In Search of the Freighter

Beautiful Wilderness State Park in Carp Lake

Travel counselor Bonnie Fink takes us along with her family on their summer getaway - a camping trip in Northern Michigan.

My husband, Mike, our two sons, Paul and Stanley, Paul’s friend Kenny and myself are going camping to Wilderness State Park.

We arrive just after 1:00 pm in Mackinaw City. It is a beautiful, hot, sunny day. No sweatshirt required. We grab a picnic table by the lake for lunch. I can’t wait to spot that freighter out on the Great Lakes, but there are none, only sailboats and ferries. We eat lunch and take a walk down by the lake. Still no freighter. We pack up and head out to the campground.

Our site is three from the lake, located in the back corner. We like it. The lot is large and well shaded. Later on the boys are tossing the football in Lake Michigan. It is warm and inviting. Mike and I take a walk down the beach. We come across a huge heart etched in the sand. I must stop and add our names. I wonder how long the heart will remain before the waves wash it out to sea. We continue on our way. I am sure I will spot a freighter out there, but no such luck, just a beautiful sunset out on the lake.

We have all returned to the campground and are getting the campfire started. We make ourselves comfortable and get out all those yummy campfire snacks. By this time it is late and I go inside, crawl in bed and drift off to sleep as the boys discuss strategies for the upcoming football season.

The next morning we are awakened by what sounds like loads of jelly beans dropping from the sky. It is pouring. As we get our breakfast around, I realize I have used half of our cereal bowls for last night’s leftovers. So what should I do? Two spotted campfire mugs and a little sauce pan later, we have rounded up enough make-shift bowls for breakfast. The day could only get worse if I don’t locate that freighter. But I am hopeful. I just know that I am going to see one today.

The Mackinac Bridge, gorgeous even on a rainy day

We finish breakfast and go into town. We make our way over to the Mackinaw Ice Breaker Maritime Museum. It is still raining as we take the tour.  As we finish the tour, we are standing on deck and watching the sky getting ready to open up and let out the rains, AGAIN. We get under cover to let it pass. We can no longer see the pillars of the Mighty Mac, it is raining so hard. Then, moments later, I hear those “magical” words I have waited to hear. Mike hollers, “There’s one!” Out in the foggy distance there she is, a Big Black Beauty, heading South in the Straits of Mackinac, the freighter I have been looking for. As I descend down the stairs, I am grinning from ear to ear, watching her and wondering, “What is she carrying and where is she going?”

Bonnie Fink is a travel counselor with Pure Michigan Travel. She enjoys traveling and helping the public with their travel plans.