The Great Camp

In the time honored tradition of the great Robber Barons, the 20 Prospect is sojourning at our Northwoods Camp.

Great Camp Sagamore of the 20 Prospect Family

Great Camp Sagamore of the 20 Prospect Family

Sure, it’s a bit much. But we’ll have close to 30 relatives, cousins, and inlaws in attendance. We need the space.

Actually, we will not all be under one roof. (Thankfully). This will be our fourth summer in the U.P., after having to say goodbye to the resort in St. Germain, Wisconsin, when it was sold to a developer. Damn developers.

The real cabin

The real cabin

Hopefully this little Mom & Pop place will be around for many years to come, because there is no shortage of Great Camps on the Cisco Chain of Lakes. I am amazed by the money that has gone into some of these places. The gilded age has nothing on our recent history. Yes, you too can build a Northwoods home that would make a Vanderbilt blush so long as you qualify for our easy credit terms…

No thanks. I prefer to rent our little 2 bedroom cabin for a week. Still, the view from the front porch is something a Rockefeller would appreciate.

The view from the Front Porch

The view from the Front Porch

I have to say, I really do love the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It reminds me so much of northern N.Y., and the Adirondacks. And the best part is that Watersmeet is far from being some gentrified resort town. In fact, it could use a little bit of $. Home to about a thousand hardy souls, the biggest employer in the area is an Indian Casino. The town is even pseudo famous thanks to their local High School sports team.

You see back in the late 90’s, ESPN decided to run a piece on the “weirdest nicknames” for High Schools. The Watersmeet Nimrods topped the list. Nimrod, despite it’s connotation, is actually a biblical name for “great hunter”. A logical nickname for a school in the north woods. Until Bug’s Bunny decided to taunt Elmer Fudd by calling him a “Nimrod”, which subsequently found its way into our vernacular as an insult. (I wonder if the University of Chicago Maroons suffered the same fate?)

Go Nimrods!

Go Nimrods!

Anyway, the piece resulted in several ironic promo’s poking fun at the “backwards” inhabitants who cheered for their Nimrods. But Watersmeet to their credit, did not shy away from the exposure. They proudly embraced their notoriety. Enter a film crew from the Sundance TV network, who filmed an 8 part documentary during the Winter of 2004-2005 on the Nimrod basketball team, and the life of the town in the Winter months. It was very sympathetically done, and shows as honest a portrait of small town life as Winesburg, Ohio or Spoon River Anthology. The series was called Nimrod Nation and it is now out on DVD. I highly recommend it.

Despite their 15 minutes of fame, Watersmeet remains an unspoiled place. A cross road town on Hwy 2, it’s unlikely to ever see much money from the developers. The main employers seem to be the nearby Indian Casino and the State Highway Department. Most of the properties going up in the woods are private homes that only provide a few construction jobs, maybe some work as caretakers or cleaners for the locals, and some extra $ to the tax base. Not much to feed a family on.

So that’s our summer get away. To be honest, we spend most of our time lakeside.. Fishing, swimming, kayaking, and getting out for a daily bike ride on the back roads.

Night fall ends with a campfire for the young’uns and a game of Kaluki for the old folks.


4 thoughts on “The Great Camp

  1. Thanks for the tutorial on the word nimrod. I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed to learn it has a positive connotation.’

    Have a wonderful get-away. It looks perfect.

    • I highly recommend camping. And by camping I mean “staying in a cabin with heat and running water”. I don’t do sleeping on the ground so well since I turned 30.

      Actually, the night I turned 30 was the last real camping trip I took. We were in a tent when a storm blew in, with lightning and tornados and such. We had to quick throw everything into the back of the jeep, and sit in the front seat until the storm blew over. We eventually fell asleep in the car, woke up at 4 am, looked at each other and said “screw it, let’s go home”. The funny part is that the storm knocked down all sorts of tree branches in the campground while we were sleeping, so we had to get out and clear the road to get home. Got home around 7am, and went to bed and slept till noon. It’s been hotel rooms, and cabins ever since.

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