Manistee NF August 2015
Dates: August 21 - August 22, 2015
People: Mark, Sarah, Luke, Jonah, Seth
FRIDAY AUGUST 21
With a 4 hour drive ahead of us I was hoping to be out of town around 10am so that we could get up there and have time to explore the Manistee area. However, it was almost 11:30am when we finally got left. It took much longer than expected to get our camping gear and other things in order before we could go. We ended up getting lunch in Dundee at a Wendy’s on our way to head up north.
We followed US23 and I75 all the way up to Bay City where we took US10 west to Clare. From there we followed M115 up to Cadillac where we then caught M55 west towards Wellston. In Cadillac we made a gas stop and grabbed some ice cream. We headed first to our camp which was Twin Oaks Campground near Wellston. I had found them and reserved them back in February as I was making plans for this week. We arrived around 4pm.
The North Country race organizers had talked about a family that owns a grass field where folks can camp for the race, but its first come-first served. That felt a bit risky coming from as far as we did and with the rest of the family along it seemed safest to pick a true campground. And it seems we chose well. Twin Oaks had some friendly hosts and it was a nice family-based campground. They had a great playground, a ring of tetherball, horseshoe pits and a camp house with tables/chairs and a TV to make folks all feel at home.
We had site #59 which was in a small tent campers area near the front of the campground. When I reserved the gal said it was one of the better sites. We were pleased with its space. We paid $24 for the night plus another $5 because we had 5 people (first 4 included). Seemed like a good deal. We paid another almost $10 for 2 bundles of firewood which was a decent deal.
After getting camp setup and touring the place for a bit we made the drive over to the Big “M” trailhead. The packet pickup for the race was easy and I just had to give them my name and they had everyone’s packets in bags ready to take. We then headed back to camp for supper.
We cooked ground beef on the camp stove and boiled water for spaghetti. We did all of this on the old Coleman stove we used to use when camping with Mom and Dad. Supper went well. During and after supper the boys enjoyed playing on the playground and we also had several good tetherball matches.
We quickly realized that our neighbors in the tent area were also running in the races tomorrow. I was quickly humbled however when I realized they were all running the Ultra. One couple was a father and daughter and they had the friendliest little dog with them who came over to our camp to play with the boys. They played soccer with the dog letting him chase and carry the ball around for quite some time.
As things got dark we made a nice fire and enjoyed that for the rest of the evening. We were glad to have the second bundle of wood and ended up cramming it all on the fire before bedtime. I think we were all out by about 11pm. We used the big family tent Sarah once purchased and for the five of us this left pretty good room.
SATURDAY AUGUST 22
Upon getting back to our camp post-race I immediately headed to the showers. I knew I was the one to tear down everything in the tent but didn’t want to get in there all sweaty. Once I got showered I hopped in the tent which was getting quite warm with the sun. I worked up another good sweat getting all 5 sleeping bags and all 5 mattress pads taken care of.
We took our time getting camp torn down and it must have been nearly 3pm by the time we finally got left. Luckily the camp director gave us a “late” check out which she basically said was anytime we wanted. On the drive out I quickly realized I was getting hungry and needed some food and big time for my depleted body. Sarah and I were holding out for Salsarita’s in Green Oak Township however. So we stopped in Clare at a McDonald’s to at least get the boys food and I grabbed an initial “snack” of a burger and fries and that really perked me up to get that food in the tank. We did then hit Salsarita’s where I had another full meal and this really had me feeling better. Sarah had done some of our initial driving, but I took over in Clare and ended up driving the rest of the way home. The food got me enough energy to have me feeling well.
Was really pleased to have a camping night with the family and we would like to be able to do more of this. Next time we really need to plan the whole weekend in the Manistee area as this trip left us with little free time.