My son Fisher and I snuck down to San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua for a couple weeks and returned to 30 and 40 degrees below zero temps in Traverse City this past Thursday in March. The Pacific Ocean and the air temps were both in the nineties. The disparity in climate was remarkable.
Incidentally, emotional survival in Northern Michigan depends on two things: Getting outdoors everyday when you are here and getting out of here at least once a month, preferably on a large jet heading anywhere South of Cuba and North of Brazil.
And so Fisher and I this past Tuesday having returned to Michigan sundrenched and road weary chose to climb aboard two of our fat tire bikes from the rental fleet at 231 Outfitters and cross what’s left of the ice on West Bay. Several soakers welcomed us home. We rode the TART trail from Clinch Park to Sabin Dam restlessly anticipating getting on the Boardman River for the first time in 2015. We loaded into our Jackson Riviera Kayaks 50 feet or so above the river just below the soon to be removed Sabin Dam and slid slightly too fast on the snow and ice down a steep bank hitting the near freezing water in a splash. Indeed, we were home.
The Boardman River and its tributaries run 130 miles rising in the mysterious Mahan swamp in Kalkaska finally dumping into the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay in downtown Traverse City and boasts a history involving blue ribbons and tales of Hemingway. Ponding from the 2 remaining decrepit hydroelectric dams only allowed us a three mile paddle below Sabin Pond before we hit the two feet of ice blanketing Boardman Lake. We witnessed a litter of newborn Beavers along the East Bank just above the bird sanctuary at County owned Medalie Park. This harsh winter wreaked havoc on the swans and several were curled up lifeless in branches of downed trees. One of the coldest winters on record. My son chirped, “Be not afraid”.
We got out of the River at the old YMCA property and I became flooded with nostalgia. Winter 2015 was severe and pitiless, again.
Nevertheless, the universe gifted us this paradise 2000 miles north of Nicaragua, so lets get outdoors in all the seasons and make some memories!