I knew that no camping was allowed where I had pitched my tent, at the end of a long-abandoned logging road in northern Michigan’s Jordan Valley. I’d spent a day observing newly mated beavers that had dammed the stream where this two-track ended. Their youthful energy made them almost oblivious to my camera and me, and I intended to get as many photos as possible while the opportunity was available.

benchmadee.jpgI wasn’t too surprised when a big green 4×4 roared up to my camp, blue light and headlights flashing, and skidded to a stop mere feet from where I stood. I grinned when the conservation officer jumped out and said, “Oh, it’s you.” CO’s cut me slack because I promote outdoor activities in northern Michigan’s still-vast forests, and I show my gratitude by leaving minimal trace of having been there.

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