By Rick Fowler, Great Lakes Energy member
Rick taught high school English in Boyne City for 34 years. For the past 25 years, he has been an outdoor freelance writer.


Russian-born comedian Yakov Smirnoff’s shtick includes his catchphrase, “America, what a country! ”As a life-long resident of Michigan if I ever find my way onto the outdoor speaking venue my shtick would be along the lines, “Northwest Michigan, what a beautiful piece of America!” Why wouldn’t I want to brag about this little area of our country?

Within 20 minutes of stepping out my door, I can fish for lake trout, brook trout, brown trout, walleye, pike and panfish. Within 20 minutes I can ply the woods for deer, bear and grouse.

Plus, I am only a few minutes away from paddling on exceptional kayak and canoe waters or hopping on a boat and going through a lock. Essentially, I have the ability to travel anywhere in the world on the waters which touch the shores of nearby lakes and rivers.

A few miles down the road from where I live, I can get lost on a two-track road. It’s not a panicky lost, but an exhilarating lost. Knowing that the little-used road will eventually lead me somewhere makes me want to keep advancing and not turn around just from the fear of being lost. I go slowly because if I go faster the sound is not the same. With additional speed, this venture would be more like a ride. I don’t just want a ride, I want an adventure. 

This is magical! THAT’S WHAT WE ALL CAN DO within minutes of our homes—seek the magic that waits in northern Michigan.

Within 20 minutes of my home, I can awaken all of my senses. It might just be the smell of wild grape hidden amongst the tag alder and aspen, decaying moss, leaves and grass or the essence of wildflowers wafting in the air. It might be the crash of some creature ambling through the woods, the sight of flocks of birds, rolling hills and the Windex blue of any of the lakes only minutes away.

Beautiful scenery, bountiful opportunities and a slate that can be filled every day without too much effort. How could anyone who lives in this two peninsula state ever utter the word boring?

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