Michigan is actually a beautiful state. I do have to get past the old towns and cities, where there is deterioration and of course, along with it renewal. For me, much of them lack charm.
Heading upstate to Leelanua Peninsula, near Travis City, has its striking moments along with economic blight, which refect ups and downs over the years.There are rolling hills and forests, but there are enclaves of poverty here and there amongst it. Some rundown old homes have rebel flags out in front. Since Michigan was never a part of the Confederacy, we know what that cry is about. Then, in contrast, just down the road, there is more green and a pleasant prosperous farm, fields loaded with cherry trees. Some of the pieces are inviting and some angry.
We have made a point to head through a public forest, because there is potential for walks, camping and naturist solitude. These protected places of natural beauty are however, being hit with a blight that is killing square miles of trees. It looks as if it will destroy the whole ecosystem. We are saddened, but further north, the forest’s plague fades. I suppose that it is still colder there longer, too cold for the infestation.
The road feels long and pretty darn straight. By afternoon, we’re ready for food and a break from something besides a roadway. We’re not sure what to eat. Sometimes it feels like the only choices are fast-food, Mexican, or pizza, after several weeks out here. We do have a picnic lunch choice to eat.
A sign for a road stop pops up. We’ll take it.
As we arrive, there is a truck just leaving an asphalt parking lot with lovely mature trees shading it. Green luscious grass leads to a kiosk. This road stop is dedicated to a deceased county official. It is a kind of a memorial. It is well tended with a sense that it is special. We find brown wooden stairs that promise a view of a lake on the Manistee River.
It is soon realized that this will be pleasant and a nude break. We’ll have to carry coverings during our exploration, just in case. Kilt and sundress fold up into hands.
The designated route runs down a steep hillside, away from sight of the road.
The staircase is extensive. Every so often, a platform brings us some rest and another view. There are too many stairs for the clop clop clop of flipflop shoes. I slip mine off to find that this hard Michigan wood is wonderful with barefeet. I add rubber shoes to the clutch of cloth and car keys in my hand.
This will certainly be our needed exercise for today. Long drives have a toll to pay.
DF reminds me that each step down will eventually be a step back up. I’m thinking that this awareness discourages quite a few less energetic travelers.
I’m also thinking that others may have difficulty seeing us. We have that thick foliage, but could see them coming down from above. They will be making sounds and watching their steps. Below, having finished the steepness and barefoot, we will not. We are watching out for them; they are looking for views, not us.
Fully nude, we continue down. The breeze nibbles at a hotter humid day, then it calms to just right. There is refreshment. The moment is a pleasure in a nude body.
We get to the bottom and make our way along a railed promenade.
A pair of benches feels good to rest and soak in the view and sunlight. We find use for our clothing. It is an anti-splinter repellent to sit on.
We find one more set of stairs that disappear into a sandy beach.
At their head, we can see a path of topsoil that will reverse our course along the shaded base of the wooden deck.
The moist beach sand feels cool with a fine texture under our feet. It feels private here. The parking area and stairs can’t see us. We walk on to explore and enjoy.
There is a tributary. A wide creek empties into this small bay on the lake. The flow washes over our ankles, pulling us, before it hits the bigger body of water. It is soggy, but sandy and so won’t stay stuck to feet like mud. Feet sink in in one spot, yet the very next step supports us. We didn’t expect a notable sensual naturist experience, just lunch. When you least expect it, a blessing pops up.
When we return to the deck, with its tall railing and view across the lake, there is movement above. Someone is coming. Will they decide to go all the way on these stairs? We soon find that we’ll have to cover up.
A lone person, sort of heavy in weight walks past and smiles a greeting and then continues to the beach.
As soon as she is below us, I use the rails and angles to hide my nudity. I sit down, unwrap the kilt, and feeling the breeze with my entire gift of senses. She is in sight, I am unseen.
She doesn’t stay long, and is gone. I expect her to rest more than once during the climb, but she doesn’t. We are soon left alone and free once more.
This all goes to show, sometimes you don’t find it. It finds you.
A place to stay:
We continue our journey, hoping for a good place to camp for the night. Tomorrow, we plan to find a hike.
We pass through more and more trees, pieces of Americana and even a small herd of buffalo. A full sized giraffe has been erected in someone’s front yard. Some people have plastic flamingos, some rock gardens…to each his own.
When Travis City arrives, it is crowded, busy with tourists. It has grown remarkably in the 50 years since I visited a small rock festival here at the fair grounds.
There are few vacancies, despite ample summer tourist development. We’re feeling desperate about a place to sleep. The day is ending and our options seem to have dried up.
Finally, back on a country road, we discover a nice developed camping spot by a lake. We stop in, just to ask advice at the no-vacancy sign. After inquiring to the manager, I guess we appear wholesome enough to squeeze a couple of days into her mid-week guest list.
Our accommodation is a small plot amongst many, an open air square of real-estate, marked by a low rail fence. Toilets are down the road. Privacy is not a concern to these campers in close quarters. There are commons, a great green grass park runs along on the pleasant lake. The smell of barbeque is everywhere, kids roam freely amongst tents, trailers and RV’s named, Open Range, Sundance, Day Flight, or Cedar Creek. It feels safe and it will do.
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