Thursday, October 25, 2012

Iargo Springs

This is part 2 of our pictures from last weekend's day trip to northern lower Michigan...

Iargo Springs is located inland from the little town of Oscoda by maybe 15 miles or so. Although I'd grown up in Oscoda, I'd never visited the springs, so I was glad for the opportunity to pay them a visit. The friends that we went up there to see had also wanted to see the springs badly. We certainly weren't disappointed!

The Springs lay alongside the banks of the Ausable River. The banks in this area are very steep, and rise almost straight up at least 500 ft. or more above the water. You can definitely see the work of glaciers-of-old in this area. In the old days, when Indians traversed the Ausable River regularly, they would meet at the springs and hold pow-wows there because they believed the water from the springs held magical powers.

The parking area is at the top of the high bank. Then you have to descend 294 stairs downward in order to see the springs (3 or 4 of them) and walk the man-made boardwalks that criss cross the little streams that are created by the springs. These little streams drain into the river, and they have expanded the width of the river here greatly by pouring sediments out along the shoreline. These have formed a large delta.

I figured walking down a lot of stairs would be easy. I mean, you're going DOWN, right? How much energy can that take? But after the first 200 or so stairs, the muscles in the front of my upper legs started to burn a bit. It was the same for all our friends too (so at least I didn't feel as However, we made it to the bottom and were glad we did!

The forest floor was a lush, green, moist canopy of glorious beauty. Our Forest Service had placed large logs in front of 3 of the springs years ago, and this made for beautiful waterfalls. The sound of the water dancing over the falls, and then over the rocks in the streams below them, was wonderful--like hearing a child laugh. The boardwalks meandered all over the place. There had to be at least 6 of them winding their way to the delta, and each one ended right at the delta. The water in the delta was crystal clear. You could see all the logs beneath the surface, and there were no waves or ripples in the water at all.

Goiiiinnng down!

The delta in the foreground; the actual river in the background.
The delta at the shoreline.

One of the springs flowing over a man-made barrier.

A second spring.

An island in the middle of the Ausable River.
The start of the 294 stairs back to the top.
Lumberman's Monument--a beautiful park that includes a brass statue erected as a tribute to the early loggers in the area.

Foot Dam was definitely flowing pretty hard. Fishermen fishing for salmon and steelhead are in the foreground.
This guy was only too eager to show us the steelhead he'd just caught.

The lights of Oscoda City Beach as seen from the end of the pier stretching out into Lake Huron.
 Of course, we all knew in the back of our minds that at the end of our adventure, we'd have to climb back up the 294 steps to the top. However, we took our time doing that, and made sure to take advantage of the many landings with park benches on them to rest so we wouldn't get over-taxed. It worked. We all made it to the top safely without doing too much huffing and puffing. LOL I mean, we are all in our 50's now!

The day ended as nicely as it started. The 6 of us stopped at an overlook area and took more pics, then visited the last dam on the river (Foot Dam) and checked out the fishermen along the shore. We then ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant nearby where the food was really good. When dinner was finished, we drove into downtown Oscoda were we all walked out into Lake Huron on the new boardwalk/pier the city had just built. Then, following several hugs, the 6 of us parted ways--they back to their campground for one more night, and us for our trip home. Before we got on the road,  Tom & I decided to drive 2 blocks to where I'd heard a childhood friend of mine was working. She and I hadn't seen each other in at least 15 years, during which time her hubby had moved them around the country several times, had several affairs on her, and finally told her earlier this year that their 28 year marriage was over because he'd found someone else. They have 2 kids in their late teens. My friend and her daughter moved back to Oscoda where a lot of her family lives, and her son stayed with his dad in California. My friend had to pick up her broken life and start over again. I know this year has been especially tough for her, but it appears she's picked up the pieces of her life and is standing on her own 2 feet again. We gave each other several big hugs (she was shocked to see me!), and she finally got to meet Tom. It was only a 15 minute visit, but there was so much emotion there. She gave me her phone number, and I plan to stay in touch with her now that she's in Michigan again.

That's the end of Part 2, and the end of our trip up north. Next time, I'll post some pics from our visit to an area cider mill last Sunday. We took Dante with us, and he was a lot of fun!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Saturday Visit up North!

Well, Tom and I made it home safely from our "up north" day trip Saturday. We had a blast with our friends up there and got in A LOT of exercise too.

(NOTE:  Those of you who are Facebook friends with me have probably already seen the photos in this post. But at least here on Blogspot, I can add additional background information and comments, so please bear with me.)

The first half of the day was lightly raining and misting, which didn't bode well for our lighthouse tour, but undaunted, we took the tour anyway and really enjoyed it. The first lighthouse constructed on Tawas Point in 1852 was 3/4 of a mile inland from where the current lighthouse stands. At the time it was built, it was located on the water's edge of the Point. However, due to sand piling up and extending the Point into Lake Huron, the current lighthouse was built farther out in 1876. At that time IT was also at water's edge, but today, due to the same sand build-up, it is 1/2 mile inland from the point of this ever-lenghtening peninsula. The Coast Guard stopped using the current lighthouse to warn mariners in 1946.

The current lighthouse is located in Tawas State Park on the Tawas Point Peninsula.

The view from the top of the lighthouse on a gray, misty day. Notice how far out the water is in Lake Huron.

Our tour guide was dressed in a pirate's costume and had a stuffed parrot on her shoulder. To the right is the current lighthouse light, which runs on electricity now.

Looking up the lighthouse tower. There were 84 tiny, spiral stairs to the top!

Surrounding the lighthouse were lots of Halloween decorations including a large, spooky cemetery, costumed locals, children's games in the "big tent" and other festivities. Like us, the locals and visitors were undaunted by the light rain, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

"I'll get you, my pretty! And your little dog, Toto, too!" LOL

Tom (on the right, just in case you weren't sure) having fun with a bony friend.

The second half of the day was dry and somewhat warmer and as we left East Tawas, we made our way to Oscoda where I used to live when I was a kid. It was great to see the town again and also our old house. Then we headed to Harrisville where 2 of our "river family" couples were camping in trailers at Harrisville State Park. It was a beautiful park with lots of trees and fall color still left. Our friends had secured side-by-side campsites at the end of a road right alongside Lake Huron. The park wasn't crowded, and Tom and I enjoyed walking along the beach with them, and on the way back, walking through the campground. Then we all gathered in 2 vehicles and headed inland to do some sightseeing almost an hour from the campground.

Having fun at Harrisville State Park beach on the Lake Huron shoreline.

I fell in love with this Cedar tree located on the site next to our friends' trailer. Yes, this is ONE TREE. Apparently, more and more new trees kept growing right out of the center of it until it looked like this. Really cool! All the trees you see in this shot are part of the same root system!

Our first stop as a group was at Five Channels Dam on the Ausable River. There are a total of 5 dams on the Ausable River between the cities of Gaylord and Oscoda, which is where the river empties out into Lake Huron. That afternoon, we got to see 4 of the dams, and the scenery was gorgeous (way hillier than we expected!).  Some of the dams were barely pumping any water; others had water gushing out into the river! Five Channels dam as seen below, wasn't pumping out much water at all.

Five Channels Dam

I think I'll publish what I've posted so far, and continue with additional stories and pictures from the second half of our trip later on this week. I surely don't want to overwhelm anyone with my consistently lengthy posts. (Me? Talk a lot? Why, surely you jest! LOL)

NEXT POST: the biggest tour attraction of our trip, Iargo Springs, Mother Nature's magical, peaceful, crystal-clear, water flowing wonderland. (And all you had to do was descend a measly 294 stairs to see it, and 294 stairs to get back to the top!)

Friday, October 19, 2012


Remember a couple months ago when I probably mentioned how cool it was that our grandson had discovered his little voice and was making lots of cooing and squealing sounds? Well, now that he's a little over 5 months old, those same sounds have turned into the loudest, longest, high-pitched screeches you'd ever want to hear, to the point where Tom & I have been tempted to cover our ears! Seriously!  LOLOL And after each screech, he looks at us with excitement and a HUGE smile on his face as if to say, "Did you HEAR that? Wasn't that just SO cool?" Oh my gosh. Dante now makes our loud, obnoxious cockatiel sound like an on-duty Librarian. Goodness!

Tom and I are looking forward to leaving our house at 8 a.m. tomorrow to spend the day visiting the cute little Lake Huron shoreline towns of East Tawas, Oscoda, Greenbush and Harrisville. We'll only be up in that area for the day (should be home by 11 p.m. tomorrow night), but we're excited to get up to my "old stomping grounds" as I used to live in Greenbush when I was a kid, and I attended Oscoda schools. I love that area for the beauty and tranquility of its many rivers, inland lakes, and Lake Huron. We try to get back up there at least once or twice/year. It's my second home, and I hope we can retire up there some day (although our desire would be to become "snowbirds," spending the winter months in a warmer climate with very little snow, if any). Look out, Miss Sally! Once we retire, you could be having winter house guests. LOLOL

Anyway, I'll try to take some pictures and will post some of them when we return.

My brother and his wife invited us to go to a cider mill with them early Sunday afternoon, and we're looking forward to it. We haven't visited a cider mill yet this fall, so I guess it's about time we get off our butts and pay one a visit. The one my brother has chosen is 45-50 minutes from our house, and we've never been there before. We plan to take Dante with us so he can enjoy all the sights and sounds--a petting farm, a wagon ride, the patrons, and maybe some pumpkin picking. He won't remember any of it a week from now, and will probably sleep through some of it, but he'll have fun anyway. And who knows? If the petting farm houses peacocks, hawks, and/or other fowl, maybe he can launch into one of his high-pitched SCREECHES and have a full-on conversation with them! Now wouldn't that be fun? Then we can start calling him Dante "Doolittle." LOLOL

Hope all of you have a fun weekend too, making sure to take time to relax in between everything else I'm sure you have scheduled. Blessings!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Great Nephew and Tiger Baseball

Whew! I finally got caught up with reading everyone's blogs from the past couple of weeks. I hope I'll be able to STAY caught up, but with our crazy-busy lives, one just never knows.

We've had a lot going on lately it seems. A couple of weekends ago, we attended a family engagement party at a fancy-schmancy banquet facility on a golf course (we had a blast!). It was good to see, and hang out with, some of  my hubby's family who we rarely get to see. The next night, we attended a wedding and reception for a good friend of my husband's that he's known since 2nd grade. Tom (hubby) was a groomsman, and his youngest brother was the best man. One of my nephews played music during the wedding on his guitar, and my youngest sister-in-law and I got to carry up the Holy Communion elements during the wedding service. A good majority of my hubby's family attended, and at the reception hall, we took up 5 or 6 tables...chairs on both sides! There was good food and lots of dancing. Fun, fun, fun!
Tom & I at his friend, John's, wedding.

Last Friday, Tom & I decided we needed a night out and some alone time (which is tough to get nowadays with our daughter, her fiancee' and grandson living with us), so he took me out to dinner at a very reasonably-priced restaurant about 20 minutes from home that we've always wanted to visit, then we spent the night at a hotel down the street from it. This place was absolutely adorable, and very reasonably priced too. The interior furniture was all Amish--beautiful light-colored pine dressers, nightstands and a headboard. (I would have loved to have that furniture in OUR bedroom here at home!) The hotel was also on a lake and had a 120' long, covered, log deck/patio running along the back of it with a small swimming area, a paddle boat, feed for the duckies on the lake, a nice dock with patio furniture, etc. Several of the rooms had doors that opened onto the patio/lake. Ours didn't, but all guests are welcome to hang out on the patio, and so we did. We fed the duckies and had a great night.

The next day was cold and rainy, so once we got home, we slept a lot. Then, in the evening, we got together at a friend's house down the street with our Rifle River family. The "gang" usually tries to get together every couple of weeks just to hang out, share a few drinks, and LOTS of laughs. LOL We watched the Detroit Tigers play baseball on a 60" TV (we need to get one of those giant things!!!) and were happy that they won the game. They've continued to play well and, who knows? We might be playing in the World Series starting next week! We sure hope so! Go, Tigers!

On Monday of this week, Tom's nephew and niece-in-law had their first baby, a boy they named Anthony Michael. Tom & I went to see him, and his parents, Monday night at the hospital. We got to hold him and he was just SO cute! Unfortunately, two days later, he had to be transported to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor because he has 2, possibly 3, very major medical problems. It truly broke our hearts to hear this. He will probably need heart surgery and who knows what else, and even then, it isn't known yet if he will be OK. If all of you could PLEASE keep baby Anthony in your prayers, it would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Hubby, Tom, holding newly-born baby Anthony on Monday evening.

 This upcoming Saturday Tom & I plan to leave early in the morning and drive 3 hours to East Tawas on the Lake Huron coast. A few of our river family friends will be camping up there all weekend. We plan to meet up with them Saturday morning and spend the day traveling around the area...exploring. Then we'll leave to come home  Saturday night, probably around 8 p.m. My camera isn't all that great, but I'll bring it with me and try to get some pics. We plan to go inside the  Tawas Point lighthouse (which is only open to the public a few times each year) which, as I understand it, gives beautiful panoramic views of Lake Huron and the city of Tawas. We also plan to visit two natural springs along the Ausable River (the 2 springs are almost next to each other), and possibly Lumberman's Monument, which is a park with a huge statue of 3 or 4 loggers as a tribute to the early logging industry down the Ausable River in Michigan. Now, let me mention, that at both the Spring, and the Monument, the best way to see all the attractions is to walk down to the river itself. HOWEVER, each trip is almost 300 stairs ONE WAY. Tom & I aren't the most physically fit people, so if we try this, we might have to take some breaks coming BACK UP the stairs. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the landscapes; I'm NOT looking forward to climbing all those stairs back to the parking lot. We'll see how that goes. Toward dinnertime, the 6 of us plan to go to a really nice restaurant along the Ausable River in the town of Oscoda. I grew up in Oscoda for some years as a kid, and I'm always just SO tickled to get back up there and say, "Hello" to my old stomping grounds. It should be a good time.

On the homefront: Angela quit the Vet Tech job at that nasty place with all the hateful people. Two days later, she was hired in at one of the best, most quality-oriented vet hospitals in the area, and she has been happy as a lark every since. It has taken her 3 years, and several jobs, to find an awesome place to work where the employees care about QUALITY, not just quantity. The owners and managers at this new place respect and care for all the employees, and they, in turn, respect management and each other. Most of the employees have been there for 10 - 20 years, so you know it's a nice place to work. Ang can get health insurance after 90 days, a scrub allowance of $100 per year, sick days, vacation time, vet discounts for all our pets, and BONUSES at the end of each year. The owners even give a nice employee party at Christmas. FINALLY, she is happy in her vocation, and we see her staying in this place for a long time to come. Equally, the managers and co-workers like Angela too.  :-)   Ang has also found an incredible day care gal to watch Dante while she works. This gal is local, and came recommended by a friend of one of our sister-in-laws. She only watches 3 or so kids, and on different days, so they all get plenty of attention from her. Dante really likes her too!

Jason just moved on from his job of the past 6 months (where the boss was a disrespectful, mean idiot), and is now working for a father and son construction company. Right now, they are building several modular homes in a residential neighborhood--doing all the work from start to finish--so Jason will learn A LOT in his field. So far, he really likes the bosses, and they seem to like him. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this will be an excellent job for him.

Tom's job is...well...slower than molasses. They really haven't had any substantial work to do for probably a month or more. We keep waiting for the hammer to come down saying the owners will be closing the place, and/or moving the operations to their plant in Mexico. He continues to look for a new job, but again, he isn't finding anything in his field except for a few positions out of state. It's frustrating for him!

My job at the church is going just fine. It is a pleasure to work with the friendly, kind-hearted, and well educated theologian of a pastor that we have now. He and his wife/kids live down the road from us. Angela & I have been sharing a car since she's been working, and pastor is always saying, "Do you need me to pick you up on my way in to work tomorrow?" And if I need a ride, he's so happy to give me one. What a sweetheart that man is.

As for Dante, our wonderful grandson, he is 5 months old now and just a bundle of joy. That kid always seems to be smiling and laughing with, and at, us. He cracks us up! He LOVES being outside, and riding in the car to various places. He also likes music and having us dance with him. He's no problem to take places because EVERYTHING is interesting to him, and so he's never bored. He hasn't started crawling yet; is almost turning over on his own; is starting to hold his bottle when he eats; and actually stands up pretty well (when he wants to) with us holding his arms. Oh, and he also loves both our dogs. He just looks at them and starts smiling, even if all they're doing nothing more than sitting on the couch next to him (which is what they do

That's it for the latest news in our lives. Whew! It's way past my bedtime, so I need to hit the hay. Hope all of you have a wonderful remainder of the week! Hugs!