Camping the Old Fashioned Way

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Colwell Lake Campground
Hiawatha National Forest

Yesterday, Monday, we left The Farm about an hour later than my 9:00am target. But between light traffic and few road construction delays we made good time and arrived in Manistique about 4:30pm. We lost an hour to the time zone change and stopped for a quick lunch just north of Green Bay so actual driving time was just a hair over 6 hours for the nearly 300 mile jaunt.

The route took us North on US151 to Wis26 to US41 which we took all the way to Menominee MI. There, we picked up M35 which follows the Lake Michigan shoreline to Escanaba. That stretch, from Menominee to Escanaba, is about 50 miles and wins the prize as the most pleasant part of the drive today. Bright sunny weather, great road, a rare tailwind, and almost no traffic, combined with the low authoritative rumble of the Cummins diesel, the steady whine of the tires, and the wonderful views of the Lake and shoreline -- one of the more enjoyable and sleep-inducing drives in recent memory. At Escanaba we picked up US2 to Manistique where we stopped to fill our freshwater tank and then took M94 north to the camp.

Colwell Lake Campground is in the Hiawatha National Forest which stretches from north to south all the way from Lake Superior to Lake Michigan. The campground is a small place with about 30 campsites, about half of which are right on the lake. The campsites are large clearings in the forest that remind us of what camping used to be all about -- getting away from the rat-race in a natural and secluded place. However, like other National campgrounds we've been in recently, there's apparently no money for trimming trees. We had more trouble getting to our site than we did two years ago -- having to chop and hack our way through low hanging branches and side-growth but eventually got in. While the campsites are large enough for big rigs, the lack of hook-ups and the primitive setting seems to deter most. We love it however.

The remote-ness of this place does have a cost... no air-card internet and very limited cell phone access. If you go out on the fishing pier, as far as you can, and hold a metal coat hanger in one hand, your phone in the other, and dip one foot into the lake -- only then do you have a chance at completing a call. But we deal all this by driving into Munising every other day or so, to a wonderful internet cafe on Main Street, and do our internet things and make calls while enjoying coffee, an ice cream, or maybe a bakery item. A comfortable and relaxed way to deal with very minor problem.

We'll be here for 6 nights and will leave on Sunday for the EAA Airventure convention in Oshkosh.



Susan said…
Hope we get to see some pictures of this wonderfully relaxing sounding campground!
Thom Hoch said…
Susan, we're way behind on pictures but will have some from here on our online photo gallery soon. Thanks for checking in.

Slightly Better than Most