Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Places, New Faces, Same Story…Awesome!

I am one of those annoying people who watched a movie a few years ago, jumped on the bandwagon, and wrote my own Bucket List.  It's a long one, with the top two lines reading "Alaska in the Tin Can",  and "Write A Story".  Further down the list is "Camp One Night in Each of Michigan's State Park Campgrounds".  To that end, I spent last weekend at Port Crescent State Park, at the tip of the thumb in Michigan, along the Great Lakes Bay Region.  I've never before gone east to camp in my great state, so I was apprehensive, mostly about the reported snake population that thrives in the reedy, marshy waters of Lake Huron's shoreline.

The day I left home was my favorite kind of summer day; hot, windy, sunny, but with storms threatening in the evening hours.  The iPod was on shuffle, the tin can was clean and packed, and Rooney was in the back seat looking out the window, with what I swear was a smile on his face.  Newfies are known for their solemn faces, but Rooney looked so happy.  Google Maps re-routed me away from the construction zone on M-25 to take me on a delightful, meandering voyage through farmland and wind turbine fields.  Stretched out in front of me were no less than 100 wind turbines, possibly more.  The majestic towers spun lazily in the breeze, waving to me and sending me along my way.  It was rather awesome.

I came upon a roadside rest stop, and discovered the first site of a natural disaster responded to by the Red Cross.  I then continued along M-25 to catch glimpses of Lake Huron, and storm clouds building in the sky far away over the cold water.  When I pulled into Port Crescent State Park, I knew I still had plenty of time to set up camp before the storms, yet I felt rushed to complete my camp so I could watch the storm approach while sitting on the beach.

The tin can was ready to be inhabited with 20 minutes to spare.  I walked Rooney while we could still stay dry, then settled into my camp chair under the awning and felt the wind shift as electricity filled the air.  I could actually smell the rain coming, and with the first distant rumble of thunder, I felt my surroundings change as the storm came upon me.

It was a lovely storm; not dangerous from where I was sitting, just a brilliant display of light and sound reminding me of how powerless we are to stop nature, and how lucky we are to experience it.

The storms came and went all weekend, but it didn't stop Rooney and me from exploring the park and meeting other campers.  I have always
found that each state park in Michigan attracts a certain "type" of camper, and at Port Crescent I found the best kind of people.  Every camper I met didn't care what the weather was doing, they had come to enjoy the peace of camping along the shoreline of a Great Lake, get outside to walk slowly and take in their surroundings, and share their stories over a fire.  They were a friendly bunch who respected each other's privacy.  And, of course, they all fell in love with Rooney.

Speaking of Rooney, he once again has a brown tail, instead of his usual black and white.  He really must learn not to back up to the bonfire.  While I appreciate torch light, the smell of burnt hair that still lingers in the tin can is unpleasant, at best, and downright sickening when a rainy day turns the odor to wet, burnt hair.  As with the other times, his hair is so thick he never even knew he was on fire until I tackled him to the ground at beat him with a blanket.  I assure you, his expression quickly reverted to the Newfie "sad look".

All in all, Port Crescent gave me exactly what I needed for this trip.  Sunny days, stormy nights, and wonderful campground hosts who were knowledgable about the area and gave good suggestions for things to do.  The campground is quite secluded, miles from the nearest town of Port Austin, and make sure you fill your gas tank in Caseville before you arrive.  Though the black flies were biting, and there are no trails within the campground, and dogs can't go anywhere near the beach without a DNR officer appearing out of nowhere, the campground was clean and my site was on the beach.  The sunsets were stunning, the driftwood was spectacular, and the staff, hosts, and campers were a friendly group, making my stay rather enjoyable.  For a quiet weekend, I would return there to regain peace and perspective in a busy life.  As a side note, I am most pleased to report that I didn't see a single snake.  They must not have known I was coming.