Remembering Warmer Days of Summer

As the cold weather envelopes many parts of the country, I find myself reflecting fondly back on the warmer days of summer. Our last spot in the UP comes to mind and it makes me smile warmly. It was truly a special place and one of my favorites.

Portage Bay is located on the Garden Peninsula about an hour east of Escanaba. It is beautiful, serene, and remote. This state forest campground has 23 sites, of which all but 1 have direct beach access.

It is a remote campground and this is a big reason I love it so much. It is far enough in that despite the campsites having beach access it was not full during our two week stay. Except for one weekend, when it was almost full due to several groups of dads and their kids doing an annual camp outing.

Otherwise this place was under attended and it was glorious. We met a wonderful lady named Susan. We found ourselves chatting with her on the beach and then invited her back to our campsite for more drinks and conversation.

I am pretty sure we had a fair amount to drink that evening. The next day things were a bit foggy but worth the fun we had.

This place is a true gem to me. With our very own beach front just a short walk from Ralphie, I was in heaven. Daily I would make the trek out to meditate. Sometimes reading a book, journaling, or working on my computer. Some evenings we went out to sip a cocktail and enjoy the calm and peace of Lake Michigan.

When a beautiful, and sunny day also presented us with calm waters, we knew it was time to get the kayaks out. Finally the opportunity to get our kayaks on one of the Great Lakes.

The water was super clear and very calm. It was truly the perfect time to kayak. With a few hours until sunset we simply sat back and enjoyed our time out on the water. Looking back to shore and marveling at this amazing camping spot. Right on Lake Michigan, few people, and so peaceful. I could have stayed forever.

We were treated to this beautiful sunset over the trees. From shore you miss the sunset as it is setting behind you and the trees. From the water, the sky gave us this dazzling show of different colors. Oranges, reds, pinks, and purples. It looked like a painting and I loved every minute we spent out on the water.

While out on the water we ran into Susan, also out in her kayak, we stopped to chat for a bit. All the while reveling in the beauty of this place.

Often times when there is beach front access, you will find them crammed with people. That is not the case here at Portage Bay. The 8 mile gravel road out to the campground ensures this place is never swarming with people.

Yet down the road there is a state park. We drove through their campground just to see what it looked like. I can tell you that place was jam packed. It was almost full and that was through the week. Each space barely large enough to contain an RV and a fire ring. Not our type of camping. We were grateful for our very spacious site right on Lake Michigan.

Back at camp, we did not have a neighbor we could see during most of our stay. Only during the father and kid camping weekend did we have a neighbor. Once they left, we had our section to ourselves. At one point there were only 3 of us. All of us spaced out and enjoying our slice of heaven.

We mostly spent our days at our campsite. However, we ventured out to explore some off road trails along the coast. That turned out to be our last beautiful and warm day. Our remaining four or five days were raining and colder. I am so glad we chose to play hooky that Friday and go exploring.

We found the Fayette Sand Dunes and the views were spectacular. Perfect spot for lunch with a view.

During our exploration via Jeep we came across an old car buried in the sand. It looked to be a late 60’s, perhaps early 70’s car. Someone’s day did not end well, as it had been there for quite sometime.

While venturing out to another lake access point, we found this random phone booth in the middle of nowhere. Of course the phone did not work but it was interesting to see this with cows in the field right across the road.

I jokingly said, “wow the guy in the car buried on the beach could have used this”.

This was the other remote Lake Michigan access we found during our exploration. Not a sign of other people in sight.

That evening we sat around a nice fire, stargazing and feeling immense gratitude for this life we are living. It is truly a treasure and I cannot imagine not doing this. Taking the leap was worth it.

As our time here drew to a close, I found myself appreciating this spot each and every day. For I know we will return, as this is our second visit here. It is a favorite of mine both in good and even in bad weather. The time I spent each day out on the beach, I said a thank you and found myself smiling.

I was at absolute peace here. There is something so relaxing about waves crashing on shore. Some days they were bigger and more energetic. Others the water was calm and quiet with no waves. On those days the water looked like glass.

On our last day, I walked out to the beach, despite the overcast skies and sprinkling of rain. I looked out across the bay for one last time. Giving my gratitude to this place that brought me such joy during our two week stay.

I loved how the sky and lake blended together in this photo below.

After departing the UP, we had one last camp spot near Lake Michigan. Another revisit to a nice spot we found last year. This one gets props on being one of the most spacious sites.

Although not right on Lake Michigan, it is a short drive to access the lake. Here we said our official goodbyes to Lake Michigan, until next time.

As we returned back to civilization after 3 months of being away, it was a bit of an adjustment. Lucky for us visiting with family made the adjustment much easier. After spending a month with the kids near the city of Indianapolis, it was time to move south.

But our month spent with them was priceless as it always is. We spent a lot of quality time with them and their dogs. Eating dinners together. Joining Amanda for lunches as she works from home. Going on hikes and walks with the dogs. Venturing out to downtown, Speedway and the Broad Ripple area. Playing a new game called Code Names, which I loved. And ending with a fun party at their house complete with a karaoke machine that brought us hours of entertainment.

As you can tell I mostly took photos of the dogs. I wish I had some pictures of the party with karaoke. But alas I was living in the moment with the phone nowhere in sight.

Then the colder weather crept in and we knew it was time to make our exit. Although it was hard to say goodbye to them, for we truly enjoyed our time visiting family and friends.

As we left and headed south, I found myself reflecting on all of the wonderful places we have visited and those still to come.

Shamy is southbound as we speak! Happy Thanksgiving next week to all those who celebrate. We will be somewhere in Arkansas by then.

4 responses to “Remembering Warmer Days of Summer”

  1. Amy, I love your travel blog! Let me know when you expect to be in near us. We look forward to visiting, I will cook a meal for us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Your comment posted as someone. Would love to visit but unsure who this is. Reply with your name & I’ll let you know when we will be in your area.


  2. Love these stories about your travels and recognized your visit to Dawson’s on Main! Deedee and I will be in Speedway soon to do the PRI show and you know we’ll be thinking of you, as I do every day (can’t speak for her – woof!) 🐕 . Miss you guys but it sure looks and sounds like you’re at peace with everything you’re doing. And that makes me really, really happy! Party on and we’ll catch up down the road! Love you three – hi Josie!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anne! Enjoy your time in Indianapolis, hopefully it will not be too cold. We miss you too. Please keep us posted on your travel plans and maybe we will be in the same area around the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

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