Friday, May 17, 2013

Pictured Rocks

Odometer 32435 miles
Trip miles  127 miles

The Clementz's Northcountry Campground just outside Newberry, MI, was the quietest park we have been in since we left Pouches's Fish 'N Camp in Louisiana.  We have gotten used to camping near the railroad tracks and at least one major highway for so long we didn't know what silence was.

Today we are headed west and a little north in Michigan's Upper Peninsula- the U.P. as it is known here.  The UP is the part of Michigan that is located between the top of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.  It ties across to Wisconsin on the west edge.  Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake in the world by surface area, and the second largest in the world by volume of water.  It is said that 10% of the world's freshwater is in Lake Superior.  If Lake Superior's water were spread over the entire continental US, it would still be 4 feet deep!

Jeff wanted to drive the backroads to get from Newberry to Munising and Joan wanted to take the M28 all the way.  After a little jousting  we compromised and took M28 east, twenty six miles to M77 which took us directly north to Grand Marais which is on the east edge of the Pictured Rocks National Seashore.  From Grand Marais we followed H58 along the edge of the park.  This allowed us to drive north into the park at intervals and see specific things we wanted to see. (there aren't many accesses to the park by road)

Our first stop was at Grand Sable Visitors Center where we talked to two very helpful rangers who helped us map out points of interest, and told us where we could get in with the MH and tow car.  We thanked them and proceeded onto the Log Slide overlook about 13 miles west down the coast.

Here is what the forest looked like today- not a leaf in sight-  the roads were excellent and we were able to poke along and enjoy the scenery because we were ALONE on the road.

Log Slide, is so named because early loggers found it easy to roll their cut logs down the dune and into the water below where they were rafted up and hauled to the mill by tugs.  It's 300 feet down to the lake from the overlook!

From Log Slide if we looked to the west from the overlook we could see our next destination, which is the Au Sable Light Station- being the lighthouse junkies that we are.  Why is it that you can get obsessed with white painted brick towers that have lights at the top?
The Light Station shown is this slightly zoomed shot above is about 3 miles as the crow flies from where we are taking this photo.  However to get there required an 8 mile drive and 1.7 mile hike.

Jeff wasn't above having a little fun on the hike.  The trail was very well groomed and it looked like they had cleared some snow in the deeper drifts.

The weather was chilly today but thankfully we did not have the strong winds that have plagued us since  we arrived in Mackinaw City.  Todays high was 56 degrees- with the sun it was very pleasant.

Soon we had reached our destination!  We did not meet a single person on our way out or on the way back- we had the place all to ourselves!

The Au Sable Light Station is very well preserved tower and buildings.  We were hoping that there would be volunteers here to show us around- but nothing was open, and nobody was here.  The station was built in 1874 on what is known as the Shipwreck coast  There was a Life Saving Station here as well as the light, which accounts for some of the many buildings.  The keepers cottage is at the base of the tower.  We assume the life savers shared the other dormatory.  The building at the top right housed the steam powered fog horn, the life boatouse is not shown in this photo.  Is that a bick privy in the bottom right?  Pretty fancy!

We decided to walk the beach the 1.7 miles back to our motorhome- most of it was sandy, only a few hundred feet of really rocky stuff, and some of the rock was amazing formations like this weathered sandstone that looks like pudding.

We were told that we could see remains of several shipwrecks
Jeff ponders the remains of a ship that washed ashore in the days of wooden boats.

Here's another example of an old wreck.

 If I remember correctly,  the docent at Whitefish Point told me, in their 40 years on the Great Lakes, theLife Saving Service saved 55,000 sailors, and only lost 275.  The standing orders for the Life Savers was "you have to go out- but you don't have to come back"

From Au Sable Lighthouse we continued in the motorhome down H58 to Miners Beach where we could see some of the beautifully colored sandstone cliffs.
This photo shows a natural rock structure called Miners Castle.  Look at the color of the water- and the clarity!  This area was designated as the first ever  National Lakeshore by Congress in 1966, to be governed by the National Park Service.
 The colors aren't too vibrant in the picture- but it was awesome to see in real life.

I wasn't exaggerating when I said we had the place to ourselves- to the left is a picture of the parking lot at  Miners Castile.
The very best way to see this amazing place is from the water, but tomorrow is the first day of the season for the tour boats, and today is sunny- tomorrow is supposed to be 40% chance of rain and winds up to 15 mph.  Joan says that's not happening, so we are looking at heading to St.Paul Minn- in the rain... There has to be something to see the next time we come through the UP- eh?

Meanwhile here we are at beautiful Munising  Tourist Park Campground for the evening.
 Before dark we took the car out to see the Timber Products operation here, just outside of Munising- the same TP as we have in Medford.  What a small world.

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan

No comments:

Post a Comment