Nude Across America Pt.23 Leelanua Peninsula
Just so you know…Part 24, Lake Shelbyville, was published out of sequence, by the fingers of a sleepy naked guy on a couch. Once it is done….
We’re looking for a secluded place, a spiritual experience, fewer people, certainly no crowds, solitude. I figured that it would be up here in this part of Michigan, as I remember it. It feels down right crowded today, in the height of the summer season. Things have changed. There is plenty of countryside, but it is all private lands. People are packed in otherwise.
The public lands are near. Big Bear Dunes, again as I remember, are fun and there may be a spot just south of them, down the coast of Lake Michigan, where people don’t go, much.
Finding a Hike:
Finding a Hike:
We use some back-roads to get across the peninsula to look into what has become a tourist mecca. It is set up to walk, to bike, to horse, to drive and look at. We drive, meandering around half lost for slightly too long. Eventually, instead, we decide to try the tourist information center.
Inside, an old timer, with his rugged experience projecting from his grey beard, looks out of place in the Forest Service uniform. He is standing behind a huge 3D map of the area under a table of glass helping a couple, probably from Japan.
We wait our turn for his woodsy wisdom and knowledge and then explain our desires. He is obviously thinking hard about how we can fit into the scheme of things here. He says Bayview is his “# 1 pick.” After a pause, “Alligator Hill will be okay, if the parking lot isn’t full, 10 cars isn’t much for the size.” And then, “The Kettles just opened up last year, off the beaten path.” It is not on the map and he shows us where it would be. It sounds best to us. I get out my new map. He is pointing where a road line passes into a space past the edge of the colorful sheet of unfolded paper.
We decide to have a look at the huge Big Bear Dune. You can climb it, and then I had surmised that there may be a more private area near the lake to the south. Today, it doesn’t look as awesome, or intrepid, as I remember it. A great parking lot lies at its base, absolutely filled and busy, as people arrive and depart.
We soon see the futility here. We’ll just go on and try the Kettles. When we inquire about it at the ticket/toll station, the ranger doesn’t know where it is. This is encouraging, but then where, more exactly, is it?
The route isn’t clearly marked where to go. We travel the up and down of the road where ancient Great Lake sand probably hits tall old glacier paths. We turn off the main road, onto a road that should lead us there, but no signs confirm this. After a couple of miles up hill through residences, it just doesn’t look right and we turn back, hoping a clearly marked route off of that main road will turn up.
Yet Another Roadside AttractionConstruction has us sitting waiting, bundling our bodies for the guy standing next to the car with his “stop and go” sign. No turn is found after a few miles. We have to backtrack, touring the same road construction lines of traffic, twice. While we wait naked a few cars back, from the other guy with a sign, a bee comes into the open window. It produces some excitement
Trying again, going further this time, we find the road that we are looking for, but still no sign. I drape clothing across my lap and DF puts her dress on, as we pull beside a woman with a baby carriage walking along the road. DF hangs out of the window to inquire.
“I think it is just over there, turn left not right,” she explains.
We park and slowly, stiff from sitting, stand out in a clearing, surrounded by tall grass and small trees. It is a rolling hilltop, where a Michigan farm field is overlooked.
Standing around nude, we have lunch, a combination of left over hors d’oeuvres and snack food. There is one other car here with Florida plates. It is very quiet compared to the tourism and encroaching real estate development that we have just made our way through.
The trail is wide, wandering back through old fields. Typical still stunted Michigan trees are spaced around, slowly taking back what was theirs and making a living.
We are about a quarter mile in, as the trail begins to drop past a field of ferns and into taller deciduous tree …
Read further at The Free Range Naturist