Our First Hike

Our First Hike

Kelley and I had always dreamed on having a home near water when we retired.  A place where we could sink down solid roots and flourish after many years of working and building a life for our family in the Detroit and the Grand Rapids areas.  So, on weekends we’d go exploring.  My grandmother’s stories of spending summers on Pickerel Lake brought us up into Newaygo, a place we had never visited.  Being my husband was originally from Manton, we had always envisioned building our dream home in the Cadillac area. However, we knew at first hike right where we would transplant.

Pettit Lake Rd was a newly paved road 9.5 miles west of 131 off of M82 and the living community was just being developed.  We parked our car as close as we could get on that sunny spring day four years ago.  We hiked up the piles of sand to reach the lake.  It glistened like a blue gem surrounded in a setting of budding oaks, red-leafed maples, and white pine. Standing on a particularly high hill of sand, we heard one of the most beautiful sounds nature gives.  A single loon calling out.  We knew at that moment that this was it.  After exploring what had once been a Boy Scout then church summer camp- checking out the remnants of buildings and structures, we ventured out into the lake.  Rolling up our jeans, we waded into the cool water, sinking our toes in the sandy bottom.  My heart swelled as I realized that we had found our future.  Driving into city of Newaygo, the charming, small town feel made inspired us. Treating ourselves to ice cream cones (downtown Newaygo near Muskegon River), we strolled to the bridge and watched the river rush underneath.  

Fire by the Lake

4 years later: Kelley and I are so happy to be here. Newaygo County has everything we had wanted. Whether we hike, snowshoe, or X-country ski a trail next to the Muskegon river or on the NCT, go kayaking, swimming, or biking, or just sit and appreciate the song of the loon as we sit by a fire, we know our roots are thriving.  As we get to meet more people in the area, we find kindred spirits here who love this county’s wilderness and work to keep her beauty for all who are looking for deep, nourished roots.  

by Katie Clark

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