I found the entire area to be just beautiful, and we were lucky enough to get a campsite right on the water by the boat dock, near huge trees alive with the sound of birds. We saw a Mallard Duck on the canal. We immediately put out bird feeders and oranges, and though it didn’t take long for the male and female red-winged blackbirds to find the seed, we had no takers on the orange, even though I heard and saw a couple of orioles. On Sunday we saw a Red-headed woodpecker.

We got rained in a little earlier Friday night than we wanted to, 8 p.m., so we just resigned ourselves to playing Scrabble and reading instead of sitting by the campfire.

On Saturday morning, we took off for the trails after breakfast. We parked near Hall Lake and proceeded on the loop headed north next to the lake. A few sprinkles made us take out our raingear for a while, but the weather progressively improved as we hiked. The view was beautiful at Graves Hill, and we rested and downed some water there before proceeding to Devil’s Soup Bowl.

The trees were emerald green. There were many trees with large, white blossoms in the mix, and the ferns were just starting to come up. We saw trilliums, some purple wildflowers and many tiny purple butterflies, which I’ve never seen before. No wildlife spotted other than birds. We got to Devil’s Soup Bowl and the view was just amazing!

There were several photographers there with huge lenses and tri-pods, and after questioning them, we found out they were a part of a photography class at a local college. We walked along the edge of the Soup Bowl until we got to the bike path leading to Long Lake, then we turned back and hiked the other side of the Hall Lake loop back. After that, we hiked over to the Long Lake Outdoor Center to see the rather large rental cabins.

Later that day, my daughter Missy, who lives in Ionia, and works in Grand Rapids, joined us at camp. After dinner, we walked the short Sassafras Nature trail, a one-mile loop, which was over before we realized we started! We did see a skunk on the trail.

The next day, after quite a thunderstorm that night, brought sunshine and 80 degree temps. Too hot too early in the year for me!! Because the trails were so beautiful around Hall Lake and Devil’s Soup Bowl and because Missy hadn’t seen them, we did the same trails on Sunday as we did the day before! We saw a box turtle whose shell was about 5″ in diameter, and a couple Canadian geese on Hall Lake.

We left for home about 2:30 p.m., right before another giant storm was headed into the area. Very nice campground – highly recommended.