The sun setting on Lake Michigan. Our dog Otis on the beach making sure things are in order and the family safe for the night, he’s always so concerned about us. I miss this vacation, heck I miss all my vacations. This one was special though, the last family vacation. I think it’s going to always be that week I look back on and smile about. I knew going in it would be the last so the mood was bittersweet but I made the most of it.
This winter has been brutal. I’m sure there are records that have been broken for consecutive cold days, possibly even snow accumulation. Right now it’s 12°F outside with winds at 30-40 MPH creating a wind chill of -10°F. When it’s this cold it’s almost impossible for me to keep my hands warm. I’ll be heading out the door in a couple of hours spending a little time outside working and freezing.
Back in 2008 we stayed in a little cabin on Bass Lake in Traverse City. The cabin was a small two bedroom with a loft that would accommodate two children but only if they were small. It was comfortable enough but not quite large enough for a family of six. We knew that would be our last visit there because of the size of the place.
Luckily is was right on a lake but it wasn’t really one of those lakes where you wanted to jump right it. It was an inland lake, mucky and dark so you couldn’t see the bottom. There was some sand but mostly it was just muck. Still the kids went out and played on the shore each day as the water was warm and peaceful the entire week. In the end it was a great vacation. We hung out at the cabin a day or two and then explored the area. That was the first year we went to The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive .
Our search each year was always to find a spot on a nice beach. I would obsess for days at a time looking for the perfect spot. Actually I always tried to get a secluded spot on water, preferably with a nice sandy beach and clear water. We had some hits and misses over the years but eventually we did find that very spot in Good Hart a few years later where we stayed for a week in 20011 and again in 2013. I doubt I’ll ever see the cottage again but I have some awesome memories captured in images and video.
Lake Michigan – Vacation in Good Hart.
It was such a calm and warm night. The kind of night that goes good with a camp fire and cold beer. We sat around the fire, I drank beer and told corny ghost stories. All my kids but the youngest just laugh at my stories, they’re too old to think they are scary. My youngest though put her feet up on the chair and moved closer to me saying, “dad, is that true.” I smiled and didn’t answer.
I take photographs of things because I want to capture that moment forever. Something catches my eye and I want to enjoy it again later, that’s the beauty of photography. My guess is that’s the case with most people who like taking pictures. You take the picture and later on you look at it and remember. It could be a landscape, objects like a new television or car, or family members. It’s the family pictures I’ve come to value the most over the years. While I enjoy a good view of nature I really love the family pictures. Over the years I’ve taken plenty of family pictures most of them while on vacation.
Looking at the pictures I am reminded of the time it was taken. My memory is poor but when I look at a photograph I can remember details about that moment and what life was like for me during that time. Not all memories are good ones.
Yesterday I visited my mother and she showed me a picture. It must have been from the late 80’s because I was wearing a B.U.M. Equipment hoodie, remember that brand from back in the day? I was standing in the doorway of a friend’s house with my Miami Dolphins hat tilted forward and my hand displaying the middle finger. What is it about flipping off the person taking the picture? It seemed like the thing to do back then. What a punk.
I remember my life during that time. I was 17 or 18 years old, recently left home, and was staying with a friend. There were no rules and each day our task was to party and hook up with chicks. We thought it was a blast and if I’m honest with myself it was. But I was a punk, I remember that too. My mother asked me if I wanted to borrow the picture to show my kids, I declined but it’s very likely she already showed them. Mom has no boundaries like that.
Then there’s the picture below. It was taken around 2003 at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes less than a year after our last child was born. As a kid my dad would take me and my brother north almost every summer and that was one of our stops. Man those were some of the best times of my childhood. Of course it wasn’t always fun and games as there were lessons to be learned but for the most part it was a fantastic time. Naturally I wanted to share some of the places with my own family. When we were expecting our first child in 1997 we went north to Ludington and from there drove further north to Petosky and Charlevoix. It was the first time I visited those areas since I was a kid.
I remember what my life was like then. It wasn’t perfect, needed improvement but that’s life too right? I know I felt like the world was mine. There was nothing that could take away my joy and I didn’t imagine it could change. It’s when this image was taken that I wish I could go back to.
Lake Michigan sunset in Good Hart.