Solo camping for Mr. Crumbly. The last trip of the season, for fishing and elk viewing. I stayed at Clear Lake Nov 3-7, 2020, but there were more days of T-shirt weather then. This trip I was on site 26 which has easy lake access, considerable space and privacy (not to mention the electricity which was appreciated with the early dark and cold nights).
Tried kayak fishing on the impoundment that is Tomahawk Creek Flooding and on Bear Den Lake but was skunked all around.
Tomahawk Creek Flooding
Tomahawk Creek Flooding State Forest Campground
Searching for the elusive elk, I traveled 30 miles of backroad for around two hours (average speed 16mph according to GAIAGps) mostly on two tracks looking for GPS coordinates provided on the DNR’s elk viewing map. Some wonderful fall scenery on a sunny day
Late October and end of camping season for Mrs Crumbly, but Mr C was ready for more as long as the weather held out. The penultimate trip was using site 9 at Onaway State Park – with its electric hookups for heating – as a base to visit more of the Karst topography around Ocqueoc Falls.
Onaway State Park, at a century old, is one of Michigan’s oldest state parks. The relatively few shoreline campground sites are mostly small and somewhat close together so you won’t find big rigs (a + for this Crumbly).
Mr. C brought his kayak along and tried fishing, but the water was shallow near the campground shore and the lake was too cold to venture out deeper where the fish might’ve been (mid 40’s in the morning, though high 60’s by evening.
Sunday 10-23 was sunny and a good day to visit Ocqueoc Falls which was 10 minutes away and seek out the underground river.
Ocqueoc Falls on the Ocqueoc River is the tallest waterfall in the lower peninsula.
The Little Ocqueoc River is a tributary of the Ocqueoc River. The Little Ocqueoc at one time was not visible above ground since it flowed through a underground caves formed in the Karst topography which riddles much of this area. Some of the overlying limestone roof of the caves has collapsed leaving part of the river flowing above ground and part below. It emerges in one place accessible by a two-track on the map below
( The Little Ocqueoc goes underground upstream of the point in the video above. View a video of it disappearing here. )
Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground is across Ocqueoc Falls Road from the falls. Some of the sites provide access to the river.
Unable to get a site in the loop near the boat launch, we had sight unseen reserved site 25 which was turned out to be too cramped. So we changed to site 21 which we could get only part of our planned stay. Then we would move to site 92 for the last couple days.
Alas, the rain, gale force winds and temps in the 50’s followed us here from Munising Tourist Park for our first 2 days.
By September 29 the wind died, the sun came out and the temperature climbed to 68°. Mrs. Crumbly, ever adventurous, tried a swim in Muskallonge Lake which turned out to be 50°. And a short swim it was. Banjo didn’t mid the colder water as much.
Panning for gold on the shore of Lake Superior – who knew? Patches of darker sand in the banks of the beach at Muskallonge are gold-bearing. Sluicing causes the heavier gold particles to form concentrates of gold and the ighter particles of black sand. The concentrate’s then panned to separate the gold from the light black sand. (Check the current price per ounce of gold here.)
If you’re not a gold bug, you can just enjoy the surroundings
A new business open close to the park. On entering the trailer Mrs Crumbly was surprised to recognize the proprietor, Ellen Airgood – an author with several novels to her credit. She and her husband Rick used to own the West Bay Diner in Grand Marais which the Crumblies frequently stopped at for lunch or fresh baked muffins. They sold the diner and moved to Deer Park near Muskallonge and still sell delicious bakery.
It’s near impossible to online reserve a favorite – site 100 – here in mid-summer. The best we’ve been able to do for the past two years is mid-September
Day by Day
Tuesday, September 20 We arrived yesterday from Soldier Lake around 2pm with sun and 70°. Today’s high in mid 70’s provided a couple swims in Lake Superior. At 6 feet deep in the bay the water was a comfortable 65°.
Wednesday, September 21 Big wind day and cold. Marquette news reported gusts to 45mph in the Keweenaw and 37mph at Munising. We drove to the east end of Miner’s Beach to watch the rollers come in. Bright sun graced us until 4pm when clouds and rain driven by gale force winds set in. The tenters to our right lasted until 11pm when they fled to a motel. (Click an image for video)
Thursday, September 22 Sunny and still windy. 50° degree high day. We went to wave watch at the tourist park opposite Scott Falls on Au Train Bay and Sand Point on Munising Bay. (Click an image to enlarge.)
And there was a splendid sunset this evening.
Friday, September 23 Wind subsided to a light breeze today. High temp was 68°. Mrs Crumbly swam; Mr Crumbly merely observed.
Saturday, September 24 Moderate wind. Overcast. High 52°
Sunday, September 25 High 60°. Wind picking up by evening with drizzle. Packing up in anticipation of rain tomorrow when we leave for Muskallonge State Park. Mid-grade gas at $4.50 in Munising
Monday, September 26 Temperature dropping. Rain and gale force winds from the northwest. Some tenters just abandoned their gear
( Not as bad this year as it was in late August 2018 when were were at the Tourist Park )
On the way to Munising Tourist Park and Muskallonge State Park, we revisited a favorite site at Soldier Lake. The weather wasn’t very cooperative. Only one sunny day with high of 80°. The rest were highs of 50°-60° and overcast or all day rainy.
But there was some fall color even on the rainy days
We had a favorite site, with enough sun one day to make the solar panel happy; on other days we had to use the generator to supplement.
This August we stopped again at Colwell Lake en route to Bay Furnace near Munising. Mrs. C reserved site 24 giving us sun for the solar panel as well as lake access. The trail around the lake falls between the campsite and the water.
Colwell Lake National Forest Campground and Bay Furnace National Forest Campground, like many national forests campgrounds, has the wonderful advantage for seniors with a Golden Age Passport – the 50% site discount.
This was the maiden voyage for our 2019 Nash 17K, new for us this year. We had a buyer for our Scamp 19 within a couple days of advertising it via our custom WordPress site. A couple from South Carolina drove to Petoskey to pick it up in late July.
It was a sad goodbye, but we sold because we wanted a larger trailer with no interior stairs and a large back window (the 22 foot Nash 17K is one of very few trailers of its size with a big rear window). Sale of our Scamp was triggered by someone selling their 17K near us in Kalkaska. Since Nashes are manufactured on the west coast, it’s rare for them to turn up in the east. We bought the Nash on August 3, bought a WDH, readied the Nash for a new 200W portable solar panel and were ready to camp by the 10th.
We had one day of full sun, then the cold rain set in. But some hardy tubers were not to be deterred.