Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sterling State Park Monroe, MI;0&p=G10164

It is Located on the South West side of Lake Erie.

We went in the middle of June 2006. We stayed for two nights.

There was very little shade at the camp ground. We camped at camp site 30. It was by a grove of trees, but they were on the wrong side of the camp site to provide shade for very long during the day. The one thing the trees provided was a skunk. When we first got there we smelled a slight smell, but I figured it was a fluke. We were fine that night, but in the middle of the second night it happened. I was awakened by the intense smell of skunk. This was like when you hit a skunk with your car. My wife slept through it, but it kept me up for an hour or so before it started to dissipate. It didn't spray the tent (I can only imagine what that would've smelled like), but it was somewhere close in that woods.

When we got to camp there were several of these little dragon fly like bugs that some were calling fish flies. At night a cloud of these bugs flew in and attached themselves to everything, especially to things with light. We got up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom and the fish flies were everywhere. They crunched under our feet and were piled up in a heap in front of a pop machine. It possibly had the most heat in the place. The good news was that the fish flies must eat other bugs, because there were very few other bugs. No mosquitoes. The fish flies were everywhere the next day, but there was no more big swarms that came in.

There were also a ton of cotton wood seeds flying around, almost as thick as the fish flies. The cotton wood kept landing in drinks, food, and everything.

There was a government dumping area in the park surrounded by a fence with a sign that said that the ground inside would not support our weight, even though there were two bulldozers inside. There was a guy that I think was from the dumping ground was digging a whole on the far side of the beach and connecting a pipe to another pipe in the ground. The pipe that was being connected was brought in from the lake. For the most of the morning we saw a couple of tug boats pushing the pipe around. After it was hooked up it floated for a bit and then sank for a while. It then came back up and later went back down. In the process it pulled up a bunch of muck from the bottom. I'm sure the pipe was going down as it filled with whatever they were pumping out and coming back up as it emptied. It looked like it was being pumped from the dumping ground, since we saw a similar pipe just inside the gate aimed at an toward that side of the beach.

There were a lot of dead fish the first day. One every five feet or so. Not enough to scream that there was a problem, but enough that made me feel uneasy. The next day there were a lot less dead fish.

This was our first trip to Lake Erie. I have been to Lake Michigan a few times and it was always freezing. I have been to Superior once and it was cold as well. I was surprised when I stepped into Erie and it was luke warm. The second day it was almost like bath water. As we read one of the information boards around the park we read that Erie is the warmest of the great lakes. This is because it is the shallowest. It sounded like it was especially shallow on the end we were on.

The beach had nice sand and there was a lot of it. The problem was that it was covered with tiny pieces of shells and as you got a bit away from the lake it had many sticks here and there.

There was a cement walkway down at one end of the beach that ran along side the dump fence and the lake. It was nice because it was kind of like being a little ways out into the lake. There was a nice breeze and wave would crash on the big rocks below the walkway. There were breaks in the fence that appeared to be designed to allow people to get onto the rocks to fish or put their feet in the water. I wanted to get down by the water, but again the dump made me a little nervous, so we sat on the edge of the walk. We read some and watched the water.

During our stay we walked around the two and a half mile loop trail. It was not very shady and very typical Midwest ponds, grass, and trees. Not that exciting, but it was good exercise and a good way to do something and talk. There were a couple of benches along the way to sit on.
Along the trail there was also a metal set of steps with a couple of platforms that you could look out over. There wasn't much to see, but it was something to get up high and look out.
There was also a big walking bridge across one of the ponds.

It was a nice little place, but not worth the hours that we have to drive to get there. It would've been nicer to drive a little further and get to the mountains of WV or TN.