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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Come With Me on a Personal Leelanau Fall Color Tour

After breakfast on Sunday morning, David proposed a color tour. His oldest daughter, her husband and I promptly acquiesced. Our direction was south, our destination a particular area of Sleeping Bear that is dear to our hearts. We went “the Cedar way,” inland by way of Lake Leelanau, Cedar and Maple City.

Getting close, Bohemian Road (C.R. 669) took us to Lake Michigan Road, which parallels the lakeshore, where driver and passengers were all pleased to find that the road surface was not as completely washboard-y as it sometimes can be. And Shalda Creek is always lovely.

Then we turn onto the best-beloved two-track that used to be the driveway to David’s “house in the woods,” back before the Lakeshore came in. At the time he was upset, but now we are all happy to have this as public land, rather than being full of condos and closed off to us with big gates.

This tree has always been glorious, in every season--

Other trees have grown up over the years.

As it always did, the way leads eventually into the more subdued, dappled light of the woods.

There is color and light high above our heads. There is color at our feet. Some trees tower. Others, like the modest striped, or green, maple, are more our size. (This little tree always makes me think of my friend Kathie, who loves Acer serotina, sometimes called "moose maple" in the Far North.)

The old Indian marker tree, like those in Ladislav Hanka’s beautiful new book, points back to the meadow, so we can’t get turned around. Anyway, this is old home ground.

Not only for David but for all of us, it was good to revisit this spot and its memories and hear again the old stories, but there are many, many beautiful trails and sites in Sleeping Bear, from Port Oneida down into Benzie County. Which is your favorite?


Anonymous said...

Oh, such beautiful pictures. This made me a little weepy and 'homesick' for the place all over again, as it always does.

P. J. Grath said...

Wish you'd been there with us, Maiya. I always love going there. Last year that was Sarah's birthday trip.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tour! I'm interested to learn about David's experience with the development of the park. There are a lot of stories there that I would like to hear.

The diverging two-track reminded me of the old cartoons about skiers' tracks going around both sides of a tree . . .

P. J. Grath said...

As I'm sure Maiya recognized, I fudged a bit on the two-track from road to woods. The place where it divides is actually another two-track coming in (from Shell Lake), so it was part of our coming back to the main path after a round-trip detour.

Basically, the way David lost his place there was that he had it on land contract, and the title-holders sold to the Lakeshore. As I say, he took it hard at the time. Now, however, we are very happy with the way things turned out. It still belongs to us--we just have to share, and that's all right.