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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!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Nothing tastes better than breakfast cooked outside and Dan is an excellent camp cook. He has a little propane stove that we take with us. We don’t use the heavy propane stove that came with the camper. It gets left at home for two reasons; 1. Because it IS so heavy it is extra weight we don’t need to carry around and 2. We don’t cook inside the camper because we don’t want it smelling like food. Remember, it is just a pop up camper. If and when we decide to sell it or trade it, we want it to be as close to new as we can keep it.

Anyway, Dan loves to cook on cast iron and food DOES taste so much better that way. So after our breakfast, showers, etc we went to the visitor center of BSF to see what nature/hiking trails we could explore that day, etc. While we were there, we made our reservations for the next day to take the train ride from Stearns, Ky into the gorge and to the coal mining camp. Since we hadn’t brought a lot of groceries with us, we thought we should go into Oneida and do some shopping. This route would take us the opposite way of the route we came in on; same road but continuing on NE. (BTW, groceries are about ½ the cost anyplace we shopped compared to what we pay here at home)

We stopped at one of the “scenic areas” along the bottom of the gorge (photos will be included with this story) and were amazed at HOW LOW the water was! There is an 8’ wide foot bridge that crosses the river. Along side that bridge is a marker of the water depth. The marker shows that the bridge is about 12’ above the water and we had to basically get down on our knees to see what the actual water depth was….about 3 feet from what we could gather. It SHOULD be at least 8-10 feet!

We ventured on into town…which is a downhill trip…with signs along the way reminding you to watch for falling rocks and falling limbs (not to mention there should be signs for falling walnuts). On the way back, it was all UPHILL and the hairpin turns at 10 mph became more like a cotter key instead of a hairpin. Our truck has 6 low gears and I think Dan used about 5 of them…and we were not pulling anything. And you could hear the tires kind of “skitter” as we were making our way around one of those turns and headed uphill at a 45° slant. There wasn’t anyway I could take photos because my right hand was busy hanging on to the “grab bar” in an effort to stay in my seat. All I could think was “How in the hell did those people get those horse trailers and horses up here? They HAD to come in from the other side.” In my mind, all I could see was a load of horses with their bodies leaning forward and their hooves dug in to the floorboards. I figured by the time these critters got to the top, there would be enough manure for everyone’s gardens that lived in a 20 mile radius plus the horses would probably have colic to boot.

When we got back to the campground, I asked some of the “horse people” camping there if people actually came that way with their trailers and horses. They said most people do not but last year a trailer with 4 horses went over the side coming up that way. One of the things that I feel BSF should do is to put a warning sign advising people with RV’s to NOT use that road…to come in from the other way. Once you are on that road, you ARE committed. There is no where to turn a big rig around. Keep that in mind if ya ever go!

Well, since we are home, Dan is no longer camp cook and it is about breakfast time, so this will be all for today. I guess I will try to title these “stories” as 2nd installment, 3rd, installment, etc…Hope you all have been checking and I haven’t lost any readers in my absence!

The photo above is the vehicle bridge over the gorge.

The 2nd photo gives you an idea of how low the water is. There should be water everywhere. The 3rd photo also gives you an idea of how low the water is...and how clear it is. As I said, I THINK the depth was about 3 feet, if that.

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