Larking about in the Mitten

June 27, 2024 – Fort Custer National Cemetery

I’m sitting under the roof of a commemoration site at the Fort Custer National Cemetery just outside Battle Creek, Michigan. In keeping with my tradition of finding adventure along the way to the next drum corps show, I chose this spot to rest my weary bones in my hammock. Last night was a cold one in Northern Michigan. My lightweight blanket was not enough to keep me warm as I tossed and turned in the hammock. The early rise of the sun was welcome. Now, I have a chosen spot to catch up on that lost sleep unless I am discovered, at which time I will beg forgiveness and be asked to leave.

My footprint will be zero, and it will be dawn before 4:00 am. And, that is, if I am not otherwise interrupted by the 33,000 internments on these well-kept grounds. It is darkening as I write. I am fully encamped in my low-impact hammock and screen. Sounds of wildlife emanate from the surrounding woods, another concern. I have no food. I had a great sandwich at the Bell’s Brewery Cafe in Kalamazoo earlier this afternoon. No doggie bag.

My research tells me that this is a relatively new National Cemetery that was begun in 1943 from land carved off the Fort Custer Training Center, in name only after George Armstrong Custer. Another interesting fact is that Fort Custer was also the location where German soldier prisoners were encamped, with fifteen buried on these grounds. What drew me here was finding where the North Country Trail and my route to Muncie, Indiana, intersect. Tomorrow, I plan to park at the nearby trailhead and walk the section of the trail on the cemetery property. I will leave it here for now. I hear another train in the distance on the tracks where I waited at the gate as the AMTRAK Midwest dashed by—time to climb into my catenary cacoon. It has been a fun day larking about in the Mitten of Michigan. I’ll catch up with you later.

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