North Manitou Island And
Sleeping Bear Dunes, September 2002

Day 3

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Sunday morning brought an overcast sky and a cool, light breeze. We got up early this morning because we wanted to have time to check out the old houses and buildings in the village area. After breakfast we repacked the backpacks and hiked back to the village. We filled the water containers one last time at the fountain and left the backpacks down by the dock while we walked up to look at the old, boarded-up stone houses.

The comic incident of the day took place when I was checking out one of the old houses. As I approached the house I startled a squirrel near the back door. The squirrel quickly squeezed through a small hole by the door and went inside the house. I walked up to the window to look inside just as the frantic squirrel was looking for a way out. Obviously it didn't realize there was a piece of glass between itself and the outside world because it jumped at the window just as I put my face next to it to look inside. The squirrel's body slammed into the glass directly in front of my face. It startled me and I jumped back as the squirrel fell to the floor. Just then the squirrel found the opening by the door and shot out like it had been fired from a gun. It came out of the hole right next to my feet and I jumped back again, almost falling down on the ground. The squirrel quickly scurried up a nearby tree and sat on a branch about ten feet up the tree. It sat there and did not move. It was probably just thankful to still be alive.

The boat arrived at the North Manitou dock a short time later and within a few minutes everything had been stowed away and we were on our way back to the mainland. The return trip was much smoother than the trip over to the island two days prior. By the time we arrived at the dock in Leeland, the clouds had disappeared and the sun was shining brightly.

We stopped at a local party store for subs and potato chips and then went looking for the Werner Cemetery in Port Oneida. Ken had seen pictures of the Werner Cemetery in a book written by a local Michigan photographer. Apparently the cemetery was in the middle of the woods near Lake Michigan not far from Leeland. We drove to Port Oneida and found the barn at the end of the street just as the author had indicated in his book. We spent well over an hour walking through the woods looking for the cemetery but were unsuccessful. When we left Port Oneida we decided to ask a National Park Service employee, the next time we saw one, if they were familiar with the location of the cemetery since they seem to know the area quite well.

From Port Oneida we drove down to Empire. Empire Bluffs is about a 15 minute hike out from the parking lot. Once at the top there was a spectacular view of the Manitou Islands, the Sleeping Bear Dunes, South Bar Lake and Lake Michigan 400 feet below. When we left Empire Bluffs we headed to the Platte River State Campground, set up the tent and cooked dinner. Since I knew we were not going to be on the island the entire trip I brought my small Coleman camp stove. It was a luxury to have a nice open campsite with a picnic table and to be able to cook with a camp stove as opposed to the normal, small backpacking stove. After dinner we built a large fire and played a few card games. The temperature was warm enough for lightweight hiking pants and a short sleeve shirt. The sky was crystal clear, pitch black and filled with thousands of stars. When the fire died down a bit we took a drive over to where the Platte River empties into Lake Michigan and watched for people coming off the lake from salmon fishing. We talked to a few fishermen and then headed back to the campsite for the night.

Miles covered today: 2
Total trip miles: 20.5

Day 4

This page last updated on 02-25-2016 @ 11:24 AM