A snowshoe party on Chandler Hill

Posted on February 7, 2010

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Nancy and Glenn live over in Chandler Township, Charlevoix County–a community that makes Torch Lake Township look positively urban.  Today they had a chili and snowshoe/cross-country party.  Had a good day for it, too.

They served venison chili and vegetarian chili and cookies and brownies and blueberry cake.  People brought side dishes and more desserts.  There was fine sock-footed conversation around the fireplace, as is proper in the north country in the wintertime.   Hunters and vegetarians and cat lovers and bird watchers found common ground in opposition to vandals who would run construction equipment over a patch of showy ladyslippers.  

Then we all piled outside to play.  Glenn and Nancy have a grandchild.  [Oops.  Elliot the Adorable turns out to be Ted and Carol’s grandchild, not Glenn and Nancy’s.]  He was fascinated by his first snow, and almost as fascinated by my camera.  Every time the shutter whirred he turned beatific smiles in my direction—right after I took the photo.  It was uncanny.  I decided it was a little game we played.  He won.

Three quarters of Chandler Township is state land, and a lot of the rest appears to belong to Nancy and Glenn.  There was plenty of room to make cross-country trails and snowshoe trails through the woods and across the meadow, so we did.

There were Tourist Attractions along the way.  Well, interesting stuff anyway.  Looky here:

You could be forgiven for assuming this is a row of dishwashers in the snow, but this is not my house.  Glenn and Nancy have a row of beehives surrounded by barbwire  and electrified fence to discourage furry thieves.  Nancy says bears don’t really go after the honey.  They want the high quality protein of the bee larvae.  (An afternoon in the country, even when you already live in the country, is instructive.)  Moving right along:

This is not an outhouse.  Please.  Chandler Township is in Charlevoix County.  And it’s not a fishing shanty either, though I’m proud of you for thinking of that.  No, this is the Taj Mahal of deer blinds.  It is snug.  It has real windows, a propane heater, seating for three, and shelves for essential items.  Binoculars.  Snacks.  Boxes of cartridges.  It is the nerve center of Venison Acquisition. 

On the way back we stopped at the Bee Crossing so I could take Carol’s picture at this outstanding Tourist Attraction.  In return, she took a picture of me demonstrating excellent snowshoe technique and absolutely no fashion sense at all.  Back at the house everyone had second helpings of dessert.  I like this crowd. 

It was a long drive home, and I had to keep a sharp eye out for cavorting snowmobilers and suicidal deer.  Still, I spared a moment here and there to look at the hills, and the fishing shanty village on Deer Lake, and the curve of the estuary where the Jordan River enters the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix.  I passed cemeteries full of Civil War veterans and the yellow brick house George Dawson built, and Katy Edwards Newman’s Centennial Barn.  And then I was home.  The dogs told me they would forgive me for abandoning them if we went for a good long walk right then and we did and the sky was full of stars.  It was a very good day.

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