I've lived in West Michigan my entire life. I was lucky enough to have a dad who worked with my grandpa in the family business of selling travel trailers. I have done my fair share of camping. Everything from Jellystone Park, which is like a resort and not really camping at all, to "roughing it" as we used to call it, up north by the Mackinac Bridge where we were lucky to find an outhouse. My grandpa has a cabin north of Baldwin on Wolf Lake. Most of my summer weekends when I was a kid were spent either at the trailer on Big Star Lake (also in Baldwin) spending days at the cabin, or spending the whole weekend at the cabin. I've never been scared up there.
My brothers wanted to go hunting for morel mushrooms this weekend - this is a Michigan tradition. They grow at my house in Whitehall, under the neighbors Elm trees. We've done a lot of hunting for morels by the cabin, but we decided to try the Ludington area this time. My family has always loved hiking and we would often take day trips to Ludington State Park to hike the trails up there. After having a picnic up there at Lost Lake (at the request of Kevin), we took off for the trails.
2 hours of morel hunting / hiking later, we decided that we needed a different area. Maybe it was too sandy where we were looking, not enough Elm and Ash trees - who knows. But, we were not finding anything.
Out of the State Park we went and we jumped onto M-10. That highway takes you east all the way to Baldwin. It's about a half an hours drive from Ludington to the cabin. We got in, parked at the cabin and took off for the woods. Too dry and too many pines. We searched for a couple of hours, got eaten alive by mosquitoes (they were SO BAD there!!!), and gave up. Decided to head into Baldwin for a pit stop at Jones Ice Cream - yet another family tradition.
We leave the cabin and jump onto M-37, which is the "main drag" and will take us into town. We're heading south - my brother Kevin is driving - when we saw something we had NEVER seen before.
A Black Bear. Crossing the road. Right in front of the car. Oh, and it came out of the SAME woods we had JUST been in!!! In the back of my mind, I knew that there were bears up there. But, I've never been worried of them in the woods. And I've never really seen any sign of them either. Until today.
So, we struck out when it came to morels, but we saw a bear. That made up for a wasted day of morel hunting, LOL. For the rest of the night, the three of us just kept looking at each other saying "Wow. We saw a Black Bear. At the cabin!".
I've heard rumors of Mountain Lions in Baldwin too - I'm going to have to do a little looking around. That makes me more nervous than bears.
The joys of living in Michigan!!!