Munising, MI September 9, Monday
41 years ago today Chris and Ed were married in Southington, CT. Our honeymoon consisted of driving back to MN through Canada to Minnesota. When we got to the MN/Ontario border, it was my goal to see all, or most, of the waterfalls from Thunder Bay Ontario to Duluth along the North Shore of Lake Superior.
Chris was a little less excited about visiting 20 gazillion waterfalls and after only 10 or 12 gazillion I had to agree and we went express the rest of the way home. So it seems fitting to be visiting waterfalls, among other activities, along the southern border of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as we celebrate our 41st anniversary.
Our first stop of the day was Sable Falls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The U.S. has four national lakeshores, Pictured Rocks being the first in 1966. We have visited the other three, Apostle Islands, Indiana Dunes, and Sleeping Bear.
Sable Falls is in a forested area and drops 75 feet on its way to Lake Superior. The mosquitoes were out but according to the ranger at the next visitor center, they are vastly reduced in number. In June, she said she was practically eating mosquitoes. We had thought we would be lucky enough to avoid them as an issue and so far it has not been a major problem.
As we mentioned in earlier posts, the UP was a major logging area and our second stop was the site of the “Log Slide”. At this location, the lumbering operation would haul logs to the top of the sand dune, slide the logs down to the water, form log rafts and float the logs to Grand Marais (MI) to the mill located there.
We met a group of people there and one woman indicated that in her younger days she, after a few beers, would slide down the dune and then walk back to Grand Marais along the beach. The dune’s pitch is very steep and the sign posted warns that sliding down takes only a few minutes but coming back up usually takes an hour.
The road from Grand Marais to Munising (where our boat ride will take place) was paved in the last few years and made for a smooth, though curvy, drive. It seems most people still remember this road as unpaved and traffic was light. (The section from Grand Marais east to Paradise where we were Sunday is still unpaved.)
Our third stop was Miner’s Castle, a rock outcropping that we would see from a different perspective when cruising the lake later in the day. Pictured Rocks has been so named because of the streaks of mineral stain that decorate the face of the sculpted cliffs. Our view from Miner’s Castle only provided an intriguing glimpse of the scenery ahead.
Lunch was at Joe’s Dogs, a small hot dog stand in Munising that had a dozen varieties of hot dogs. The two we had were both great.
Our afternoon was taken up by a 2.5 hour boat ride viewing Pictured Rocks from Lake Superior. Unfortunately the day was overcast and drizzly so our photos may not be as dramatic as they could be. But they still reflect the beauty as we saw it today. And since we had a hard tine deciding on which shots to use, you will see numerous photos.
The boat ride is narrated by the captain and a park ranger provides additional information. The colors you will see are from minerals leaching out of the ground water flowing over the cliffs. There are rock layers of whitish dolomite, yellowish sandstone and red sandstone.
The green color comes from copper. Red from iron. White is calcium. Black is magnesium. Tannic acid adds some brown coloring.
There is wide variety in the coloring and the formations. Erosion and gravity make differing shapes of the cliffs. Grand Island which is just off-shore protects parts of the cliffs allowing more trees to grow in the area closest to Munising. Small caves form from seeping groundwater.
Dinner tonight will be at what appears to be the one non-burger/pizza, etc restaurant.
Ed and Chris September 9 10 pm