Our latest adventure will take four Nomads to the state of Michigan for a 10 day adventure of camping, kayaking and hiking. Surrounded by the world’s largest fresh water lakes and covered in forest, Michigan is an outdoor lover’s playground. These massive bodies of water, called the Great Lakes, are so huge they influence the regional weather. With temperatures tempered by Lake Michigan, the west is laced with wineries rivaling those of California or France. Cold winter winds blowing across relatively steamy Lake Superior dump constant lake effect snows across the north where an annual snowfall of 200+ inches (five meters) is not uncommon. Separated by the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan is seemingly two states in one: a Lower Peninsula, with Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east, has an economy focused on industry and agricultural. And an Upper Peninsula where lumber and mining once ruled but is nowadays geared mainly towards recreation and tourism.
Only a mile or so from the Canadian border, the kayak portion of the trip will venture into Lake Superior State Forest lands along the Potagannissing River on Drummond Island in the Upper Peninsula. Spring migration is in full swing with the remote wilderness drawing thousands of mating waterfowl. While plying these remote waters we also expect to spot osprey, eagles, owls, swans, sandhill cranes, geese and perhaps a great blue heron. Camping will be done within the state forest where the fee is zero but the amenities are none.
Riding back into the Lower Peninsula we’ll make our way to the historic fishing village of Leland where we’ll enjoy a single night of indoor lodging (hot showers, YES). From there, a passenger ferry will whisk us 15 miles atop Lake Michigan to North Manitou Island for a two day backpacking hike. Once back on the mainland, we’ll ride along the west shore down to Holland where millions of tulips will hopefully still be in bloom.
Days are already long with over 14 hours of daylight but the Great Lakes are still quite frigid so weather will be chilly and damp: need to be prepared for the elements. It’s estimated we’ll ride about 1,250 miles over ten days. Eight of nine nights will be in tents and the Nomad budget for this journey is $64 / day. Away we go.