Popular with anglers, Mullett Lake also has a lesser-known claim to fame: the origin of the term kemosabe, used by Tonto in The Lone Ranger. Yep, it’s true—according to the die-hard research of Cecil Adams, anyway, who authors “The Straight Dope,” a quirky fact-finding column that began in the Chicago Reader and has appeared in alternative weeklies around the country.
Here’s what Cecil’s research turned up: “The term kemosabe . . . seems to have been the contribution of Jim Jewell, who directed The Lone Ranger until 1938. In an interview, Jewell said he’d lifted the term from the name of a boys’ camp at Mullett Lake, just south of Mackinac, Michigan, called Kamp Kee-Mo-Sah-Bee. The camp had been established in 1911 by Jewell’s father-in-law, Charles Yeager, and operated until about 1940. Translation of kee-mo-sah-bee, according to Jewell: ‘trusty scout.” While Indian language experts scoff at the spelling, they agree that the pronunciation roughly jibes with the Ottawa word for “scout.” Now there’s some trivia to throw out at your next party.
Speaking of name mysteries, no one really knows why a small town on the east end of Mullett Lake was originally named Aloha Depot. Today, it’s the site of Aloha State Park (231/625-2522, state park vehicle permit required), a small 100-acre state park that primarily consists of a boat launch and 295-site campground ($14). Not particularly picturesque by Michigan standards, most sites sit in a relatively open setting, with just a handful directly on the water.
Along with neighboring Burt Lake , pretty Mullett Lake is one of the most popular and productive fishing lakes in the state. Anglers vie for walleye and northern pike, but larger stuff lurks down there as well: In 1974, Mullett produced a 193-pound sturgeon, a scaly, long-nosed creature that hasn’t evolved much since prehistoric times. Think about that while you’re taking a dip.