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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!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Some of my readers seem to think that the position Dan and I have accepted at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is something permanent and have asked what will happen to our park, Clementz's Northcountry Campground and Cabins.

WE WILL JUST BE CLOSING FROM MID OCTOBER AND RETURNING HOME BY MID APRIL. Our business will be open from mid May then to the following mid October. We don't know if going away for the winter is going to be something we do every year or not. That will depend on when the economy recovers.

Staying open in the winter for snowmobilers use to be fun. There was a LOT of business and times were good. But we all know what a bad economy Michigan has had for SEVERAL years and each season seems to get worse and worse. Even with the price of fuel being so "low" this winter, things are bad. Motels all over up here are hurting for winter business. It use to be, oh, up until about 3-4 years ago, that Dan and I had a waiting list two pages long of people wanting to reserve with us between Christmas and New Years. Now we are thrilled if we can just manage to have our cabins and Lodge rented for that time frame, even if it is only 3 nights instead of 5 or 6.

So, the economy, couple with what fuel costs have been the past couple of winters, has knocked the wind our of our sails (and I'm not just talking OUR business, but the whole U.P. winter business...and now it is bad ALL over, not just Michigan).

If things get straightened around and get back to even close to the way it use to be, we probably will stick around for winters again, but we know that 2009-2010 late fall and winter we will NOT be here.

Yesterday, we had a phone call from a State Park in Florida (and I can't even tell you which one it was...seems like it started with a "P"). They had a position for us starting next month! I explained we wouldn't be available this year so he said they'd keep us on file for next winter. He also had to rub it in that it was 74 degrees and he was running the a/c in the office. He went on to say that he has friends in Traverse City so he had an idea of what kind of winter weather Michigan was having. That 74 degrees sounded pretty darn good!


  1. Cathy, Merry Christmas to you and Dan and to all your readers. Thank you for all your blogs. That are great fun. I wish you the best as you embark on this new path. But no 74 degrees for this winter, eh?

  2. SBW, Thanks! And Merry Christmas to you too! I'm glad you enjoy the blog. And thanks for your best wishes on our upcoming adventure!

    Believe me, I asked Dan yesterday if it was too late to drain all the water lines, etc, buy that 5th wheel and head to Florida! But we have community commitments even if we COULD get things ready to go! Darn!!

  3. Anonymous9:19 PM

    Cathy, It sounds very exciting. the change will be nice for you and sounds like it may be quite an adventure. Let us know how it goes


  4. Skidoo Queen...where in the heck ARE you guys?? I haven't heard a peep out of you in ages! Last I knew you were some place on the western end of da U.P.

    We ARE very excited about this...me probably more so than Dan. I DO believe he will miss grooming. Like Bob says "It gets in your blood."

    Drop a line sometime!


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