Up North, in Michigan's Wild Kingdom

Up North, in Michigan's Wild Kingdom
Lake Michigan sunset

“Mom!” Yells 11 year old Zoe, all excited.

“What?” I ask.

“A brown ferret or weasel run across our beach!” she squeals.

Cool, I think at first, then I worry that it may be someone’s pet that’s escaped or lost. Seeing as the day before, Zoe was running to the dock and heard panting next to her. She looked down to see a corgi running alongside her, but then he ran into the woods. (At least the kids know not to go into the woods due to the poison ivy.)

Later, the dog came back, and we tried to check its collar. Before I could even do so, a boat pulled near and asked if that was our dog. Nope. We walked the dog out to the boat, where the captain took him and got on his phone telling someone, “Yeah. I got him.” before thanking us and motoring away.

It was our first pet rescue at sea.

The next day, Scott & I were lounging in the chairs lakeside while the kids swam when four or the cutest little varmints with the silkiest brown fur come hopping and slinking across our beach right in front of us. We holler for the kids and we watch as they scamper along the coast and rocks until they disappear.

To quote Keri: To the Google Machine! where I learned they are either juvenile “Fishers”, martens or minks. We chose minks, because of the fur. They were so cute.

The next day, while Sam & I were playing in the sand, I looked up to see this huge bald eagle flying right over the treetops over our heads. Neither of us could believe how close he was, and we watched in awe as he flew up the coast and out of sight.

But wait, there’s more. A leech attached itself to the top of Sam’s foot as we were getting into the canoe. We got to him right away, but I had to scrape it off, as it had attached. At least it wasn’t on long enough to draw blood. Phew.

We saw 5 young wild turkeys and one big one, a giant moth, and I saved a toad from the bike path. By way of thanks, I was peed and pooped on. Mmmm toad poop.

Our final animal adventure resulted in swimmer’s itch. The kids came inside and were figuratively crawling out of their skins. The itched. Squirmed. Screamed. Cried. Scott was sent to retrieve benedryl at the store 15 minutes away… 5 minutes after dosing them, they were fine. The next day, Sam was covered in red ‘bites’. Zoe was covered in a rash soon after.

Sailing was hit or miss, but mostly miss this year, to Scott’s chagrin. We picked and ate 15 pounds of cherries. I wish I was kidding. 15 pounds. We had a few days of heat, but the rest was chilly at night while pleasant during the day, and the rains that soaked Illinois and Wisconsin stayed south of us, at least until the last day. It was a harsh goodbye to the lake.

There were sunsets over Lake Michigan (see photo from Elk Rapids) and full moon rises over Elk Lake and Charlevoix. We took lake baths several days in a row, forgetting to shower, or deciding against one. In fact, it had been a few days and I looked in the mirror and was slightly aghast. Not only was my hair trending towards dreadlocks, but there was a dead mayfly in my hair.

I plucked it out, shuddered, and decided it was time to bathe. Now, that’s a vacation (and class).

Ay, Mama!



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