The 7 Hells of Living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

author-pic at University of Michigan  

Living in the Upper Peninsula is the dream for some people and a complete nightmare for others. When your mom has that dream to move to the woods, you have no choice but to go with her. It seems crazy, the woods are scary, there are bugs everywhere and a giant lake that could eat you.

7.) The 25 Mile Driveway:
Driving through 25 miles – sometimes more – of woods just to get from one town to the next is the norm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The locals of Grand Marais call this drive into town, “The Driveway.” The locals who leave town to start a new life call it the 25 miles of hell until they’re finally home. The trees start to blur together and it has become a competition between a few individuals to see who can get through the 25 miles faster. Some have done it in less than 15 minutes (cops don’t exist in the UP).

6.) Death Lake:
Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake on Earth. Pretty much everyone knows that. But, do they know that the lake is probably filled with dead bodies that have been lost at sea (lake). Going out for a swim may just turn into a horror film if you’re not careful. Growing up in Grand Marais, the kids were always told never to jump off the wrong side of the pier. Tourists never listen to the locals.

5.) The Place Where Logs Slide:
Logging has become easier over the past century. Everything has. Machines will rule us eventually. Back when Grand Marais got its start, it was a logging town and the logs would be slid down a sand dune to the waiting boats at the bottom. When logging changes, The Log Slide became a destination that kids would go to and run down, have a nice dip in the lake and take three hours to climb back up the mountain of sand. Over the last five to ten years, this has turned into a death trap and tourists still run down and try to climb back up.

4.) The Woods:
Seriously. Everything in the woods wants to kill you. The woods surrounding Grand Marais are easy to get lost in, wolves are around every corner and the bears will eat you if you look at their cubs wrong. If wildlife doesn’t kill you, then getting lost probably will. It’s so easy to get turned around in a forest where everything in every direction looks exactly the same.

3.) No Fast-Food:
The closest taco bell is two hours away and if that doesn’t sound like hell than we’re not sure what’s wrong with you. Food that will probably be the cause of your death is the best kind of food and living two hours away from it is depressing and nobody should live that way.

2.) Mosquitoes:
Now you may think that the bugs are bad where you live. If you’ve never been to the UP during the beginning of the summer, you have no clue how bad bugs can be. Don’t think about going to the beach because the flies with eat you alive. Don’t think about going camping because you’ll be itching those mosquito bites for the entire summer. As sad above, everything in nature wants to kill you. Mosquitoes will.

1.) Small-Town Gossip:
The town will be talking about those mistakes until everyone knows about them. Everything that happens in the small town of Grand Marais will be known by every person who lives there in less than five minutes. Nothing happens without the whole town knowing and nobody leaves for an extended amount of time without a million questions about where they’re going and when they’re coming home.

If you’re not from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, some of these may seem strange and out of the ordinary. Well folks, that’s what the UP is – strange and definitely not ordinary. Chain restaurants are rare, bugs are awful, the lake is horrifying, and if you don’t know how to say pasty then don’t order one at a restaurant.

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