It’s hard to believe our three weeks at Black Lake are almost done and we’ll be heading for Mackinac Island on Monday afternoon. Our time here with Sue and Terry has been a combination of great friends, good food, engaging conversation, coffee by the lake, reading in the hammock, and happy hour on the deck. It’s been awesome getting to know Sue and Terry better- as well as their many lake friends. Here’s a little bit of what we’ve experienced for the last three weeks!
TERRY AND TED’S EXCELLENCE ADVENTURE
“Let’s put the kayaks in at the Red Bridge and paddle down the Upper Black River to Black Lake.” Sue and I don’t remember if it was Terry or Ted who came up with the idea, but – guys being guys – once the idea formed, executing it couldn’t be far behind.
The Red Bridge – precisely in the middle of nowhere . . .
. . . and where Sue and I dropped the two adventurers off in the middle of a cool Michigan morning. Please note: Ted is NOT planning on raiding a bee hive during the trip – he is guarding against the attack of black flies and mosquitoes. Thankfully, neither were problems on this trip, and Ted took the headgear off after only five minutes on the river.
Terry shoves off from the bank . . .
. . . and after a few moments, they disappeared from view around a bend. Sue and I swear it was at this point we heard the sound of dueling banjos in the distance.
But – luckily- they didn’t encounter any backwoodsmen, and three hours after we dropped them at the bridge they arrived back at the cabins – none the worse for wear.
TERRY AND TED’S NOT-SO-EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
The second kayak trip started much the same way as the first – at Happy Hour. This time Hawkeye Conlon and Chingachgook Horton planned to put in further up the river and travel through even rougher wilderness country back to the lake. Were Sue and I worried? Of course not! We knew our husbands wouldn’t dream of doing anything outside the realm of safety!
Once again, the guys secured the kayaks in the back of Terry’s truck, and Sue and I drove them (down roads I’m sure are not recognized by Google Maps) to the “dropping off” point – Kleber Dam.
As they prepared to launch, Sue and I asked the caring and concerned question wives have historically asked whenever their husbands prepare to start out on an adventure: “Is your life insurance paid up, dear?”
As Ted paddled into the middle of the stream (the Upper Black River), we noticed the water was flowing pretty fast . . .
. . . and by the time we had the truck back on the bridge at the top of the dam, Hawkeye and Chingachgook were nowhere to be seen.
The story as it was told to us around the campfire that evening: Ted: “As soon as we rounded the first bend, we encountered rapids. Terry paddled right and got caught on some rocks, so he yelled to me to go left, which I did. Bad news – to the left were more rapids, and I immediately found myself in the water, with my kayak upside down. I lost two bottles of water, and my kayak was full of water. I turned it over and got most of the water drained out before climbing back in.”
Terry: “By that time I had pushed myself off the rocks, and we were paddling downstream again.” Ted: “It was about then I realized what else I had lost when I tipped over – my glasses! Luckily – at the last minute before we left – I had switched out my good pair for my spare pair!”
Terry: ” The majority of the trip was filled with rapids, log jams, curves, and rocky areas we’d have to maneuver around.”
Terry: “When all else failed, we’d be forced to pull up on shore and portage around the obstacle.”
Ted: “We portaged around log jams six or seven times during the next four hours.”
The guys were planning to kayak back to the lake, but after four hours of battling the river, Terry sent a message to Sue which basically read: “We are at the Red Bridge. Come get us.” We gave our brave husbands gold stars for realizing another four hours from the Red Bridge to the cabin may have been a little more than what they’d planned for – after all the unexpected “fun” they’d had the first four hours!
BEAR AND THE TUMMY BUG
On Sunday, out of the clear blue sky, Bear started exhibiting all the symptoms that accompany a stomach bug. I won’t go into details on what that means, but I’m sure you can figure it out. He was sick all afternoon and all night. Monday morning found us at the Indian River Animal Hospital where tests showed he’d picked up a really nasty bacterial infection. The doc said it was just a matter of encountering different bacteria in a different environment than he was used to.
It took about 24 hours for the four meds he was given to clear up the infection. My boy was one sick baby for a while.
Three days later he was back to his old self and off to the groomer for a new summer “do”. This is the shortest I’ve ever had him cut, and at first I was almost in tears when I saw him. It’s growing on me though (no pun intended), and eventually it will grow out. Kinda looks like teddy bear fur!
BLACK LAKE PHOTOS
Besides our friends, two of the things I miss most about our Georgia home are the trees and the ability to plant flowers whenever and wherever I want. Sue has certainly given me my “fix” during these weeks at Black Lake. She loves gardening and has flowers in pots, hanging baskets and window boxes.
Makeshift shoe dryer!
Ruby Sue – always on guard!
Geraniums . . .
. . . geraniums!
Terry – mostly retired, but still doing a little work from the back deck.
Sue – beginning a birdhouse project. She plans to hang brightly-painted birdhouses on what’s left of the trunk of a tree that was cut down this week. This lady NEVER slows down! LOL – I used to be like that!
Speaking of cutting down trees – this guy was using the biggest slingshot I’ve ever seen to hook a rope around a branch at the top of a tall pine . . .
Best place to pretend you’re going to read when you know you’ll be asleep in three minutes! The tether tied to the tree is so when you briefly wake up you can pull the rope and start yourself swinging again. It’s also an aid to getting OUT of the hammock. Love it!
Among the pines . . .
. . . and always close to their beloved lake – the graves of two former Golden Retrievers (Abby Louise and Murphy Louise) and one Irish Setter (Kelly May).
Much used and enjoyed toys – jet ski, kayaks, canoe and floats.
Everything that’s needed for lake living. LOVE the sandy beach!
Ted – collecting golf balls he’s hit into the lake. The water is clear, shallow, and you can easily see the bottom.
“Golf balls? I love golf balls almost as much as tennis balls! Let’s play a game where you hit them – but not IN THE WATER – and I’ll retrieve them!”
“Even better! Hide and seek golf!”
Settling down for a nap in the sun.
A late Saturday afternoon pontoon boat cruise with Sue and Terry and new friends Kathy . . .
. . . and Todd, who have just moved to Florida also! Like we used to do, they stay in Michigan all summer to enjoy the cooler weather in a place that’s been in their family for a couple of generations.
Sunrise view from our cabin.
A huge thank you to Sue and Terry for inviting us to stay in one of the cabins at Whispering Pines these last few weeks. It’s been a perfect time of relaxation, and you’ve made us feel at home from the moment of our arrival. We can’t wait for you to come over and stay with us on the island!
On Monday we’ll do some last minute cleaning and packing, and by late afternoon we should be settled into the condo on Mackinac for the next six weeks. Sure hope you’re planning to come along with us!