Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Leelanau Camping and Awesome Photos

We love camping on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, just north of Traverse City. For those that don't know, this is the little pinky finger of the mitten that is Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Check it:

The green arrow shows where we love camping.
We left Sunday evening, camped out that night, hit the beach and state park trails most of the day Monday, then camped again Monday night before heading out on Tuesday morning. Here are a few of the photos from the beach. As always, click to embiggen; they're worth it!

There is a secret spot along the beach FILLED with petoskey stones. For those unfamiliar with the Awesome Mitten, the Petoskey stone is a kind of fossilized coral, and it's pretty rare everywhere except northern Michigan.
These were just a few of those we found in about an hour and a half of looking.
Total, we found about 92 stones, but not all were worth keeping. Once, I pulled five stones in one handful!
They don't look like much unless wet or polished; the above stones are in a glass bowl with water.

Naiya wanted to join in the fun, so whenever we would toss a stone in the water, she would fish it out and bring it onto the shore, just like we were doing with the Petoskeys! We didn't train her to do this, she just did it!

While looking for stones, Naiya noticed a bird floundering in the water as though dazed - kind of how birds behave when they slam into a window. When I went to check it out, the thing wouldn't even really try to get away from me, just kind of lazing around, flapping a bit occasionally but never getting airborne. I checked its wings, and they seemed fine, opening and flapping well. It tried to bite a few times, so I ended up holding it by its feet. It didn't seem broken in any way, and after we took the pictures, it just ended up walking away and swimming  back out into the water. Very weird behavior. 

It probably had a disease.

 During the evenings, I set up the camera to take some long-exposure shots of the stars. My lens is great for bright, outdoor photography (sports, nature, etc.), but it's not the best for really dim stuff. Hence the grain from having to jack up the ISO. My apologies. Maybe someday I'll invest in a nicer lens and get some really cool shots. Until then, you're stuck with these:

Each of the above photos was actually part of a time lapse, where I would set the camera up for a few hours, taking 20-30 second exposures every minute. It's part of a time lapse montage video I'm making of various places in Michigan. Should be pretty sweet. It'll probably be a little while till I finish it though, possibly not till after this semester starts, as I'd like to include some lapses from the Secchia Center view of Grand Rapids...

While setting the camera up for the star lapse shots, I noticed some cool lights to the north. Maybe some of you have heard of the Aurora Borealis, but most people know them as the Northern Lights:

Not bad, for not even being in the Upper Peninsula. Normally, I never even see much of them unless I'm in Canada. It was definitely worth the slight loss of sleep, and the lapse turned out pretty cool. Again, more on that later.

As I explained in my last post, we woke up the last morning to a flat tire. Not cool, but surmountable. After we got that whole fiasco taken care of, we bummed around Traverse City for a bit, pleasantly surprised by a lack of parking because the Cherry Festival was in full swing! We didn't even know it was going on, so it was pretty fun. We got some incredible smoothie / cookie / coffee drinks from Espresso Bay Juice Island, and they were delicious. It wasn't until we were on our way out of town that I realized I hadn't taken a single picture while we were there. Ridiculous. Sorry, A.

On our drive home, we nearly made a life-changing decision to get another dog. Well, Wife almost decided to get another dog - a Toy Poodle puppy, to be exact. There was a stand of them by the side of the road. Wife always wants to pet the puppies, and I thought this would be just like any other time. Wrong. The puppy was awesomely cute, as you can see below. However, I will be leaving for med school in about a month, so the decision was really hers. Whether or not she could devote the time to training it and all that. We will be sending Naiya (our current pupper) to live with my mom and stepdad because A.) I can't take her where I'm going (Wife's relatives' basement), and B.) Naiya needs too much exercise, and Wife probably wouldn't be able to handle it with her schedule. With a smaller dog, Wife would still have a companion (aside from her roommate) to spend time with, it could use puppy pads once a week when wife is out for 9 hours on clinicals, and (being smaller) it wouldn't need as much exercise as Naiya currently needs. Plus, Wife has wanted a teeny dog she can "carry in a bag" for years.

After about two hours of thoughtful consideration, mental budgeting, and unabashed hemming and hawing, I told Wife it was her choice. She could do it, and I would support her in it. Either way, it was up to her. She ended up deciding to wait a year. She definitely wants a puppy of her own to train and have look up to her, but it would probably be too much while we're separated. It was a tough decision. You probably won't understand how tough unless you see the pics though, so here they are:

She told me later she would have named it Lucy.
I normally have this thing against dogs with people names,
but I think I would have made an exception...

Once we got back home, Wife and I unpacked like a team of professional mercenaries taking out the enemy. Calm, cool efficiency was the name of the game, working like a well-oiled machine that gets the job done, then spits out cliche phrases when describing it later. After unpacking, I whipped up this meal in less than twenty minutes while she finished the laundry:

Fourteen sausages, six eggs, nine miniature pancakes, fresh blueberries, toast, syrup, butter, and orange juice.
This meal = amazing.


Susan said...

Wow, what an incredible post with A M A Z I N G pictures! Some real winners and more all time favorites. Great ad for experiencing Michigan, too! Really enjoyed that :)

Anonymous said...

Those photos are AMAZING!! I've never seen the Aurora Borealis. I really have to make it up north!!

And the puppies were adorable, I think I would have brought one home with me. Even though that would not really be a good idea with med school starting.

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