A Bear, A Beer, and a Bit of a Scare

Friday morning we loaded up the car, picked up my mom, and hit the road, heading north to Bellaire, MI. We were meeting my brother, SIL, niece, and SIL’s mother there for the start of our vacation! And after four hours, we did.

But first, we saw a bear. Like a real one, just standing by the road, looking all bear like and big. I was happy to be in the car! Then, just a whole ten minutes down the road we arrived at our first stop, Grass River Nature Preserve for a hike, and I was not as happy. That bear could be there too! Or another one. Or many others. And I am sure there were! When I went into the visitor’s center I mentioned it to the woman working and she was stunned that we saw one, which did not make me feel any better. She told me that it is really unusual to see one during the summer and that it was probably heading to town to eat from a bird feeder. She did ask me to let her know if we saw it on our hike.

Our plan was to just take a short walk, about a mile, then head to Short’s Brewing for lunch before heading on to our cottage. It was a great little walk – I love the scent of pine needles and pine trees and the minute we got out of the car we enveloped in it. Our walk was quick, with the Galloping Grannies leading the group at a grueling pace (not really but it was very fast paced lol). The rest of us were moseying, looking around, spotting wonders in the underbrush. Like the mushrooms Dead Man’s Fingers! They are well named and rather creepy. My niece also entertained us with stories of glowing pink wolves and giant foxes that lived in the woods there, and overall it was a great walk through nature. We didn’t have time to explore the whole preserve but I am planning on going back to do just that!

We then drove the few minutes into Bellaire for lunch at Short’s. My brother had been there before but it was our first time. And it won’t be the last! It was absolutely delicious. I had the Someday sandwich, which was like a club sandwich, while Billy had pulled pork and Wyatt had the kids pizza bites, which he devoured. For beverages, I tried the Gitchy Gitchy, which is a Kolsch with lemon and cucumber. It was fantastic and refreshing. Billy had the Prolonged Enjoyment, which is an IPA. We went into the take out order area, and ate across the street in the lot where they have tables set up for outside dining. And promptly divided up into two camps – the full sun people and the shade people, or as my brother said, the sun people and the moon people. Lol.

Guess which camp I was in?

After a very filling lunch, conversation over a beer, and some shopping for howlers and growlers to take to our cottage (we got a howler of Sandia Loca, my brother got the Empress Catherine) we were back on the road.

We pulled up to our home away from home after about half an hour or so, and were so ready to just settle in and relax.

But we also were excited to check out the lake..some of us more than others.

Billy, Wyatt, Chrissy, and Mermaid Girl headed down the hill to the lake while the rest of us were doing I have no idea what. Probably checking out the rental. After a few minutes though, the rest of us headed outside too.

My brother, mom, and I were standing about halfway down, chatting about the lake and how pretty and all that when I heard a splash. I immediately was on the alert, and saw Wyatt being held by Billy on the dock and Chrissy patting his back. And knew that my kid had somehow fallen in. Wyatt can’t swim yet although he loves the water, and apparently he was reaching down for the water, lost his balance and fell off the dock! (Billy was sitting right next to Wyatt on the dock and was halfway in the water before Wyatt even made it to the water. He was in the water a second or two before Billy hoisted him up. I still of course had a heart attack) However, he was with two extremely fast acting adults who love him and jumped into action, with both Billy and Chrissy jumping right in after him, no hesitation. The water was shallow and clear and he was up and out in seconds. By the time I got there, he was trying to slide back in, the little otter. And since he was wet and it was shallow, we let him, but with many close eyes on him. And of course once he was in, it was game over, Mermaid Girl was in as well.

The water was warm and the kids had a blast, before we all headed up, showered the kids, and all settled in for the night.

And that was the end of day 1!