, that firepit was closer to the swamp and a good thirty yards away from where the rest of us were sitting. 

The two firepits lit up the area quite well.  But just outside that small area of light total blackness permeated the campsite.  Closeness is the word of the moment for most of the boys at that time.  After devouring the smores it was time for their first nights sleep.  Morning would be awaiting them with adventures anew.  Still, that first night’s sunset was never lost on them for the rest of that trip.  It was their first step in understanding the wildnerness that was to be their new home for the next ten days.