The Middle Island Keepers' Lodge is in a former fog signal building on majestic Lake Huron, between the North Point of Thunder Bay and Presque Isle in Alpena County, Michigan. A tour of Middle Island's lighthouse is included with every stay. Click here for details.
2009 was a different kind of year. I never saw a lake rise almost two feet in a few months (let alone a Great Lake) and then recede at least one foot in the fall. I guess you could say that it was a cleansing summer with all the rain we received. So goes the Earth's natural cycles.
Middle Island Light Station did get a bit of a face lift this year, and the rain played an important part. During late July and early August, the area around the keepers' quarters was actually covered with sixty (+) yards of topsoil. "How did we get such a large amount of topsoil 2 1/2 miles from the mainland?” you ask. Lots of manpower!
The topsoil came in the form of some 1,560 forty-pound plastic bags. The bags were ferried to the island aboard Island Freighter II. Rod Olson, Jack Olson, and Larry Frantz helped for two full days as we made approximately fifteen trips. We had just enough calm waters to get the black soil moved. Waves, in the form of rollers, were wrapping around the island as we were finishing our last trips. The water depth in front of the Keepers' Lodge was shallow where we unloaded, so it is fortunate that the wind was from the south.
Once all the topsoil was over to the island, there was a sigh of relief. The fun, however, was just beginning. Some workers (four then later five) came from Hancock, Michigan, and were arriving at Rockport Harbor to hitch a ride to the island. They came to help spread the topsoil, plant grass, plant trees and flowers, etc. around Middle Island's Light Station. The landscaping materials and other supplies took an additional four trips to the island from Rockport. After five days of continuous labor, there were twenty trees planted, about thirty flowers and shrubs planted, and a lot of grass seed spread. It was a successful week with no real hitches. The rain held off so that we could get the job done. Later, we received numerous showers to get all the vegetation growing again. Thank you, God.
I took a skid loader to the island to extend a rock pier in front of the Keeper's Lodge. We unloaded topsoil on that pier. Including prep work, mobilization, and demobilization, the whole topsoil project took fourteen days. Many thanks are given to Rod, Jack, and Larry for helping make this project happen.
We had numerous lodge customers "tough it out" and stay the night at the lodge this summer. A group of two couples were staying the night when we were moving the topsoil to the island. They seemed to like watching the activity and even helped out a bit. A family from Waterford, Michigan, had proven that the cormorants did not eat all the fish around the island. They caught at least three good sized small mouth bass by the life saving station. They took lots of pictures. I think that family had a great time. That was the third time this nice family from Waterford made it to the island. Don't forget to bring your poles, and take advantage of the free boat usage as well!
Another suggestion I would like to add: You could see a lot of interesting underwater landscape if you bring a snorkel, mask, and fins on your next trip. Wet suit is optional. The sinkhole, Portsmouth and limestone formations are very cool to look at and are all on the north side of the island. A group of SCUBA divers from the Grand Rapids area had a terrific weekend on the island this year. They enjoyed four local shipwrecks while staying two nights. I was pleasantly surprised to see more guests staying two nights (+) this year. It takes more than just one night to relax and unwind.
I do appreciate repeat customers and want to thank everyone for spreading the word about the uniqueness of Middle Island. As a token of my appreciation, I would like to give ten percent off the 2010 rates to anyone that has already stayed at the lodge. Also, new customers can stay with us any Monday-Thursday evening, and we'll give you 10% off yoru entire stay!
So book your vacation now, for the 2010 summer is bound to be a good one!
-- Capt. Mike