We journeyed to the storied shoreline of western Michigan this past week for rounds of campground outreach at Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater, talking with other campers about their outdoor activities, favorite places, and gear preferences. Our pop-up was deployed directly on the leeward side of a 30 foot-high dune that protected us a little from the violent storm that swept across Lake Michigan on Thursday night. Early gusts of wind and the rolling thunder of distant lightning strikes roused campers to batten down the hatches. There was a frantic flurry of securing camp chairs, tables, grills, ice chests, and bicycles under sheltering tents and awnings. It was exciting to ride out the storm in our little E1, with rain drumming on our roof, strobes of lightning flashing, and thunder booming overhead. We stayed safe and dry while the campground was washed and refreshed.
On Friday, we drove further south down the Lake Michigan coast to the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum (GLNMM) in Muskegon for a Labor Day weekend event. The GLNMM mission is "to honor the people who have served and are serving the naval and maritime traditions of our nation, through education and historic preservation.” We were impressed with how well they are fulfilling their mission with the help of people like Dr. Mark Gleason, director of education for the museum. Mark is also the Leave No Trace State Advocate for Michigan, and we had an extended conversation with him about Leave No Trace–related initiatives at the museum.
The showpiece of the GLNMM is the USS Silversides (SS-236), a World War II era Gato Class submarine that was one of the three most accomplished subs of WWII. The Silversides history is truly remarkable, and GLNMM does a great job of interpreting the story of its wartime service in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Gary Reynolds, the museum’s Scouting Liaison and Silversides expert, gave us a great tour of the submarine on the evening of our arrival. We then had the privilege of spending the night in the officers’ quarters of the submarine, and of course, as part of our orientation, we were told about the ghost sightings of a lone uniformed submariner disappearing behind the periscope housing…
(…to be continued)
Peggy and Barrett