Altogether, our trip this year was a challenging one. With two young kids, an 8 hour car ride and a final destination that consists of a remote cabin in the middle of the Porcupine Mountains… the challenge should have been no surprise.
Our annual trip to Camp Whisky Hollow, located just outside of Ontonagon, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, has always been a special part of my summer. We’ve been ‘vacationing’ there since I was a kid and when Jeff and I started dating, he joined too. And now with kids in the picture, our tradition continues to evolve. This year we were challenged with a number of factors: I broke my toe the day before we left grounding me a bit more than normal, Thomas cut his first two teeth during the trip (poor guy) and despite our best efforts, we just can’t do everything we used to when our group now includes a newborn and a 2-year-old.
Natalie had the time of her life soaking up every bit of attention given to her by Grandma, Uncle Jason and Aunt Rachel. She took four-wheeler rides, kayaked with Jeff down the Ontonagon River and ate her body weight in peanut butter filled pretzels. Both her and Thomas took baths in the newly completed 'shower room' at camp which works off a rain water collection system. And big news... we've got hot water! which runs off a propane heater. It's absolutely glorious.
My dad continues to tinker with the new camp that he started with my brother and the many helping hands of friends just over 3 years ago now. The cabin is Dad's pride and joy and we're all convinced he'll never stop working on it. My Mom continues to furnish it with an ever growing collection of cast iron cookware and ornamental hooks. She's a big fan of antiquing and the cabin is another space for her to shop for. And you won't find us complaining... with 4 private bedrooms plus a loft area for sleeping, a shower room, a sauna (my favorite room), a wrap-around-porch and a kitchen/dining room that rivals most, we feel right at home.
Throughout the week the group went kayaking and fishing on the Ontonagon River that runs directly in front of the camp. We rode four-wheelers and played around with the Argo, a land and sea 6-wheeled ATV. We spent a day at the beach on Lake Superior with friends (the water was freezing!) and made a few day trips into civilization stopping for drinks at Stubbs Bar in downtown Ontonagon and Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton. We did have one cabin-fever day when the weather was crummy that was spent working on the cabin, slow cooking a beef roast and playing cards which wasn't a bad way to spend a rainy day.
Food is a big part of the week and something my Dad puts a lot of thought into. There are a few major food groups including meat, potatoes and a whole lot of butter. We were treated with eggs benedict, cinnamon french toast, SO much bacon, homemade french onion soup and the mother of all meals: the low country seafood boil. Photos provided... beware of drooling on your screen.
It was a good break from the normal pace of life and a forced time out from our constant connection to the internet. Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma for providing us an escape like no other. Don't forget to get yourself some nature before summer is over!