RETIREMENT, I THOUGHT, is meant to be years of doing no work, watching Brewers games on TV every game for six months, and unlimited fishing and hunting time throughout the year.

I got news for you. It ain’t working out that way. Sure, I said I was retiring completely three years ago, but it seems being a town chairman, writer of a weekly newspaper column, and doing a little moonlighting here and there takes up more time than one might expect.

And that’s not to mention all the stress and work that comes with having a mean, hard-driven boss at home who unfairly suggests that the lawn be mowed more than twice a summer, that windows be washed at least once every two years and that trash be hauled to the landfill on a somewhat more regular basis than once every six months.

Nonetheless, with all the work that retirement has imposed on me, somehow I have managed to get the lady of the house to allow me at least a little time for fishing, hunting, playing poker with the boys and all other such things that this country’s constitution mandates as being inalienable rights.

More important, being retired allows me and the lady of the house to go camping almost any time we wish.

The two of us found time to spend a very nice three days of camping and being tourists together last week in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (U.P.). More specifically, we found ourselves setting up camp at Bay Furnace campground on Lake Superior just outside of Munising, Mich.

U.P. Lake Superior country is high on my list of preferred camping places. Whether it be rustic backcountry camping at places like Imp, Emily, Henry or Bobcat lakes or way up at Fort Wilkins State Park at the top of the Keweenaw country or at Tahquamenon Falls way east in the U.P., my wife and I love it up Nort’ with the “yoopers.”

This time, being a short trip, we weren’t able to do as much as we would have liked, but one of the things we didn’t miss out on was another cruise on the Pictured Rocks tour. If you have never done the cruise, you have missed out on seeing one of the most beautiful stretches of Lake Superior that can be found.

A two-hour cruise takes you past a wealth of mainly sandstone cliffs which, along the way, have been worn into beautiful and impressive rock and cliff formations for centuries.

Among the most famous formations are Miners Castle, Indian Head, Grand Portal, Battleship Rocks, Flower Vase, Indian Drum, Lovers’ Leap and Chapel Rock. Waterfalls include 70-foot Spray Falls and the roughly 200-foot seasonal Bridal Veil Falls.

My wife and I have walked along the cliffs for short stretches on other trips, and have stood atop Miners Castle, which is about the only rock formation accessible by car. We also have strolled along the shore at Twelvemile Beach, a part of the lakeshore accessible by car.

I have hiked down and back up a long, steep hill to reach an old log slide from days of yore a goodly way up Highway 58 to Grand Marais, Mich., and I also have walked the path and gone down more than 160 steps to the base of grand Sable Falls about a mile outside of Grand Marais.

The Hurricane River Campground, another U.S. Forest Service site, has a great stretch of beach and rustic campsites about 15 miles from Grand Marais.

If you camp at Bay Furnace, as we did, walking a short path to an old iron ore blast furnace is worth your while. Just looking at the remains of the structure takes only a minute or so of your time, but if you are a history major as I was, taking time to read more about it tells the story of just how impressive it is.

Construction began in 1866 and it began producing pig iron in 1868. At its peak, it employed more than 500 people and produced about 20 tons of pig iron a day. Eventually, the iron ore and wood supplies to fire the furnace ran out, and it ceased operation in 1877.

Today, from Munising to Grand Marais, Pictured Rocks stands as a monument to the beauty and sometimes fury of Lake Superior. The cliffs of the lakeshore have changed much over the centuries. In recent years, one portion of Miners Castle collapsed.

My wife and I are among the many who have seen the video taken of a 200-foot section of cliff as it was collapsing a couple of weeks ago.

There was no fishing to be done by me on this trip, only a little hiking, the boat tour, scrambling through Wisconsin Dells-worthy crowds in Munising, relaxing at a somewhat-secluded campsite, and eating thick steaks at night, and much bacon and eggs each morning.

On our tour, the 4- to 5-foot waves banged us around a little, but on a boat that handles up to 250 or so passengers, it wasn’t really rough.

We’re lucky that we have some of the best country in the world to live in right here in north Wisconsin, but we’re even luckier to have someplace like the U.P. so near at hand whenever we want to escape for a little bit.