Hello peeps, me again!  And as you can see I’m back at home (well, at work right now eating my lunch) and raring to go (not!!).  The week away was awful with the sun shining every day, terrible sunsets every night and too much time spent out on the lake, swimming and lounging on the beach, making friends with our fellow campers and eating hideous meals.  Terrible really, absolutely terrible!  I’m so grateful to be back to normal and sitting behind a desk in an air conditioned office, this is the life for me!  None of that silly R & R, holidays are really over-rated don’t you think??

OK, hands up believed that last statement?  Actually, hands up whoever believed any of that bull???  I have a few pictures for you, just one or two as per usual, so sit back and enjoy!

Lake Charlevoix was definitely more challenging than last year, the only time it was really calm was much later in the evening, after the sun had pretty much set; but I have to say it was some of the most exhilerating kayaking I’ve ever done, you really had to keep your wits about you as the swell was about three feet high, coupled with a fairly stiff breeze whipping up white horses and the wake from the pleasure craft, speed boats and jet ski’s zipping around.  I got sideways twice and backwards once and poor Andrew got side swiped by a rather large wave and ended up with 2″ of water in his boat, not to mention drenched from the waist down!  Spray skirts would have been a great idea that day but we went out without them.

When we weren’t in the boats we were either hiking or riding our bikes around, most days we managed to get a couple of things in, usually kayaking in the morning before the wind whipped up the lake too much and then something else in the afternoon that didn’t involve water and getting wet.  This is the view of Lake Charlevoix from the top of Avalanche Peak, a ski hill in the winter and a lovely place to hike or mountain bike in the warmer months.  The State Park where we were camping in located on that point, right of center, and our camping spot was right on the point itself.

The Sumacs were in full flower on the hillside, giving quite a vibrant burst of rusty reds…

…and the very beautiful but highly toxic Red Osiers were also showing their gleaming white berries under the canopy of the towering pines and maples.

If the old wives tale about bountiful berries forewarning of a harsh winter then NW Michigan is going to get hit hard this year!  Although, having said that, they get hit bloody hard every year!  They average 118″ of snow every year!

Meanwhile, back on the lake and in slightly calmer waters, that girly was still out there, messing about in her blue boat…..

….. trying to avoid getting caught up in this!  Discretion was called for that day so a packed lunch was taken into Charlevoix to be eaten on the wonderful terrace over looking the amazing harbour and the expensive yachts and motor cruisers, before wandering around trying not to turn too dark a shade of green, envy is not a pretty sight at all!

It would cost you a pretty penny to live in this town especially on the water, where there are homes currently for sale for upwards of $8 million dollars.  Think I’ll stick with my tent!

There are some amazing homes in this town, the most famous of which are the Mushroom Homes, designed and built by Earl Young starting in 1918.  A lot of other properties in the area have copied his fairytale style of architecture and the result is quite amazing, very Hansel and Gretl.  I honestly expect to knock on the door to find Hobbits living inside!

Meals at camp tend to be very simple affairs…. you know, rack of lamb marinated in red wine, ginger and Michigan dried cherries, seared in a pan and then finished off on the barbecue!  Quick and simple to do and served with a side of fresh corn on the con and green beans!  Andrew likes camp cooking, I think it shows!

After all that goumet food more hiking was called for…. followed by more kayaking to build up the appetite again for what ever culinery delights were on the menu for evening meal.

We headed over to East Jordan one day to kayak the Jordan River….

… although Andrew had such an “I’ve seen it all before attitude”!  It was nice not having to battle the wind and the swell for a change, made us quite laid back.

The mornings were very pretty, not that I got to see them you understand, but like you, I can share them too through the wonders of modern photography.  Apparantly this little flock of Grebes came bobbing by almost every day, and although I didn’t get to see them in the flesh, the Pileated Woodpecker, the Flicker (another woodpecker), the Jays and the two little Kestrals made breakfasts interesting to say the least.  Especially the Pileated Woodpecker as I’ve never seen one before, although sadly it moved too quickly to get a photo of it, but at 50cm tall it’s North Americas largest and most striking woodpecker, almost looks prehistoric, think of a scaled down Terydactal with a red head and you won’t be far off.

Relaxing doesn’t come easy to me but as hard as it was, I made the effort every day, usually with either a book or a magazine to read and a coffee glued to my right hand.

And what about those terrible sunsets?  Would you like a sneek peak?  I’ll do another post about the sunsets as I took quite a few pictures, surprise surprise!  But I’ll leave you with this….

Oh yes, I’m so happy to be back at work……..

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