Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr Adams County man charged with killing estranged girlfriend Lexie N Hopkins Volleyball, soccer previews coming this weekend Michael A Cheek

Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever

A nice trio of brook trout from the Fox River in Michigan’s U.P.

By Tom Cross – 

Where once stood tall jack pine in the Lake Superior State Forest was now brushy fields of wild blueberries and young jack pine seedlings as far as the eye could see. In 2012 over 21,000 acres burned in the Duck Lake Forest Fire, the third worst in Michigan’s history. However, no lives were lost. The fire started just before Memorial Day by a lighting strike just west of Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, burning a path 10-miles long and three-miles wide heading straight north toward the Two-Hearted River Campground and Lake Superior.
For over 25 years the Two-Hearted River state forest campground on Lake Superior was our default family vacation spot. The three children would walk across the foot bridge over the Two-Hearted and build driftwood forts on the shores of Lake Superior. My wife, Judy would pick blueberries, beach berries, and other wild fruit from the surrounding forest. Once in a while we’d hike the North County trail a mile of so along the beach or hike to Crisp Point Lighthouse prior to its historical reconstruction on the perilous 412 forest road.
We’d load up a bucket of smooth stones to take home and occasionally found an orphaned jack pine or birch tree and replant it in Adams County. We would drive 30 miles on sand roads to the little harbor village of Grand Marais just to get a pizza. The Two-Hearted River store at the top of the hill had ice and ice cream and would rent canoes. We floated the Two-Hearted on a couple of occasions, catching more rainbow trout then we could count. My oldest son Ben and I would sneak off for a day’s fishing, catching all the brook trout we wanted from the Fox River near Seney and would clean them and have them for dinner that night. Once in a while we’d drive over to Little Lake, a remote harbor on Lake Superior, just to look at it. We ventured into the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore once or twice and always visited the shipwreck museum at Whitefish Point. The days were always clear and the temperature was always cool. It was a place we believed the Almighty had blessed.
It had been 10 years since the last time we visited the Two-Hearted and the forest is gone. Over 32 square miles of it up in smoke, replaced by a lush understory of ferns, wild blueberries, and knee high jack pine. Forest regeneration in full bloom for all to observe and perhaps the world’s largest continuous blueberry patch. For as far as the eye can see a green carpet laid out across miles and miles of gently rolling sand hills dotted with a few still standing dead trees, but life was returning. Deer were more abundant, the blueberries will fatten bears for hibernation, and a pair of eagles had a nest in a big dead snag along the river bank. The DNR and birding enthusiasts are hopeful the young jack pine will soon host rare Kirtland Warblers. The old fishermen foot paths to the streams needed clearing and were almost impassible and the off-the-map back roads to discreet fishing locations were blocked by fallen trees and needed a chainsaw. Across some of the smaller streams, trees had fallen into a jumbo of snags, great for fish, bad for the fishermen.
My wife picked over three gallons of wild blueberries while I concentrated on catching trout. Every morning she would fix blueberry pancakes, eggs, and sausage. At night it was hot dogs over a campfire, or trout if I was lucky that day. We still drove the 30 miles of dusty sand roads to Grand Marais to get a pizza, only difference being that the old pizza place closed down and a new one opened up. The road to the Crisp Point Lighthouse was much improved but still treacherous and now they have a parking lot at the old lighthouse. Dukes Sport Shop in Newberry has a new owner, but the remote Two-Hearted store at the top of the hill where we used to get ice and ice cream had burnt down along with other 50 homes in the fires path. The countless unmarked sand roads we got lost on now have new road signs. But Lake Superior is still there and the ageless Two-Hearted River is still the trout river in Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River that he immortalized in a story written in 1925.
Perhaps most importantly the old state forest campground on the banks of where the Two-Hearted meets Lake Superior survived. “A small dot of emerald in a sea of black burnt forest,” said one old timer who was there. Not only did Two-Hearted escape the fire, the campground at Pike Lake survived as did Little Lake Harbor from the flames. The fire came to the very edge of the Two-Hearted campground, then I was told, a strong northeast wind blew in from Lake Superior and like an unforeseen hand pushed the fire back up the hill away from the campground saving what surely would have been complete destruction of the campground and the foot bridge over the Two-Hearted. The same thing happened at Pike Lake and Little Lake Harbor, a sudden strong wind from the great lake changing the course of the monster fire at the last minute to save those small special places. The fire finally ended 15 days later at the shoreline of Lake Superior.
After two weeks in Michigan, looking for lighthouses, searching for fish wherever they may be found, and picking gallons of blueberries, the coffee and the pancake batter ran out and it was time to go home. We walked across the footbridge one last time to take in a view that needed to last, shut the tailgate of the truck, and drove the sandy road south out of camp through the blueberry fields that stretch across the horizon and seemly go on forever with the smell of a campfire still on our clothes.
For more photographs of Michigan go to https://www.facebook.com/tom.cross.509

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© The People's Defender - All rights reserved