Nordhouse Dunes: The Tale Of Two Sticks
Nordhouse Dunes: The Tale Of Two Sticks

Tuesday • May 21st 2024 • 11:56:08 pm

Nordhouse Dunes: The Tale Of Two Sticks

Tuesday • May 21st 2024 • 11:56:08 pm

I got out of the car and pulled out my backpack, hearing gravel beneath my feet made me happy.

This was my first visit to the Nurnberg Rd. end, of Nordhouse Dunes, and there were other hikers there.

For one I remember the Lumber Jacks, or the mess with the best die like the rest club of bearded real men.

And a young lad, with a broken heart, and movement that bespoke, ain’t my first rodeo.

Everyone suddenly stopped doing what they were doing, and eyed my cool survival belt.

That I built up, by putting on multiple colorful fanny packs, with all kinds of cool stuff inside them.

I had a little iPod with a cool poem about growing up, and though I lost it there, it probably made the finder keeper cry.

I mean it was a really nice audio poem, one of my fist, and it was about learning, growing up, and celebrating life.

As the pro hikes stopped staring at my cool gear, I went over to the information board to study it.

I’ve read everything in great detail, about the rules and bears, and promptly forgot it all.

I could have gotten in trouble, as later on, I took my bike to the trails, that is a big no-no, thankfully people left me alone.

I discovered brushes for boots o brush off foreign seeds, as not to introduce any new species to the ecosystem.

And I carefully, cleaned my jogging shoes, stepping into all the seeds that other hikes left behind with.

While they already begun filling up with ancient dune sand, as they had little netted windows that created a fun breeze when walking.

My fist rule of adventure is to stop at all the antique stores, no exceptions.

But my second rule, is to find the two sticks needed for survival, in the bush.

The walking stick, o more accurately, what was once a small tree, and now can stop both a brown bear and a couple of hillbillies named Cleatus.

And the sausage stick, which is even more important, and harder to find, as it needs to be both sturdy and pointy, quite the oxymoron in the woods.

I was lucky to find them before getting to the big hill, because back then, it was quite a climb, and I needed to take a break half way.

I had my programming diagrams with me, so that was rather convenient.

I was about a quarter way to the Lake Michigan shore, when I noticed a white spot far behind the trees.

I walked of the tail and begun making my way through the bush, thinking it was a dune, that would surely yield the lake.

After five minutes of bush whacking, and collecting all the spiderwebs, I needed more rest, and I was shocked to discover… a compass, as I was lost.

The bright-spot just turned out to be some well lit leaves in the distance, and there was nothing there but more trees.

Fifteen minutes later, after I managed to collect all the spider webs in the area, the bush pooped me out back on the earlier section of the trail.

A Bill Bryson looking man was chugging along the tail, noticed me come out the side and eyed at my spiderwebs with a curious expression.

“I got lost” – I explained, he didn’t say a word, thinking that I was dangerously special.

There was a couple of forks, and Knowing that Lake Michigan was on the left, I just tuned left, both times, remembering that old miner rule.

But now after all this time bushwhacking, I wondered how would that prevent someone from going in a circle.

At which point I came down a tall and narrow passage, just to be hit by the sunlight.

Not since my birth did I experience such a surprise, the woods simply ended!

And I was now blinking, in the middle of a sunny dessert.

My third rule of adventure, is to find a camping site with easy access to firewood.

Every camping spot at Nodhouse is beautiful, but the one I found had a fallen tree trunk.

That was dragged into an opening, and used as a group seat.

I clambered up the dune, and plopped on it, upon a quick check for bugs.

I took out my saw, and started mindlessly sawing a jagged chunk, knowing that I have a week’s worth of firewood under my butt.

Moments later, I had my tents up

Anti-mosquito stick incense smoking like chimneys, and enough bits of wood in my fire ring for dinner.

I waited for the sunset for a long time, and it was perfect, you could almost feel the edge of the universe.

I am a man of culture, I bring two tents, not once, have I ever been filthy in the woods.

But those who don’t like dragging a second tent, should know that twilight has just enough light, to bring privacy and see trouble coming from far away.

I stuck my walking stick into a hole some distance away from camp, and hung my lantern on it.

The lantern would keep all the active bugs moths, and spiders away, enchanting them to the bright LED light.

With my fire half way though a heavy chunk of a stump, I begun sharpening my other stick.

You want a nice thin long stretch, just about the length, of the evening sausage.

I make some cuts in the sausage, to rid the fat, and let it roast for a goodie long while

The stars were out, by the time I finished, which brings us to the fourth rule of adventure.

Unless you are staying up late, as I was to take in my first day.

Do not fight the nigh with a flashlight, not even the fire.

Have your dinner before it gets dark, and as the light of twilight fades, get ready to sleep.

You fall asleep in the woods, by listening to narrated adventure books, especially early on when every rustle causes concern.

Aim to wake up when the sun starts coming out, synchronize with the day and night.

No sunrise should ever go to waste... at Nordhouse it will be chilly, in the morning.

Animals will come to drink from the lake, it is quite a sight to behold.

And you will have to climb the dunes, and search for a break in the trees to get warmed up.


It is good time to plan for breakfast, and find some branches for the breakfast fire.


The Bryson look-alike would later cross paths with me, as I was carrying both my backpacks to the car.

I must have looked as beaded as the lumberjacks, and as mighty as Conan.

I had my mighty walking stick across my back, and both my packs (bedroom and bathroom) hung on each end.

And the boy with the shattered heart was back in one piece, he stayed over a month, and when we crossed paths at a narrow ledge of a dune.

He said, “Dude!”, to which I replied “Though Shall Pass”.

It turned out that I wasn’t the huge pussy that all assumed I was, and that the only people who left early - wouldn't you know it - were the lumberjacks.

Ladies and Germtermen, go camping, and stay as long as you can.

We area all too good, at bottling up stress and overworking ourselves into an early grave.

You won’t know how bad you have it, until after more than two weeks of camping.

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