This past weekend, we ventured out to our first camping trip of the season. We’ve been wanting to check out the Jack Pine campground at Ludington State Park since we discovered it on our first visit to the park several years ago. What really intrigued us about this campground is that it is a hike-in campground a mile from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. We were really looking forward to this because it would allow us to stay at the lighthouse later and photograph it during blue hour without worrying about our car getting locked in the day use area parking lot. The light didn’t end up being as phenomenal as we were hoping, but it was nice to spend sunset on Lake Michigan. We absolutely loved our campsite (site F). It was secluded and quiet but also close to the road to the lighthouse. One night wasn’t enough. We will have to make plans to stay at this campground again sometime soon!
If any of you are heading to the Jack Pine campground, one tip to know is that the path to the campground is actually a gravel road used to service the lighthouse. They say everything must be backpacked or biked in, but we brought a foldable wagon and it worked great and held more than a backpack would. While Chris’ arm got tired pulling it, I have to think it was easier than carrying everything on his back.
We recently decided to become members of the Belle Isle Conservancy. This was an interesting choice of membership because with a recreation passport, there is no fee to enter the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle. The reason we decided to join is because the Belle Isle Conservancy is part of the American Horticultural Society’s reciprocal admissions program. What does this mean? It means that we get free admission and free parking at botanical gardens all around the country including Windmill Island Gardens in Holland and Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. I’m hoping to find a garden to visit on our road trip this summer. Not to mention we are supporting Belle Isle and the restoration projects going on in the park. I strongly suggest photographers check out becoming a member of a local botanical garden to get the reciprocal access to gardens around the country!
This banana photo was taken in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle. When I walked by the banana plant, I thought the one partially eaten banana was interesting. And, I wondered, what inside the greenhouse would have eaten it?
Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the largest state parks in Michigan and is interesting because it is home to 49 acres of old growth pine forest with trees that are estimated to be between 350 and 375 years old. Somehow, these pines that was spared from northern Michigan’s booming logging industry in the 1800s. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built two buildings to house the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, which focuses on the history of logging in Michigan, back when Michigan was the largest producer of lumber in the United States.
The above photo shows the Hartwick Pines Chapel, also known as “Chapel in the Woods” which is a popular location for weddings in a natural environment. It is also a great spot for quiet meditation during your exploration of the park.