In the mid 1990s, my boyfriend (whom I would later marry) and I met a cool older hippie couple at the Wheatland Music Festival. Their names were Jan and Janet. And they gave us a brochure for their rental cabin, which they called the “Kick and Glide Lodge.” Accessible only by a hiking trail or a 2.5 mile long seasonal road, it was located on a hilltop in Antrim County, MI southeast of the small Northern MI town of Mancelona (the town of Kalkaska is also not too far away). For those not familiar with northern MI geography, Mancelona is located northeast of Traverse City in the northwest portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula.
To read one of my blogs about other cabin adventures in Michigan (primarily cabins rented by the state of MI), click here.
The old “Kick and Glide” lodge has since been torn down by the new owners. After Jan died in 2016, Janet decided to sell the cabin and the surrounding property. Janet recently told me that the new owners are from the Chicago area and have agreed to keep the area as a “preserve” and not use it for hunting. Though some of the former cabin renters were hunters and ORV users, Jan and Janet (please remember me telling you that they were hippies) always preferred to rent to people who just loved getting close to nature – and away from civilization. We rented the cabin frequently (usually about twice a year) for both of those purposes (especially the latter). In the winter, they rented the cabin to skiers, who could use snowmobiles to haul in gear on a groomed trail. Once, when we rented the cabin for a New Year’s eve trip, Jan used his snowmobile to haul in our gear and Mike and I hiked in on showshoes. Boy was that one of the most vomitrocious New Year’s Eves ever (had to keep the trash can next to the couch on which I slept that night). In subsequent trips, Jan would let us use his pick-up truck to drive out to the cabin (our sedan-style cars didn’t much care for the two-track leading to the cabin). The sandy areas were treacherous! Janet told me that the new owners have made improvements to the two-track.
The cabin consisted of one big room that housed the wood burning stove, a large dining room table, kitchen facilities (sink, counter tops, cupboards), a small propane-powered fridge (that did not work in its later years), a sofa and a couple of chairs. A twin-sized bed was in the corner. There were also two bedrooms – one with a full sized bed, and the other with one twin-sized bunk beds. There was a bathroom with a stall-style shower. The “mud room” in front housed a gas-powered generator that powered the pump for running water. Mike spent many a time trying to encourage that thing to work (apparently curse words are not an encouragement, lol)…The whole cabin’s illumination system consisted of several propane-powered gas lights with mantles that you had to light with a lighter or match. There was no electricity in the cabin. But the cell service couldn’t be beat!
One place we frequently visited while we were renting this cabin was called “The Hideaway.” It’s a bar/grill located on Starvation Lake Road – the most notable thing about it (at least to me) is that one of my high school classmates was killed here sometime in the 1990s as a result of a fight with locals. Another classmate of mine was imprisoned for killing one of the dead guy’s attackers. It’s always good to not make too many waves when visiting a typical “Up North” Michigan bar! Don’t complain about the beer selection, try your best not to stand out, and for the love of…well everything, don’t bring up politics – and don’t make designs on another man’s girlfriend! Just ask those two hunters from metro Detroit who drove up to the Mio area for a hunting trip in the mid 1980s and were never seen alive again…(I actually read the book about this case, Darker Than Night, while staying in this cabin). Read more about that case here
Why oh why has no one thought to make a movie about this? It would be the most chilling horror film you ever saw! Rednecks living in places with dirt floors, keeping pigs indoors, the dogged investigation by the cop who wouldn’t give up…it’s riveting stuff!
Exterior of the cabin in October, 2012. A small building used to store firewood can be seen to the left. The two bedrooms are on the left, and the big room in front housed the generator, a closet, and other supplies.
An additional building was added that included storage space for snowmobiles. A loft area upstairs included a full-sized futon for additional sleeping quarters. This building had no bathroom.
The last time Mike and I rented this cabin was in 2012, and Mike took a good deal of photos. Good thing he did, since we had no idea it would be the last time we would be able to rent this cabin! Get ready for an explosion of fall colors…
View of the fire pit from the window. Once, while we were outside having a fire, a porcupine decided to hang out underneath the bench we were sitting on! We didn’t notice it until it scurried away. Jan always had a problem with porcupines wanting to eat the wood on the cabin.
Another view from a window. This screen had a hole that had to be covered when the windows were open. That’s because a hunter renting this cabin saw a deer outside the window and managed to shoot/and kill it from inside the cabin! The bullet hole in the screen served as a reminder of that hunter’s marksmanship for years…
View of the second cabin, which was primarily used for snowmobile storage, but had a sleeping area upstairs.
Another view of the second building.