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Why we like boondocking deep in the woods

| Updated Apr 16, 2017

One question we get a lot when we talk about our love of being off the beaten path and away from everyone is, “Why? What do you do there.”

Let me share a typical boondocking jaunt for us, very deep in the woods, in the middle of the Pigeon River Country State Forest Area at the very top of the Michigan Lower Peninsula mitt, a 105,049-acre  area so vast it rambles across Otsego, Cheboygan, and Montmorency Counties.

Round Lake in northern Michigan's Pigeon River Country Stare Forest

This is one of our top five favorite places to get away from it all and while I can't technically say we are boondocking – we are in the tiny 10-site Round Lake Campground – it's pretty much the same thing as there are no hookups here. There is no one else here. Just us, in our Roadtrek Class B motorhome.

So what do we do here?

Sit outside and listen to the sound of silence – Yes, silence has a sound. No motors, no highway noise. It's the sound of wind sighing through 100 foot white pines. A string of 50 or so Canadian geese, far overhead, honking their way across a cloudless sky.

An elk went down this trail not long before I did
An elk went down this trail not long before I did

Go hiking with a camera  – There's a great fern-lined hiking trail that makes its way around the tiny little lake, The only other tracks I see are from an elk that took the same route, not long ago judging by their impressions in the sand. I tread as quietly as I can, stopping often, hoping to see the elk. I never catch up with him. The blue sky and big fluffy clouds reflect off the water. The air has a slight chill to it, and it deliciously smells of pine.

We prepare dinner in the Roadtrek – There may be no electricity here but we have our own in our solar-powered RV. Jennifer made a fresh salad and warmed up her world-famous crock pot turkey stew on the stove. We butter some fresh bread we picked up at a bakery on the way up. For dessert, we have fresh fruit. Then, as darkness came, she sits up front to read and I do some computer work in the back.

The Wilson cell booster and the external antenna I have mounted on the RV  has given me a great Internet connection. I write a blog post, check in to our Facebook group and we stream a movie. Snug and comfy in our RV, surrounded by the deep woods.

The wind signs through these pines producing a delightfully soothing sound
The wind signs through these pines producing a delightfully soothing sound

We make the bed and turn in early. It's hard to describe how restful it is sleeping when all about you is nothing but wilderness. Sometimes, late at night, we have awakened to hear deer moving past. At least I think it is deer. Besides elk, there are coyotes, black bear and, some say, wolves in this vast wilderness tract.

So that's why we like off-the-grid RVing. As I re-read this, I worry that it will sound boring to some. It doesn't sound very exciting. Yet to us,  it is. And it has become so much a part of our lifestyle now that we need regular doses of this special away-from-it-all time or we start to go a little stir-crazy.

It's not for everyone. But it sure is for us.



Mike Wendland

Published on 2017-04-16

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

11 Responses to “Why we like boondocking deep in the woods”

May 10, 2017at9:17 pm, just me said:

This sounds like heaven to me. Exactly what I’m needing at this stage in my life. Thank you fro writing this. Now I can dream.

September 29, 2014at8:14 pm, Davydd said:

Perfect! That’s what it is all about.

If you get the chance, try my favorite place at the National Forest Trails End campground that is 60 miles up from Minnesota’s Lake Superior at the very end of the Gunflint Trail and on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and not far from the Canadian border. It is about 50 miles beyond any cell range.

September 22, 2014at7:02 am, Roger said:

As I sit here preparing for one more day in the concrete jungle of work, I thank you for your wonderful article. You are a messenger of hope and inspiration, and at just the right time.

September 20, 2014at1:59 pm, Maureen Tweedly said:

Relaxing just to read your story!

September 19, 2014at10:53 pm, Dillon said:

Fantastic shots Mike. The idea of isolation and peace sounds incredible. If the was one thing to add for me personally, I’d be throwing a line into that pond.

September 18, 2014at11:59 am, Kevin Reilly said:

Mike, you’re photography just keeps getting better and better.

September 18, 2014at11:40 am, Barbara K said:

Doesn’t sound boring at all! Sounds divine…

September 18, 2014at10:11 am, Sandy Moran said:

After spending all summer drifting from one Florida campsite to another this sounds wonderful. Don’t get me wrong , anytime spent out in the Roadtrek is better than sitting at home ! Just longing for those “empty” open spaces and any form of boondocking. What a great article Mike, thank you so much for sharing.

September 18, 2014at9:22 am, susa said:

Sounds wonderfu this is the way we like to go in Roise Road Trek.
We have stayed at Hardwick pines in late late fall. Had the whole campground to ourselves. Saw all kinds of wildlife. Walked threw old growth pines trail. Wonderful. We also (thanks to you) very early spring camped with the snowbanks at Taquamon falls. Again we were the only ones in the campground we had to dodge around snowbanks on H58 toward Grand Maria on our way. Perfect time to go to whitefish point to museum. Very few people. Great time to talk to the people that work there. So much history. We love people but sometimes it is just so awesome to get out there and see and hear God’s creation and the great blackness of northern sky. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful trip. Safe travels.

September 18, 2014at8:56 am, Dave Miller said:

I don’t think it could get any better Mike! We will be heading out on 10-1 for a trip around Lake Superior and hope to enjoy the same. Keep up the great reporting. We are counting on you, Bigfoot Dave

September 18, 2014at8:46 am, Trudy Meyers said:

Not boring but certainly not long enough. 🙂

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