A few years ago, my family decided to rent a cottage at a random lake called Spider Lake, found by Traverse City, Michigan. To picture its location like a true Michigander, lift your right hand, palm toward your face, and look at the pad of your ring finger. That’s just about where this lake is.
We rented a huge cottage—one that held the six members of my family, my two grandparents, and my uncle, aunt, and three cousins—along with a rowboat and a paddleboat. My family, us kids especially, were very excited for the trip. You see, our cousins lived in Chicago, about six hours away, so we hardly saw them. The times we did spend together were the most fun any of us could remember. When we got there, we dashed out into the cottage and greeted everyone enthusiastically. After many hugs, we decided to take a look outside.
The place was gorgeous. Our lake was one of several small branches connected to each other in a chain. The smooth, glassy surface of our portion was surrounded by hills on three sides and dotted with other quaint little cabins along with soaring tree canopies all around. A small sandbar with a tiny forest could just be seen near the opposite end of the lake. We spent the next few days swimming, boating, and just having fun.
On the fourth morning of our stay, my little brother ran out into the lake to splash around a bit and came back in tears. His toe had been hurt by something and when we checked the water, we saw the culprit: a snapping turtle. It floated easily across the surface of the shallow water, peeking its head out and almost daring us to venture into his waters. This put a slight damper on things as none of us was very keen on getting a turtle bite.
We devised a plan. We were going to capture the turtle, now dubbed “Snappy,” and take him far away, to another part of the lake chain. Thus began our campaign against the not-so-little guy. We tried bating him into a net with whatever food we could find, but none would tempt him. My uncle devised a sort of catcher out of a pole, a swimming noodle, and a small fishing net. He tried valiantly all day to try and capture the turtle but the reptile seemed determined to stay free. Snappy would get closer and closer to the net, each kick of his little legs bringing him closer to my uncle’s victory, until Snappy would dive and leave my uncle reciting some choice, unrepeatable words. When everyone had almost given up hope, my eldest cousin managed to snag the mischievous little devil on her fishing line and bring him onto the pier. My uncle triumphantly took pictures with Snappy and his turtle-catcher so that he could claim that he caught him. My dad and uncle took him roughly a mile away to a connected lake. We slept soundly that night.
The next and last day of our vacation was spent with water games, our minds clear of fear of having our appendages snapped at. We were just getting out of the water when we saw him again. Snappy was swimming by on his back, diving in and out of the water, flaunting his success at having returned to his home. We were baffled and called Snappy smart, sly, and other unprintable words. So we left the cottage that day, wondering how the next occupants would deal with the little monster that inhabited Spider Lake.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.