2011.08.03 Northwoods bear bait

Written by David Green.

North woods bear bait

It’s been a wild week. No electricity for a day. Evicted for two days during demolition. No internet service because of a severed telephone line (“We’ll have it fixed by Aug. 9,” said the friendly Frontier representative.) Anyway, I never got to a column so here’s one from 20 years ago. I wish I were on the shores of Lake Superior right now.

 

By DAVID GREEN

It was billed as the great camping event of the young decade. Three brothers and their sister would meet on the chilly shores of Lake Superior to experience life in a tent. The package included four days, four nights, eight children, all meals, swimming and hiking, and lots of sand everywhere, particularly in sleeping bags.

Actually, there’s some fine print attached to the mention of my sister. Diane’s idea was to stay in a motel in Grand Marais while two or three of her girls would enjoy the camping experience.

We left as soon as the paper was off to the printer last week, heading north and looking for a campsite when dusk was approaching. We pulled into Harrison to check into the state park and discovered it was conveniently located across the road from the Clare County Fairgrounds. And the fair was in full swing.

We weren’t too disappointed there was no room remaining for us. It was like an RV city in there. Hardly an escape to the woods. Add a demolition derby from across the road and it would have been too much.

There was a problem, however. It was getting dark and we already realized we forgot to pack any flashlights. We also forgot matches, drinking cups, insect repellant and socks for Maddy, but it was the flashlight that had us worried.

We pulled into a state forest campground a few miles farther north, and this is where I talked to a dog. We got the tent set up in the fading light, got into bed, and a dog started barking in the next campsite. Ah yes, another peaceful escape to the woods.

After a few minutes I sat up and yelled over for them to quiet their dog. The dog quit for five seconds. I soon yelled again and the dog quit for five seconds more. A few minutes later we heard the “campers” returning from somewhere. Of course, the dog was crying because it was left all alone in the woods. Things didn’t get much better; the humans were noisier than the dog.

Rosanna woke up complaining of what she thought was a moth bite, but we packed and headed up north. Maddy asked, for the first of a dozen times, “When are we going to be on vacation?”

Tom and Dan arrived at the campground first and secured the only two remaining campsites, which happened to be side-by-side. Diane arrived the next day, left a couple of kids for a night, and eventually spent a night in a tent herself. But that was all it took to sell her; now she wants her own camping gear.

The biggest events of the trip involved watermelons and outhouses. We were given a verbal warning rather than a $50 fine for Camping with Open Watermelons. That’s bear bait, Buster. We always put all the food in the car at night when the ranger came around scaring everyone with bear stories. But if we had read the fine print at the park bulletin board, we would have known it was illegal to leave a watermelon unprotected during the day, as well.

I went to read the fine print and discovered we were about $200 in trouble if the ranger got picky. An extra vehicle in a campsite while a friend was visiting, dumping dishwater, allowing a baby to cry after 10 p.m., etc.

As far as outhouses were concerned, Maddy never did use one. Fear of falling, I suppose. She would announce her need to go, walk into the outhouse, turn around and say, “I don’t have to go. I’ll do it at home.”

We stopped to visit friends in Ludington on the way home and Maddy was delighted to look at their toilet.

“There’s no hole!” she exclaimed.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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