Even though Fall (Autumn) doesn't officially start until this weekend, the beginning of September is considered meteorological Fall. Once the Labor Day holiday has passed most residents of Michigan also fall into Autumn mode (pun intended).
There is actually a law in Michigan that public school districts can not start school until after the Labor Day holiday. I've heard various reasons why this is, some say it is because of the tourist industry, others because of farming. Either way because @mrsbozz and I both work in public education, that holiday weekend has usually implied the end of our camping adventures for the Summer.
However, the past two years many school districts have started applying for waivers from the state allowing them to start school before the Labor Day weekend. Since our district is one of those that has been approved, we have decided to extend our camping trips into the Fall this year.
This past weekend took us to Rifle River Recreation Area. It has been a while since we have camped here. It is actually a huge space covering over 4000 acres and having numerous rivers, streams, and ten lakes. One of the lakes has 75 modern (electric at the site) campsites and then three other areas have close to 100 more rustic sites.
I remember hearing that this property used to belong to a private hunting or fishing club and before the owner passed away he donated it all to the state to become the recreation area it is now.
The Rifle River itself is about 60 miles long and terminates into Lake Huron in the Northern part of Saginaw Bay. Many years ago it was a heavily used logging conduit, but now it is mostly used for sporting like fishing and canoeing. source
You are going to laugh, but I actually got zero pictures of the Rifle River on this trip. Saturday morning @mrsbozz got ready for her regular morning walk and I groggily rolled out of bed and agreed to go with her.
I was actually trying to get a shot of something else when I took this picture of Jovi. I am shocked it turned out so well. You can see her sporting a "pinch collar" here. It is much more humane than a choke collar that some people use for larger dogs. It can never close far enough to actually choke her. Instead there are dull spikes on it that kind of pinch her scruff the way a mother or father dog would with their teeth to remind her to keep in line.
She does so well just having the collar on, that it is very rare I need to apply any pressure to correct her. If she doesn't have the collar on she is almost too strong for us to control her on our own.
There are many trails in the park but we decided to stick to the road. Last time we tried to take Jovi on a trail walk we almost ended up lost in the woods on a trail that eventually fizzled into a dead end.
This creek was one of the first things we passed on our walk.
The speed limit on this road was 25 MPH but since it is kind of the off season, people were flying down it. With sharp corners like this, I was concentrating really hard on listening for approaching vehicles.
Eventually we hit this straight-a-way and continued down it a bit before deciding we should probably head back.
You might notice in the past two pictures that the leaves are starting to turn on the trees already.
I have a feeling it won't be long before we are having to deal with this kind of weather.
Several sources have already given me information that it is going to be a particularly harsh Winter. Even more so than last year when some districts in the state were off school for close to a month because of snow, ice, and cold weather days.
Hopefully it won't be that bad, but I guess only time will tell...
We made our way back into the camping area and I grabbed this shot of Grousehaven Lake as we were walking by.
Rifle River Recreation Area is a great place to camp or visit with many options for camping and recreation depending on your preference.
I highly recommend visiting the park, just plan on spending a couple of days there, and make sure you take a kayak or canoe down the river, it is a relaxing trip!