I woke up feeling great. I had gotten over that wall I hit and was feeling the vibrational pull of the Pilgrim’s journey. I was rested and happy and ready to start my day. It was raining. In fact, it was storming just a little bit. It rained most of the night; what I remember, anyway. Fuck it, I am here and I will make the most of it no matter the weather. I have gear for this, anyway. First stop, the visitors center. I skipped it my first day, more worried about getting camp situated than how I would spend my time. Thankfully, it opens early. I spent some time reading and looking around, learning about the area and who and what lives here, learning the history. You know, that mini-expert thing coming into play. Again, not really an expert, just way more informed than I was before I went in.
Next stop, the ranger desk to ask about breakfast. Given my off-day yesterday, I wanted a large and hot and satisfying meal. I got a good recommendation while I also got some free Wifi. I checked the weather and it was supposed to be crappy for a while yet. Off to eat I went.
Breakfast was a score! It stormed during the entirety of my drive, lightening, thunder, pounding rain as I went. The cafe was small but had a full menu. I set up shop and ordered the cinnamon swirl french toast, scrambled eggs and bacon. Ice tea with lemon, too, please. I got free wifi and got some emails downloaded. Once the food came, all bets were off and I inhaled this wonderful offering. Yum!!
I hung out a bit longer to do some research on my next camp site and get a general sense of what I was going to do for my time here in the UP. I reserved my next stay. This one on the shores of Lake Michigan. One, for the change of water, two for the developed site at a decent price, and three for free showers. Not to point fingers, but somebody is starting to smell.
As I was packing up to leave, I hit the ladies room. On the way back I saw a table full of folks about my age and noticed a T-shirt from Washington. At first I just went by, then I backed up and asked about the shirt. I was in Pilgrim mode, after all, and that means not passing up those little gifts. Ends up they are from Idaho and are traveling nearly the same route as me. In fact, they stayed at the same camp in North Dakota and will be heading to Ohio. They travel by car and have a homemade trailer they pull. It is very cute and they showed me photos. Of course, and after I told my story, I gave them my card. Score new travel friends!
I left breakfast feeling great and feeling the vibration of the journey and feeling on my game. I had decided to drive to the end of this park and work my way back. The rangers suggested that, due to the rain, the waterfalls would be pretty good and at the end of the drive is where those fall were. That sounded like the perfect place to start. I mean, fuck it, I can either sit around and mope due to the weather, or I can make the most of what I have been given. It continued to rain as I drove through the most gorgeous colors of trees I have seen in decades. The reds and yellows and greens and oranges were amazing. I could only guess how wonderful it all looked on a sunny day. To the waterfalls I went.
I got geared up for the rain that was still falling and made my way to the trail. This was a nice trail, mostly boardwalk due to the hillside of mud and rocks. There were parts that ended up being a bit of a climb, but the tree roots make wonderful steps and I had a ball scrambling up and down the hills. I left my pack behind, as it is not water proof and I was not going to be gone for hours and there were plenty of people around. I went to the end of the trail and was starting to head back. Then it happened. It came out of nowhere and was not completely expected.
At around 1:00 not only did the rain stop but the clouds parted and the most glorious sunshine threw herself all over this wet and wonderful park. Blue skies were visible and the rain drops left behind shone like diamonds. It was truly amazing to take the same trail back, now with the raging sun to light up the colors and features and shine oh so bright on nature’s wonders. I made all the requisite sightseeing stops on my way back to camp, all the while taking advantage of the shinning sun. It was not until I was back at the visitor center, having completed my tour of the park and anxious for some water and electricity, that the skies once again clouded over. Rain was again in the forecast as an inevitable part of my evening.
I am currently sitting at camp writing this from the privacy of my tent. I heard a woodpecker pecking and a wolf cry. I heard something in the woods and, given the sounds of the trees, a porcupine is my guess. I heard an owl way off in the distance and I hear the wind. It has not rained yet, but I am sure it shall. I would like to pack up a completely dry tent tomorrow, but will adjust as needed. I have my reservation and am excited to explore the second of my Great Lakes tour.
I had an awesome day today. Rain or shine, the sights and sounds would have still been amazing. But, as if on cue, the clouds parted and I was privy to the Northern Michigan colors of fall as they were lit up by the blazing sun. Oh, and the temperature rose about 20 degrees. It actually was over 70 for a moment. It is still well above 50 right now. Cool, not cold.
It could have rained all day and I would have enjoyed myself. This was not a day anyone could steal from me. I was on my game, in the zone, and all over the vibrations of my pilgrimage. The sun did come out and the fall colors overwhelmed me and Lake Superior lit up my heart. I had great hikes and walks and explorations. I got wet and muddy and had a wonderful breakfast. I met new friends and chatted with strangers along the way. I got my electronics charged and downloaded some emails. I filled my water jugs and I dried out and I will leave here tomorrow knowing that I had a ball in the Porcupines. I hit a wall but I had a ball. haha
Cheers to a good day. Cheers to mud and rocks and leaves and water falls. Cheers to Mother Nature in all her splendor.