Camping: New friends and Gorges

Just got back from a great (albeit short) camping weekend with the bestie. We went up to our favorite spot up in Manistee National Forest. It’s a small, hidden away campsite in the woods. It’s a little way back from a small two-track seasonal road. Not 100% isolated but we will only very rarely see another car driving on the road and even then, since the site is a bit off the road, still feels very private. As a side note: both of our phones died and we did not bring any sort of camera or anything so we unfortunately were not able to take any pictures. I’m an awful blogger. But I’m still learning!

We got up there yesterday and while we were just finishing getting our tent set up, we were startled when a nice shiny Land Rover pulled into the site. We paused, waved at the car, thinking that it was someone just pulling in to turn around who may have been looking to camp at the site. The SUV stopped and and the driver got out dressed in full camo hunting garb and holding a can of beer in his hand. He was a very friendly guy named Joe and it turned out that him and his son were up there to hunt since today was opening day for deer hunting season for bows (since we don’t hunt, we had no clue). He chatted with us for a while, him and his family have apparently been coming to the site to camp for over 25 years. So he was telling us about the area and how there used to be a bunch of sites around, but most of them have been closed and the DNR doesn’t allow people to camp on those any more. He also told us about a really cool gorge nearby that he likes to hike to. Eventually he asked if they could park and keep their car in a small clearing just a bit away from the camp site while they are out hunting. We agreed. Who are we to tell him no? Everyone should be able to play in the woods.

Honestly, the thing we were most sad about with Joe being so close by is that we weren’t able to be topless at all. Which is a weird thing we love to do where we take our tops off at the camp site to feel the sunshine and breezes on our bellys and boobs. It’s delightfully freeing and I’m ALL for more people getting comfortable with their bodies and if you are out in the middle of the forest, why not #freetheboobs?

After that, the rest of our day yesterday was just relaxing by the fire. Some kind soul had piled up 3 huge piles of small trees and branches of various size so we were able to easily build and maintain a very happy campfire.

We froze last night. The temps got down into the low 40’s and while we had quite a few blankets and sleeping bags, we did not plan our beds well and wound up just not being able to get warm. Learned a lot though. Like that it would be warmer to zip into sleeping bags instead of unzipping them all out to make a big sharable bed. I know, I know. Using things as they were designed to be used? That’s just crazy enough to work! But, in all fairness, we did use some logic. Using some to make the ground a little softer to sleep on and the body heat of being next to each other with several layers on top to insulate.

Today, after warming up and having a nice breakfast of granola and hot dogs, separately, (don’t judge us) we decided to go for a hike to try to find the gorge that our new friend Joe told us about. We put on the brightest colored shirts we brought (we weren’t planning for hunting season) and set out for adventure. We wandered around for several hours and found several paths but did not have luck in finding the gorge. We eventually got hungry and hot in the warm afternoon sun so we made our way back to camp. We did vow to try again next time we go to try to find that gorge. It’s a mission now, dammit. Still had lots of fun exploring and just being lost in nature.

I’m home now and fully showered. I love being out in the woods so much but running water is truly a wonderful thing. Overall, a delightful weekend. (And don’t worry, we still got one glorious, boob-free minute before leaving the site)



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