Notes from the North Country, by Lon & Lynn Emerick

What rich lives we lead in this superior peninsula—no, not in material things, surely not in bank accounts, but rather that we are privileged to dwell so close to sparkling lakes, singing rivers, dense forests.
Thanks to the encouragement of Marquette Monthly publisher Pat Ryan-O’Day, we are going to be allowed to share our journey in this land that we cherish.
Sometimes we will invite you to saunter along with us to some remote spot, or a special place very close to town, or on one of many trails available to us along the lakes and through the forests—those that come to mind immediately are the Bay de Noc, the Haywire and the North Country Trail that traverses almost all of our peninsula.
We’ll wander through winter and follow the spring, exult in the long days of summer and be overwhelmed once again by the riot of autumn. We may highlight a bit of the history and traditions of this region, which still lie close to us today. People we’ve met over the years who add to the unique U.P. may make appearances in these columns.
From time to time, we will point out that beauty and opportunity for solitude are resources that can be enjoyed without disturbing or consuming. And that, we, as residents of this wondrous land, have a stake in its future.
Let’s do the introductions:
Lon for thirty years labored in the vineyard of speech and hearing therapy at several universities, but longest and most happily at Northern Michigan University. As a devoted disciple of Henry David Thoreau, he often shared his interest in the natural world with his students through day-long escapes from campuses in Michigan, Minnesota and Arizona.
Escaping also from the sometimes-onerous task of creating textbooks in the field of speech pathology, he wrote about adventures in the outdoors for various magazines, and more recently in several Upper Peninsula books. He had the opportunity to develop three interpretive nature trails in the central U.P.—two of which are still active.
Now, after a swiftly passing twenty years of retirement from the academic life, he fulfills his duties as a self-appointed inspector of morning dews, autumnal fragrances and winter silence.
Lynn was trained as a speech and hearing therapist, working in the public schools of Michigan and Minnesota. After raising two daughters (who now have outdoor careers and adventures in Alaska and Montana), she moved into other fields, including emergency medical services planner for U.P. Health Systems Agency, director of the Marquette County Commission on Aging, and independent consultant for health, education and human services projects. She is an enthusiastic flyfisher and especially loves—to quote John Voelker—“the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful.”
The U.P. white pine lumbering days came alive for Lynn and her sister when they revived and expanded their grandfather’s story in the book Lumberjack, Inside an Era, 100 years after he lived it.
Since 1996, Lynn and Lon have operated North Country Publishing, with a mission to develop and distribute books about the beauty, history and humor of the Upper Peninsula.
We lived in the city of Marquette for twenty-nine years; for the past twelve years home has been a spot in West Branch Township with deep woods, old fields and a small creek.
So there we are, and here we go. We’ll meet you in this space each month and hope to hear from Marquette Monthly readers, each of whom has special experiences and connections that we know we—and others—will enjoy.
—Lon & Lynn Emerick

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