Despite already living in the UP, which is fairly rural and isolated, many families have a camp as well, where they go to get away from everyday life. My family is one of these. We have a camp near Sault Ste. Marie, on the St. Marys River. My aunt and uncle actually own it, but since they live in Florida, they let our family use it whenever we want.
For as long as I can remember, we have gone to our Cabins on the River for a week every summer. My mom, dad, brother, and I stay in one cabin and my aunt, uncle, and cousin from Brighton stay in the other. We go swimming, visit my Grandma in Sault Ste. Marie, eat ice cream, go sailing, go on motorboat rides, and have fun in the sun. This is usually one of my favorite times of the summer.
"The cabins," as we call it, is one of my favorite places in the world. It is a beautiful setting, with a blue river and woods all around. Animals like deer, rabbits, and coyotes can be seen or heard on occasion. The river is one of the major shipping channels, and freighters pass through several times a day. When I was little, we would race out to the end of our dock and yell "Hi, ship!" whenever we saw one going by. Now, we simply keep a list of all the ships we see.
I have many fond memories of being at the cabins when I was little. Climbing trees is one thing I used to love to do, and I still enjoy. I'm not sure when I learned how to climb trees; it's just something it seems like I've always known how to do. There are several tall cedar trees at our cabins that are my favorite places to climb. I remember teaching my little brother Will how to get up into the lower branches, and my mom taking pictures of us. Another thing Will and I did together was exploring. We had "exploring kits," which were like survival kits plus anything we thought we might want in the woods. We would go into a little creek bed near our cabins and wander around. We had a lot of fun, and often took our cousin along too.
My grandma and grandpa used to own a farm nearby, Doll's Dairy farm. We often spent a lot of time there as well as at the cabins, since they're fairly close to each other. My grandma sold the farm when my grandpa died, and moved into an apartment in the Sault. We visit her often while we're at the cabins, and have ice cream, play mini golf, and play cards.
At the cabins, we have fires in our fire pit most nights when it gets dark, and often shoot off fireworks as well, especially around the Fourth of July. The stars are beautiful there, since there is little light pollution.
Water activities are a must at the cabins, especially if it is hot. We go swimming, jump off the dock, take motorboat trips, sometimes to Canada, go waterskiing, go to other beaches, like Whitefish Point, and go wading. I remember wading and looking for fossils in the water next to the dock.
All in all, our cabins are a wonderful place to relax and just take a week off from regular life. I'm very happy that this family tradition has continued.
Editor's note: Maggie Guter, 16, is a sophomore at Marquette Senior High School. She is a long time member of 8-18 Media and is also involved in in sailing, skiing and piano. Her parents are Jake Guter and Mary Doll of Marquette. 8-18 Media is a youth journalism program of the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum. Through the program, teams of kids write news stories and commentaries on issues important to youth and about any good, or bad, things youth are up to. For more information call 906-226-7874, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.