July 4-6, 2018
F. J. McLean State Park is right on the shore of Lake Michigan. So much so that part of the campground is now IN Lake Michigan. A past winter storm took out part of their camp road and some campsites. Their bathhouse was close to going in so they had to take it down and set porta-a-potties in its place. It’s weird to walk along a road and see it just disappear off the edge of the shoreline. When I booked the site they told me there would be no bathhouse but we were pleasantly surprised to find their newly built and very spiffy bathhouse ready for business.
Upon arrival at our site, we piled out of the camper house and were immediately swarmed by biting flies. We quickly jumped back in to add clothing to cover as much skin as possible. We later heard that they are stable flies and they just like to eat your ankles so as long as you wear socks and long pants, you’re good. Well, one didn’t get that memo because I had a big swollen bite on my neck. He’d probably been watching vampire movies through someone’s camper windows and had delusions of grandeur. We put up our screen house just in time for the wind to change. Then the flies were gone and we were left with nothing but memories… and big itchy welts.
Now that we were properly attired, we headed out to check the very nice views. The park has Adirondack chairs set along the shore at random intervals. One set was right there in front of our campsite. Those chairs just call to you to come and sit awhile; watch the waves; perhaps stay for a truly beautiful sunset.
F.J. McLean is positioned well for touring the Keweenaw Historic Area. It is about 20 minutes to Calumet and the same to Hancock… when the bridge is open. Due to that recent 500 year flood the bridge to Hancock was out so all our travels took us up through Calumet then down into Hancock and Houghton. The park has hiking trails and a very nice picnic area and runs all the way down to the breakwater where the canal hits Lake Michigan. Near the breakwater is their concessionaire who sells gifts and really good ice cream. It is owned by the same lady that owns the shop at Fort Wilkins so between the two, I guarantee we helped her sales numbers for July (Macinac Island Fudge ice cream… who could say no?)
Chloe was able to get into a few of the park naturalist programs and had a good time. We did the scavenger hunt together and she soloed on the Sasquatch Hunt. The naturalist took the kids out to look for “signs” of Sasquatch. They followed his carefully laid trail and happily analyzed the signs of Sasquatch until he totally grossed them out by finding Sasquatch poop and used his definitive test for ascertaining if it was genuine… he tasted it. EWWW GROSS! I have no idea what he used as the poop but he made some lasting memories with the kids on that hike.W