pictured rocks: an adventure

In August Erika, Lauren (aka pup luv), Taylor, and I journeyed north to camp at pictured rocks. We were expecting a week of sunshine, swimming, and general merriment. Thankfully we got the merriment, but not much sunshine or swimming. An hour into our drive up it started raining. Lacking in sunshine, we made up for it with glorious attempts to sing along to Beyonce, making fun of my mix CD's from high school, and passing an amish buggy an hour from GR. After properly celebrating Erika losing her UP virginity (read: she took a selfie), we stopped at the mystery spot. For those of you who don't know, the Mystery Spot is a popular tourist destination in St. Ignace that was created in the 50's. SPOILER ALERT: there isn't much mystery to it. It's literally a house built on a tilted foundation and they have trick levels to throw off the kiddos and exhausted tourists. We laughed so hard we almost got kicked out of the tour by our 17 year old tour guide who was clearly sick of her summer job.

After our Mystery Spot detour, pasty sampling, gas station rendezvous, and losing $10 on lotto tickets, we made it to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  And we searched for an hour for a campsite. All of the campsites we stopped at were full, save for the handicapped site we found that we would need to leave by 11 the next day. So our idea to set up camp for 3 nights turned into a grand caravan over northern Michigan for the next 4 days. Much to our surprise, it was cold as heck in the UP. We were prepared for LP camping, and ended up wearing 90% of the clothes we brought at night. Erika is a little too tall for her napsack and I'm surprised she didn't get frostbite on her toes. To warm up and calm down, we started a fire and roasted way to many hot dogs.

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The next morning pup luv woke up at the crack of dawn and started us a fire to make cowboy coffee over because I'm a dumbass and forgot the french press at home. Slowly we all rolled out of bed and packed up camp to try and find our next campsite. After an awkward negotiation and incredibly kind camping neighbors, we procured a campsite at 12 Mile Beach campground and left for our big hike. 

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The Chapel Loop hike is 10 miles long, most of it along the cliffs of Lake Superior. One mile into  the trail I ran into my friend Charissa from school and did a classic whoo girl scream in the middle of the forest. (I really don't understand why I have the coolest friends in the universe because I am an embarrassment to humanity 90% of the time). The hike was so peaceful, save for my whoo girl moment. It was an overcast and cool day, but moving around kept us warm but not sweaty. When we got to Mosquito Beach the sun came out and swimsuit-less we decided to jump in Lake Superior.. in our underwear. (Sorry for the pictures mom). Mosquito Beach is unique because it is not a sand beach, it's a sandstone beach. So you walk out on sheets of sedimentary rocks (hoping not to slip!) and it gradually brings the water up to your collar bone then you step further and DROP off into the abyss. It was magical, it was spiritual, and best of all, we had a stranger take a picture of our half naked butts. 

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Our evening was spent making family dinner over the open fire, watching the sunset, Lauren petting all the dogs she could find, and a bottle of whiskey. It was blissful, but freezing. The next morning we woke up cold and sore and decided that this group of trolls needed to head home. Our morning was slow and simple, we made it to the bridge by two. This particular drive was about 90% quieter than our drive up. The week was coming to a close. We arrived in Petoskey in the late afternoon and after setting up our tent, we all took a nap in the sunshine. Our neighbors thought we were freaks. After hearing us lamenting over not bringing an axe they came over and told us we could borrow anything from them if we needed. The plates on their trailer were from Ontario. That night we sat on the ground around our fire pit and all of the surrounding neighbors hung out at their fire pit and torched a pallet. I'm not sure who's cooler, but we had a dance party to M.I.A. while we unpacked the car so it's really a toss up. 

I am so grateful for this group of girls and this week we shared. To be surrounded by the beauty of God's good earth and some amazing human beings was refreshing and restoring. Thank you Lauren and Taylor and Erika for making the week so great and putting up with my mix CD's from 2010.