After saying goodbye to the family at St Ignace, we set out to continue our journey through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, this time staying to the southern edge along Lake Michigan. We traveled for about 1.5 hours along US 2 with many sights of Lake Michigan to the south. Thus we saw three of the Great Lakes this summer as we circumnavigated the peninsula. Since it was already the middle of August, we decided to pick up the pace so we would have more time to explore the western part of Wisconsin as we began our journey south for the winter. Thus our stay in Manistique was going to be only for 3 nights on the first part of two split weeks. Our next location is about 6 miles north of Manistique on the shores of Indian Lake, which is the fourth largest lake in the U.P. Appropriately named, the Indian Lake Travel Resort, is a relatively small campground with less than 100 sites tightly packed around a single loop. Most of the sites along the outside of the loop had seasonal campers leaving less than half the sites for transient campers on the interior of the loop. In addition, there were 4 pull through sites lined up at the office as you entered the campgrounds and we got one of these spots. It made it very easy to get in and out of, however, it eliminated any view of the lake. We were also parked right next to the their propane filling tank which made me very nervous. All of the sites were very small and tightly packed together with barely enough room for a picnic table. As we were there for only three nights it was adequate even if it would not make my list of favorite campgrounds.
Since we had spent the last week with the family using our linens and towels for their beds, we had a LOT of laundry to do!! Thus Kal spent a major part of Tuesday doing laundry while I got the RV cleaned up and working on catching up with this blog, as I was now two weeks behind.
Now that we were all caught up, we went to explore a state park we had been hearing about on the TV for the past month: Palms Book State Park. This is the home of Kitch-iti-kipi, the largest underground spring in the U.P. The spring is 400 feet across and 40 feet deep with an impressive outflow of over 10,000 gallons per minute. The water quickly empties into Indian Lake so fish have free access to the pool and there are a large number of very large trout in the pool. The water is absolutely clear, even if it has a slight sulpher smell from the underground minerals it picks up, and the fish can be easily seen swimming around in the pool. There is a history of rafts and boats for tourists since the late 1800s and today they have a self-propelled raft with a glass bottom. We crowded onto the raft with the surprising number of people at the park on a Wednesday morning and the kids kept themselves busy propelling the raft. This meant they turned a large wheel attached to a cable that spanned the pool. As the raft slowly made its way across the pool you can either look out over the edge of the raft or through the enclosed glass bottom in the center. We got a lot of good pictures of the trout in the pool and even a short video of the rippling sands on the bottom as the water gushed in. It was really cool, especially for being less than 10 miles from the campground.
While the spring was really neat, it takes less than an hour to explore everything this park has to offer. Therefore, we went in search of a hiking trail in the Indian Lake Stat Park on the south shore of the lake. In a very nice picnic area with shelters and bathrooms constructed by the CCC and WPA in the 1930s, they have a one mile loop trail. The trail runs along the shore of the lake and then up into the forests between the lake and highway. I was surprised to see the very young condition of the forest, which was mostly scrub and small trees, after knowing the CCC and WPA established the state park. Part of this was due to the swampy nature of most of the trail, but still I was disappointed not seeing a more mature forest. In addition, the trail is heavily used by mountain bikers, which meant you had to watch your step since it was muddy and torn up for most of the mile. They have attempted to fix some of the worst areas by putting down small logs across the trail, but this made it even more treacherous to walk on. In any case, we had a quick hike in the woods before heading back to the campsite for lunch.