by Charlotte L. Riser
When the trees their summer splendor
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.
The Beaver Island Christian Church is planning a farewell party for Reverend Howard and Sally Davis on October 2nd at the Church. 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Everyone welcome.
All summer I wanted to get to one or another of the outer islands but due to work, since I'm partial to eating, I wasn't able to get away. Ken and Betty Scoggin had asked me once before and I had to beg off but this Friday I leaped at the chance to visit Garden Island with them.
So with Ken and Betty Scoggin, Dale Keyes, and Dale's friends Darryl and Karen we set off for Northcut Bay with the sun shining and a light breeze. The Scoggin's boat Roustabout held us all comfortably and with the dingy tied to the stern we were ready for adventure.
Although the lake is slowly rising, it's still mighty low when coming into Northcut so we anchored out and Cap'n Ken rowed us ashore. Betty was appointed "tour guide" while Ken elected to remain with the ship like all good captains. We followed Betty up from the shore and into the woods where we discovered a well-marked trail. Following the Northcut trail for a short time we then took a sharp left turn on to the Post Office Trail heading towards the old DNR cabins located on Garden Island Harbor.
As we hiked along one could almost feel the ghosts of earlier residents walking along beside us; the native Americans who were the original inhabitants, John Vincent, his wife, Josephine, their twelve children, the Larsen family, the Jensen family, the Wachtner family, the Nielson's, workers from lumber camps, and fishermen, many who most likely traversed these trails while living on the island. The trail was easily followed and every fork offered a sign post with a map and "you are here" designated. It was fairly obvious that someone had biked here although what shape they were in when they returned is probably debatable if the bicycle is anything to go by. Perhaps their brakes weren't in the best of shape because that final stop had to be a dandy into the tree.
At one time Garden Island boasted lumber company, a school, a church, a post office/general store making this tiny place Success, Michigan. Unfortunately Success was only successful from 1912 to 1913. The post office was on the government books for only one year. As one travels down the Post Office Trail they can see the remanents of that post office/store. All that's left is a few crumbling logs and shingled front the rest having collapsed in over the passing years. If anyone has hidden in their attic an old postmarked letter from Success, Michigan it would be a great item for the museum here.
After spending a few minutes at the post office site, we headed further down the trail. Once we saw water, it was a sharp left turn and there in a small clearing were the DNR cabins. We all had a good chuckle over the "lock" on the front door - a kitchen fork stuck through what would have been a padlock loop. The sign on the door stated, " Although maintained for the use of D.N.R. personnel and authorized university groups this building may be used for emergency shelter. Please be responsible. Leave it as clean or cleaner than you found it. Michigan Department of Natural Resources."
Inside is a stove, refrigerator, well-stocked pantry, a bunk room, wood stove, table, chairs, pots, pans, dishes and all the accoutrements of civilization. There is also a spiral notebook on the table that's used as a log book. Reading through it offers interesting insight to those who were here before. Most have signed their names and where they were from. Entries cover places near and far the closest being Beaver Island.
The shore line at the DNR cabins is rough and rocky. The remains of the old dock that once extended out into the harbor is still there albeit rather rickety and worn. The view is spectacular though as are most scenes from anywhere in the archipelago.
After leaving the cabins we headed back on the trail to the Triangle where we made a sharp right turn onto the Northcutt Trail and back to the bay of the same name where Cap'n Ken was waiting. It wasn't a long hike, but it was enjoyable and many thanks go to Ken and Betty for letting me tag along. I had a great time.
Page Two of the News on the 'Net