Gemini Lakes - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip
June 30, 2000 - July 2, 2000
y wife and I camped for two nights at the North Gemini State Forest campground. It was a great spot on the shores of North Gemini and South Gemini lakes, which are connected by a wide channel. After setting up camp we carefully carried our canoe down the steep bank to the water's edge and set off. It was a quiet body of water with little boat traffic. There seemed to be a few people fishing on the lake but I didn't see many fish.
The lake was very pretty and only a few houses marred the otherwise natural landscape. On the far end of South Gemini Lake a stream emptied out and a fallen tree blocks the path. As we paddled toward this stream I noticed movement on the tree, a closer look revealed a large snapping turtle, probably two foot in diameter, sliding into the water and out of sight.
As we continued around the lake we paddled into a bay and heard a splash. Was it a fish, a beaver, something else; we didn't know. The clarity of the water allowed us to see down into it and we noticed something swimming straight toward our canoe. Now skunks don't swim but whatever was swimming toward us was black and white and heading toward our bow. As it reached the bow it turned ninety degrees and headed straight along the side of the canoe. It was only then that we realized we were watching a loon. This bird swam like a fish and was surprisingly unafraid of us, surfacing within 30 feet of our boat and effortlessly swimming back and forth in this tiny bay. We stayed and watch for over 20 minutes and then paddled on leaving the bay to a loon that shared part of one day with us.
The campground is east and slighly north of Munising, just south of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There is a network of unmarked and unpaved forest roads leading to several state forest campgrounds. Get a good map and follow the signs to North or South Gemini campground.
Camping facilities are rustic, vault toilets are provided. Sites can be difficult to find on summer weekends, no reservations are accepted so get there early. Payment is made via a self-registration pipe at the entrance to the park.
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