My dad has been going to the upper peninsula, specifically Ontonagon, for more than 30 years. That's before both my brother and I were born. That's long enough for the locals there call him an honorary Yooper - a far cry from us 'apple knockers' (folks from below the bridge). Most of his trips were, and still are, for hunting. But once my brother and I were old enough, probably 3 and 5 years old, we've taken family vacations there together.
Camp Whiskey Hollow sits on the Ontonagon River in the midst of the porcupine mountains. It's rustic, no running water or electricity. However, we do have gas lanterns and a sauna - which rocks. It's home away from home... just a little muddier.
When we're there we all fall into familiar patterns: Dad makes coffee in the morning using an antique percolator pyrex pot (he's always the first awake in the morning); we make fires in the sauna at night even if no one takes a sauna because that means warm water for a shower in the morning; if you don't help make dinner, you do the dishes; and one pattern you just have to deal with is the repeat telling of the same stories we've heard a million times before. Because we've been going there every year for most of our lives, there's a lot of, "remember when..." and instead of interrupt you just listen because really, we have no where to be and nothing else to do but hear it again.
This year we brought Natalie for the first time. My parents joke that this actually wasn't her first time to the cabin, poking fun at the idea we may have conceived during the trip last year. I think it's awkward as hell they talk about us conceiving and am convinced it's going to turn into one of those repeat stories we'll have to hear about for years to come. Poor Natalie.
Any of my worries about bringing a baby camping were whisked away the moment Natalie took her first ride on the four wheeler. You'd think a small baby would be startled by a loud engine and bumpy ride, but the kid loved it. She was a champ and yes, she spent the large majority of her time strapped in the Baby Bjorn (see pics for reference). Best $5 I've ever spent (garage sales are the bomb.com).
This year Jeff and I continued helping my Dad build the new camp just down stream from the old one. This camp will not be, shall we say, as 'muddy' as the old camp. Compared to most... it's a palace and we're very excited for the bunks to officially go in next summer.
We also took our annual visit to Stubbs Bar (yup, Natalie came too... we had a baby... in a bar). We dined at Henry's for the all you can eat buffet and we all made it out without getting the 'Henry-Hurt' (or tummy ache) and we hosted our local friends at the new camp for the traditional low-country boil. We also took a day and kayaked the Ontonagon River ending with a quick soak at our favorite watering hole affectionately named Jacuzzi Rocks. We had a great time and look forward to next year.
Quick side note: we took your advice and listened to the Serial podcast (all 12 episodes). It kept us completely entertained but we're pissed the mystery isn't solved! Jeff did some googling when we got home and found out that the saga may not be over just yet. Eager to find out how the story will continue to play out.