Lost in the Swamp

Okay, ol’ man, wherever you are, just go ahead and gnoff. I don’t care and you deserve a good gnoff after all the horrible crap you went through.

I really, really, really needed to go for a hike in the north woods this weekend. So, we are here at Houghton Lake and today, the Twinz of Terror and Liz (sister-in-law, not any of those others) and Randy and I went up to the Mason Tract to hike along the South Branch of the Au Sable River. It was a gorgeous day for hiking, cold but not a cloud in the sky. No bugs except for one early member of a non-threatening species of lepidoptera. The river was high and fast and sparkling.

We parked our vee-hickles at the trail head, marker 13, at Chase Bridge. The original plan was to walk in to trail marker 9 and then turn around and walk back out. That would be 8.6 miles. But when we got as far as marker 10, Liz realized she had lost her glasses (bad thing, and they were not found!), so she and Randy turned around then to try and find them. The rest of us decided that the GG would also turn around and help look for the glasses and then continue on back to the trail head and get the car. Bob and I would continue on hiking up to marker 3, where the GG would pick us up.

When we got to marker 9, instead of going left, away from the river, which is where the trail went, we went right. Until the trail petered out. Instead of being smart and walking back to marker 9 and figuring out where the correct trail was, we decided to cut across country and connect back up to it. Smart idea, right? Swamp? No way, not here in the north woods. Oh, c’mon, Yooper Woman, you know better than that. Wrong. Bob kept saying cheerful things like, “this looks like a trail” (uh, not) and “this is where you find people like Jimmy Hoffa.” Were we wet? I know *I* was, with my velcro sandals and polartech socks! Scratched up and bloody, too. Eventually, we managed to locate the trail again and, when we looked at the map on the next trail marker, we realized that we had probably slogged and floundered along through the quagmire for a mile or maybe more, given that our path was not exactly straight.

Jack was a great hiker who knew his way around the woods and how to *not* get lost, so I’m sure that our little adventure gave him a good gnoff. When we all finally got connected back up again at the trail head, we headed off to Jack’s Place. Yes, there really is a barroom with that name in Roscommon County. I wish we had remembered to get a picture. We had a little snort in Jack’s honor and then we sang a rousing, almost tuneful round of the theme song from Gilligan’s Island. No, the singing didn’t have anything to do with Jack. I really don’t quite know how that got started or why we were doing it. But it was fun and even though I wasn’t drunk, I sang with gusto anyway. I actually knew most of the words.

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