July 24

We are sitting on the western shore of North Manitou Island a couple hundred feet above Lake Michigan. Our wacky group of 7 hiked some 8-9 mikes to get here over all sorts of terrain and trails. We got here just after 17:00 after spending the afternoon in a fairly leisurely hike. But I am getting ahead of things.

Our group has 7 people: me (Ken) , Randy (Recondo), Bill (Wapitit), Dan (Costello), Steve, Dan, and Matt (Red Squirrel) - the last four are all family (brothers, cousin, and uncle). We all met at the Earlybird restaurant for breakfast and to then go to the ferry for the 10:00 crossing. The ride over was uneventful. The orientation was pretty pat, but I suppose it is a necessary evil when the park undoubtedly receives visitors that know nothing of Leave No Trace camping and hiking. We were on our way by 11:40. The skies were clear and the temperature was in the 70s. Fine hiking conditions.

We strolled down one of the main trails south and decided to visit the cemetery and the Bournique's old place (which looked quite different from my recollection of it from 4 years ago.) After soaking up some of the local history we returned to the main trails and began heading across the island passing Fat Annie's and eventually popping out on a bluff above Lake Michigan.

At this point our trail changed to a more rugged thing that rose and fell over steep sand slopes and dove into brush laden dales. We found ourselves having lunch under the very tall trees (not sure what type, often smooth light bark that makes me think of paper birch). It was a great afternoon and even when we had to push through dense brush or up the slippery sands we made fine time without trying. With this quirky group I think that is saying something.

Our campsite sits on a bluff a couple hundred feet above Lake Michigan but we are out of sight of anyone on the lake in a forest glade. It is a fine site and even though the climb down to the beach is tough it is worth it to enjoy the warmth of the beach and the brisk chill of the lake.

We probably hiked 9 miles or so. This has been a good day.