Tom Powers reviews Points North

Points North: Discover Hidden Campgrounds, Natural Wonders, and Waterways of the Upper Peninsula
by Mikel B. Classen

Review by Tom Powers, Michigan in Books

Points North by MIkel B. Classen

Points North by MIkel B. Classen

Yes, yet another travel guide to the Upper Peninsula, and if you’re tempted to dismiss it and say enough already, you would be wrong. This is both a travel guide to 40 uniquely beautiful and scenic wonders or historically significant destinations north of Big Mac and it also doubles as a tribute to the indisputable beauty, splendor, and unique history of the U.P.

Unlike a typical travel guide, a two- to four-page essay is devoted to each site. The author’s love for the U.P. is obvious on every page. Whether a museum, a state park, or a 17,000-acre wilderness area Classen’s descriptions are vibrant, enticing, and thorough. Color photographs, most of which were taken by the author, complement the essays.

The book contains almost as many surprises as the “Secret Upper Peninsula.” The author credits the Au Train River as the best kayaking river in the U.P. In an essay on a state forest campground located on Lake Michigan near Naubinway he not only fully describes the little-used campground and the beautiful beach but also mentions that just offshore is the Lake Michigan Water Trail which I Googled because I had never heard of it. It seems the trail is still under development in the four states surrounding Lake Michigan and when completed it will be the longest freshwater water trail in the world.

I was particularly taken with the book’s scenic descriptions, history, and activities to be found at the 17,000-acre McCormick Wilderness Tract, the three square miles of the little-used Donnelley Wilderness Tract located in the foothills of the Huron Mtns, and the Grand Canyon of the U.P. the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness. It is another book that belongs in the car of any Troll (those of us living below the Mackinac Bridge) vacationing in the U.P. Better yet the book should be read by anyone planning a trip to the Upper Peninsula. It is sure to influence their itinerary.

Even if you are never going to the U.P. it is still well worth reading just to gain an appreciation of what this great state and the Upper Peninsula have to offer its citizens in the way of outdoor adventures and unique natural wonders. This sparkling collection of essays makes for great reading. There is no arguing with the author’s claim that the essays and the research that went into them were a”labor of love.”

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U.P. Reader -- Volume #4 [PB]

SKU 978-1-61599-508-0
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Michigan's Upper Peninsula is blessed with a treasure trove of storytellers, poets, and historians, all seeking to capture a sense of Yooper Life from settler's days to the far-flung future. Since 2017, the U.P. Reader offers a rich collection of their voices that embraces the U.P.'s natural beauty and way of life, along with a few surprises.

The forty-five short works in this fourth annual volume take readers on U.P. road and boat trips from the Keweenaw to the Soo. Every page is rich with descriptions of the characters and culture that make the Upper Peninsula worth living in and writing about. U.P. writers span genres from humor to history and from science fiction to poetry. This issue also includes imaginative fiction from the Dandelion Cottage Short Story Award winners, honoring the amazing young writers enrolled in all of the U.P.'s schools.

Featuring the words of Karen Dionne, Donna Winters, Tyler R. Tichelaar, Brandy Thomas, Jon Taylor, T. Kilgore Splake, Joni Scott, Donna Searight Simons, Terry Sanders, Ninie G. Syarikin, Becky Ross Michael, Cyndi Perkins, Charli Mills, Tricia Carr, Raymond Luczak, David Lehto, Tamara Lauder, Chris Kent, Sharon Kennedy, Jan Stafford Kellis, Rich Hill, Elizabeth Fust, Deborah K. Frontiera, Ann Dallman, Mikel B. Classen, T. Marie Bertineau, Larry Buege, Craig Brockman, Megan Sutherland, May Amelia Shapton, Cora Mueller, and Fenwood Tolonen.

"U.P. Reader offers a wonderful mix of storytelling, poetry, and Yooper culture. Here’s to many future volumes!"
--Sonny Longtine, author of Murder in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

"As readers embark upon this storied landscape, they learn that the people of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offer a unique voice, a tribute to a timeless place too long silent."
--Sue Harrison, international bestselling author of Mother Earth Father Sky

"I was amazed by the variety of voices in this volume. U.P. Reader offers a little of everything, from short stories to nature poetry, fantasy to reality, Yooper lore to humor. I look forward to the next issue."
--Jackie Stark, editor, Marquette Monthly

The U.P. Reader is sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association (UPPAA) a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. A portion of proceeds from each copy sold will be donated to the UPPAA for its educational programming.
Learn more at www.UPReader.org

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