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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Sunday, April 16, 2006


There is a lot of old stuff that I could cover getting to the point of this “how did you end up there?” question but I will try to keep it short and not bore you to tears.

As a child, my Mom and Dad brought me up here on vacations, kicking and screaming the whole way. I even remember coming to the U.P. before the Mighty Mac (the Mackinac Bridge) was built. Before the Mac, you had to take a car ferry from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace (the first place you come to across the Straits). I don’t remember seeing the bridge under construction, but I DO remember the trip to the U.P. after the bridge had been built and was open for traffic. My Mom and Dad had a HARD time convincing me that 5 mile bridge didn’t just go down into the water on the other side…that is how it looked to a 5 year old! Now, I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes whenever I have the opportunity to see Mighty Mac. We are only about 70 minutes away from The Bridge, but there really isn’t any reason for us to be in that area unless we are headed downstate (which isn’t often).

WAY back when, Dan, my hubby, use to come to the U.P. hunting “with the guys” (this was before we even knew each other) He grew to love the U.P.; the wilderness, the trees, the serenity of it all. Once we finally found each other (in 1981) and got married (1985) we told all of our friends “When the last kid graduates from high school, we are gone! We are moving to the U.P!!” (Dan had 2 sons and I had a daughter) Our friends, patient and true, all politely nodded and said “Sure you are.” Ben graduated in June 1992 and we moved in September 1992. Some of our friends are still slack jawed…especially MY family!

Since towns of any size are so far apart in our neck of the woods, we consider the Mighty Mac our driveway. As much as we enjoy going to see our family, we don’t enjoy going anyplace “below the Bridge” (downstate…which is where all of our family is). When we are making the return trip home, it puts such a joy in our hearts once we catch a glimpse of the spans of the Mighty Mac. We know it won’t be long and we’ll be back in da U.P! Just cross that expanse of 5 miles of bridge across the Straits and we’ll be back in da U.P! (For those of you who don’t know it, the Bridge crosses where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan “come together”)

I realize that doesn’t answer the “why” of how we ended up here. It is very difficult to explain. For me it is the natural beauty, the magnificent trees, the fragrance of the pines, the history; I enjoy nothing more than standing on the shore of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior or Lake Huron, closing my eyes and imagining the Native Americans paddling along the shoreline or paddling across the Straits. Or the thought of how the Native Americans honored the blessings and bounty of this area; how they hunted, how they survived. The history of Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City and Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island. (For much more info about the Forts, please go to www.hunts-upguide.com ), the solitude, no hustle and bustle (no 4 lane highways and darned proud of it!), the wildlife, the crisp, starry winter nights, occasionally being blessed with the incredible sights of the Northern lights…I could go on.

Before we did make the move, I was concerned that if I had this beauty around me all of the time that I might take it for granted and get to the point that I did not consider the U.P. the magnificent place that it is, but, I can assure you, that has not happened. It would literally kill me if I had to move anyplace south of The Bridge. And once YOU see Mighty Mac, you will ask yourselves, “WHY is such a fuss made over the Golden Gate Bridge??

Dan and I consider ourselves very privileged to have this opportunity to be a part of the wonders of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As our business motto states; “Just Put Yourselves in OUR Place!”

(If any of you have any U.P. experiences that you would share with the rest of us, or any thoughts, please feel free to post comments. Please feel free to post comments at anytime, but I know I have readers that feel the power and awe of crossing the Mighty Mac into the U.P….please share with us. And just a reminder; you can view past stories by clicking on the titles on the right hand side, or clicking on the archives also located on the left hand side)
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