We've always loved the State of Michigan so this summer we decided to explore the Upper Peninsula, which is every bit as beautiful as any other place on this planet. Since there are so many lighthouses and waterfalls we decided to make that our focus along with relaxing and unwinding.
We arrived at Aune Osborn Campground in Sault Ste Marie on Saturday the 22nd. The campground is situated on the St Mary River just east of the Soo Locks. Several freighters passed while we watched. This is a beautiful spot for a County park right along the river yet almost downtown Sault Ste Marie. While camped here we explored the area going down some long less traveled roads – berry picking along the road/trail. The whole of the upper peninsula takes you back to a less hurried era with lots of older homes and cars that are just common place around these parts.
The second day in this area we revisited the Soo Locks. We’ve been here in the past, but it still amazes me that you can fit a huge barge in that small lock to be raised to Lake Superior or lowered to the St Mary River going to Lake Huron.
Monday morning we left Sault Ste Marie for a short trip to Three Lakes National Forest. We got a campsite on Walker Lake. The National Forests, State Forests and State Parks have possession of some of the most beautiful properties. I think the reason that they are not more sought after is because they have few if any amenities. This is from Walker Lake looking back at the campsite.
This a picture of the lake from the campsite.
The beautiful setting is more or less all you get, but that’s enough for us. We went exploring and visited the Iroquois Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse is very well maintained and manned by volunteers with lots of historic information. We were lucky enough to be able to climb the 72 spiral steps to the top of the lighthouse, what a beautiful view of Lake Superior. In its’ heyday the Iroquois lighthouse housed three families that operated the property.
We then visited the Whitefish Point Lighthouse. This was a larger setup with many more outbuildings. The house portion was freshly painted and the crews were working on the lighthouse. No climbing to the top of this one.
We went on to Tahquamenon Falls, we only visited the upper falls this day.
It was a sunny clear day for a meandering drive along the shoreline of Lake Superior. We had a nice campfire that evening and turned in early – no electricity. The next day we planned on going fishing, but the weather looked ominous and windy all day. We did fish from shore – no luck. There is also a nice trail around the lake – about a mile. We got back just before the rain got a little serious. It didn’t last long though and we were back out trying to get the fire going again. It was a nice relaxing day.
We moved again on Wednesday morning to Colwell Lake National Park. This is another beautiful park that had lots of openings. We got a nice site with electricity (only 4 sites in the park) right on the water. After setting up we were off to explore. In our book, MICHIGAN WATERFALLS, we learned of several falls in the area. First was Sable Falls located west of Grand Marais MI. This falls is a short ¼ mile hike followed by 169 steps down to the falls, well worth it.
The next one on our list was Chapel Falls just north of Melstrand MI. This could have been a trip in itself, but unfortunately it was already getting late. We hiked the 1.5 miles into the falls – it was a well maintained path with a few hills, nothing too strenuous. There was a view of the falls at the end of the trail and if you crossed over a bridge you got a closer look. The way the water washes over and rounds out the rocks in an amazing thing.
We were kind of tired at this point, but the book said that Munising Falls was just a short walk from the visitor center in Munising MI. We still had some daylight so we headed to Munising. They were right, it was a short walk and I can see why these are the most visited falls – you don’t have to work hard to get there.
Back at camp the sun was setting and we settled in to cozy by the fire.
Today we discovered Miners Falls. Well, maybe not discovered, but explored. The falls are NE of Munising MI and are just a short ½ mile hike into the viewing platform. We did the additional 64 steps down to a better viewing area. There were several sprays of water that bounced off the rock and sprayed further out. Very unique.
From the falls we drove down to Miners Castle viewing area. This was a topside view of Castle Rock that lots of people see from a boat tour of Pictured Rock. The beautiful color striations travel around the castle and further around the shoreline. Looking down in the lake from this viewpoint is an awesome experience and the color of the water is a beautiful blue-green. I don’t know if our pictures do it justice, but it was quite striking.
From Castle Rock we took a quick drive over to Miners Beach. I’ve got to say that this is section of the area that I’m glad we didn’t miss.
After getting back to camp MM inflated our rubber yacht and we set off for a fishing excursion on Colwell Lake where we are camped. I’m sure we are missing a very important piece of knowledge about fishing, because once again we came away empty handed. It was still fun to get out on the water and enjoy the peaceful serenity found drifting on a quiet lake. The evening was spent relaxing around a campfire.
That's all for now. Lots more to follow.