Note: This is a pseudo cycling blog. This post is not about cycling; it is about my recent trip to the U.P. with my family. It’s a long account written—as per usual—more for me than anyone else. The trip will be broken into four parts. The time betweenst each of these posts will be filled with my usual tales of crap rides, short hikes, “needs work” photos and bad writing.
Previous Paradise Chronicles:
Our last day in Paradise started very similarly to the day before: Wifey and I got up and went for an early hike and B slept until our return.
This time our hike was a 6-mile out and back hike that followed the banks of the Tahquamenon River west of town. It was during this hike that I started to feel like I bit off more than my back could chew in the hiking department. 15+ miles over our four days plus touristy walking around is more than my back is used to. Walking is so much better when it’s done in the saddle of a bike!
The hike was nice and provided beautiful views of the river as we stomped the singletrack through the tall trees and fern. This also may have been the first hike we did that we didn’t return with wet shoes!
The thick woods made for a good hike but provided little in the way of landscape photo ops due to said thickness. Most of the shots I took were detailed shots, the others were trail shots and junk along the trail.
At three miles in, we decided to turn around for the return journey. First I needed to sit for a moment to let my back rest a bit. I’ve been rocking a bad back for years now, mostly due to some arthritis in the lower spine, and four days in a row of hiking had me longing for the saddle of my bike and a medieval rack to stretch myself out in.
After the hike, we headed back to clean up, fetch B and head to a diner in town for some lunch. The food was overpriced, moderately OK, possibly microwaved, and only saved by multiple cups of coffee. But we were fed, and that’s really all that matters.
Once home I went down to the dock and small beach to hang out and drink coffee. The lake was the calmest it had been all week, so I climbed down the ladder to the small sandy beach to test the waters. To my surprise, the water was way warmer than expected.
With that knowledge, I returned to the cabin to change into my man-tankini (available at both BashfulBodz™ and Fat Dadz-R-Us™) and convince B-Man to join me for a dip in the lake and a float around on the inner tubes that cabin hosts provided.
We goofed off in the water and floated around for a while, and when Wifey woke from her mid-day nap, she came down to read and ease her worry that we weren’t drowning 2 miles from shore. Then B and I shamed her into joining us in the water. Since she somehow forgot her bathing suit (on a summer trip to a lake), she came in to float around in her street clothes.
My wife of 21+ years, my 14-year old son, and I bobbed around on the lake, splashed, and laughed like three fools under the blue sky and sun for about 45 minutes. It was one the best moments of my life. I don’t know how to explain that, other than to say that it’s an amazing feeling to see the two people in the world you care most about laughing, having fun and letting go of all their work and pre-high school stresses while doing the simplest of activities. If you could bottle that feeling, you would be a very, VERY rich person. If I had to name just one highlight from our vacation, our time in the lake would be the one I treasured the most. True love in its simplest form.
After our time in the lake, we got dried off, showered, and into some dry clothes as we formulated a plan on how to spend our last night in Paradise. It was around this time that Wifey realized that the bra she wore into the lake was the only one she had left that didn’t smell like B.O. and bug spray. She tried drying it with a towel and then a hair dryer, but it was still too wet. So, I took it and laid it on the porch of The World’s Smallest Two Bedroom Cabin™ for the sun to dry it. Since she couldn’t and wouldn’t go free swingin’, we had to wait for the sun to work its magic on her bootz holder.
Once Wifey could leave the house without wet boobs showing through her shirt, we returned to our favorite sandwich place (Fresh Coast Cafe) to pick up some more subs and salads. This would mark our third trip to Fresh Coast, and I don’t regret it a bit. Great sandwiches, fresh toppings, and each time we went we got talking with locals who dropped some knowledge on us about the area.
With bellies full of food we came to the unanimous decision to end our trip to Paradise by returning to the secluded beach we were at a couple of nights earlier.
We drove up the paved road and then onto the sandy dirt roads that would lead us to the beach. In the final miles to the beach, I saw a couple of Sandhill Cranes in a nearby meadow. They were just walking along, loudly squawking. I got out to get a few photos as their calls echoed over the meadow and nearby woods.
With the camera put away, we drove onward to the beach. Once there, Wifey and B went ahead to the beach while I lurked around the nearby ponds looking for moose and taking photos of various birds. Once again there were no moose to be had, but I got some nice shots of what I think is a Northern Parula and some Bohemian Waxwings.
As I walked down that path to the beach, I got a glimpse over the grassy dunes of B fooling around with a large stick while Wifey walked further down the shoreline. Whatever he was doing, he sure was enjoying himself, and I was once again overwhelmed with a feeling of love and the knowledge of how lucky I am to have him in my life. I was also lucky to get a shot of him before he noticed me!
We walked the beach, sat and watched the gulls, talked, and occasionally assisted B with a new piece of artwork that he was creating out of driftwood, lake rock and sand to keep up with some other nearby artwork and cairns.
After some final photos, we headed back to the cabin to pack up and head to bed.
The next morning we checked out of The World’s Smallest Two Bedroom Cabin™ and headed back home.
I didn’t know what to expect from our trip to Paradise. I hadn’t ever heard of it but went in with an open mind to what Wifey had planned. In the end, we had a great time (I even think B had a good time, I just don’t know if his 14-year old self will let him admit it yet!) and I won’t hesitate to return in the future. Hopefully with the Fatterson so I can explore the countless miles of sandy snowmobile trails and ORV roads that surround Paradise.