Archive for the ‘Michigan’ Category

New CR 510 bridge spanning the Dead River in Marquette County.

new bridge1

This version of the bridge is 532 feet long, stands 100 feet above the water and was opened in 2010 with a price tag of just under 7 million dollars.  In contrast, the old CR510 is 10 feet above the river and was built for a whopping $80,000. (I know: both a dollar and a foot went a lot farther then, right?)

If you look at the second picture in the post from October 12 , you can get a glimpse of the new bridge on the far right of that frame.

new bridge2

We made a valiant effort to climb all the way to the river, but about 3/4 of the way down, the slope turned vertical and we nixed the idea of battling to the bottom.

It is incredibly windy on the bridge. I don’t travel with a tripod (Bad Wabi Sabi! Go wait in the car!) and one would have made a huge difference in the shots I took from the top.

Ishpeming. There weren’t any signs that said we COULDN’T be there…



Study the window carefully and you’ll find Karen, wheelwoman for the getaway Subaru.


Why, pray tell, would we be on Full Alert for a rapid getaway in such an obviously deserted place?

cement closeup1

Good question, Grasshopper. Answer:  This a fully-operational business and, even though it was a Sunday morning, there was plenty of noisy action going on in other buildings. Thank goodness that Subaru offers a “Cloak of Invisibility” package and Karen had opted for that over the kayak racks.

Delight can be in the details. With that in mind, I packed my “nifty 50” for our adventure at camp and was not disappointed.




This next one reminds me of the simple abstract Buddha symbol used by Shambhala Press:



And, of course, no deer camp would be complete without these:


I didn’t bring my big camera out in the fields, so I will have to rely on memories of the endless purple and gold waves of wildflowers, clouds of orange butterflies, vast tracts of raspberries and the perfumes of both summer woods and deep black muddy swamps. No electricity or Wi-Fi at camp, but gas-power, a generator, a pump and some big honking batteries. As I settled into my bunk on Saturday night, I was roughing it, yes, but the Messrs. iPod and Kindle (with additional support provided by my Argentinian friend, Sr. Malbec ) meant I could drift off to sleep listening to Dave Brubeck and reading Elmore Leonard and reflecting that moments of genuine bone-deep happiness can come in the most unexpected places.

Wabi Sabi goes to Deer Camp for a weekend adventure.

Dawn on Friday found me heading straight north from Green Bay on a series of  highways identified only by their cryptic numbers on my rumpled map. At the border crossing, a sleepy sentinel was distracted and I seized the opportunity to enter the U.P. quietly.

birdPassing through Iron Mountain, I kept the car at a reasonable speed in order to call no attention to my Wisconsin plates. Then, it was a straight run for Sagola.  Once there, luggage was quickly transferred to a black SUV and purchases such as “ice, ” “gasoline,” and a mysterious bag of “egg rolls” were made. Money was exchanged with strangers who spoke “English.” I could understand most of what they were saying since I was raised among people who spoke this peculiar dialect and am actually bilingual…though my accent has grown rusty with disuse.

As our Detroit-Irish host pointed out, there would be no need to blindfold us on the way into camp.






Without a guide, we’d never be able to find our way in or out again.

Ishpeming. Same abandoned mine. Different shaft.






Early Sunday morning.

The Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, Ishpeming, Michigan. Abandoned mine site.

2013Jun15_Marquette Saturday_4595 as Smart Object-1

I will skip all of the National Geographic quality details of where we parked and how we labored through the woods and down a rocky path, skirting the mine property, rocking the chain link fence and trying to shoot through the barbed wire.


Halfway around the property, we popped through a hedge and onto a residential street.


The neighbors were not alarmed.  Maybe there is a rent in the fabric of the cosmos and crazy old women fall through the hedge on a regular basis.

(This is, after all, the U.P.)


Worked our way down the street, still shooting through and over the fence. And then… we abruptly turned a corner and the whole property was open to us. No fences. No barbed wire. Pavement right up to one of the shafts. A few pesky “No Trespassing ” signs that we naturally ignored.

2013Jun16_Ishpeming_4983To be continued!


One last look at the Presque Isle Dock.





Next up: Let’s slip over to Ishpeming and check out an abandoned iron mine.