Wolverine Traveler: Chapter 5
Our adventure through the UP reached its pinnacle on Isle Royale, but we still had a few days left till our flight out of Rockford and we figured it was just enough time for a few quick stops along the way. It seemed wrong to leave the UP without doing a little exploring on an ATV since the entire peninsula is crisscrossed with trails, and I’m sure most folks up there would claim it’s the national pastime, at least when there’s no snow to be on a snowmobile. Luckily enough you can rent one just about anywhere up there, including the Super 8 Motel on the edge of the Hiawatha National Forest in the town of Wetmore which is where we found ourselves for the night.
A solid 8 hours the next day of tearing down the dirt tracks through the trees, making our way out to the shore of Lake Superior left us exhausted and covered in dust. Mid-day on the trails we stopped for lunch on the shore of Lake Superior when I received a message from an old friend, Michigan-born folk-singer Dana Falconberry. Dana was back in Michigan for a family reunion and she insisted that we stop by on our way home for a tour of some of her favorite spots she’d been visiting since she was a kid. Dana was staying up near Sleeping Bear dunes in a town called Leelanau so we veered a little off our route home up through Traverse City to Lake Leelanau, where we met her on the front porch of a little cottage her family rented. As Blaine and I drove towards Dana’s house I put on her latest album, aptly named “Leelanau”, only to realize that the tracks were all named after all places we had just seen: Muskegon, Tahquamenon, Pictured Rocks. Having been listening to the album for months and having no idea what any of the names meant, we had now wound our way through each place she sang about. The track list was a road map to our past nine days.
Dana took us out for a walk on the Shores of Lake Michigan as the sun set, explaining to us the marvel of Petoskey Stones that only exist in this one place in the world and all the little treasures she had gathered as a kid on these shores. We stood on top of the dunes watching locals clamber up and down the slopes to jump in the clear water of the lake. As the sun finally set, the top of dune became packed with locals and toursist hiking up to watch the last glimmer of light over the water. As dusk settled in we dropped off Dana and her folks, promising to visit her in Texas where she lives now should we find ourselves down that way soon. We headed back south one last time towards our flight home, saying goodbye to Michigan for the time being.
Wolverine Traveler 1: The Upper Peninsula
1649 Miles by car
224 miles by float plane
18 miles by motor boat
72 miles on a 4 Wheeler
and 2 Miles by Canoe