Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Weekend Up North

The weekend before Labor Day weekend, Mom left us behind again. *Sighs* Maybe someday we'll get to go somewhere interesting. Poor Bethany has never even left the yard.

But anyway, we have collaborated again to give you the scoop on her trip. At least we can live vicariously through her journal entries and photos, right?

First we'll give you a visual of just where they went. The group consisted of Mom, our aunt, our grandma, and our lighthouse-loving great aunt. And they really went, didn't they? XD Talk about a whirlwind weekend.

Thursday Evening: Driving North

Stop 1: Kalkaska

They stayed overnight in an older but adequate motel in this quiet small town. Note the Kleenex dispenser mounted in the wall. =)

Friday: 3 Great Lakes in One Day!

Stop 2: Presque Isle Lighthouses

Everybody woke up early to drive to the Old Presque Isle (pronounced "Presk eel." Don't ask us why.) lighthouse on the shore of Lake Huron right when it opened. They toured the inside of the keeper's house and climbed the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a former light keeper - the light has been known to go on when nobody's there. Mom said it felt anything but haunted on this bright, beautiful summer morning.

The view from the top
From there they drove down the road to the New Presque Isle Lighthouse. This lighthouse is the fifth tallest in Michigan and the tallest open to the public to climb. Naturally, Mom had to climb to the top.

This lighthouse felt more possibly "haunted" to Mom. Mostly because of the slightly eerie music playing in the house that can still be heard echoing at the bottom of the tower, and also because the wind kept moving this creaky door at the top.

Yes, mildly creepy
The view was gorgeous, though!

On their way out, they paused to view these objects from an unfortunately named lifeboat, the S. T. Crapo. XD

And then they continued on their way north. The journey took them across the Mackinac Bridge... 

Mom's sister drove them on the windy grate lane! AH!
....and along the southern coast of Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a while before they turned north again.

Lake Michigan <3
Stop 3: Pictured Rocks Lakeshore, Lake Superior

They arrived in Munising, MI in plenty of time for the sunset cruise out to see the Pictured Rocks. They rode a boat very similar to the one pictured below, only theirs was the oldest of the 4-boat fleet, the "Miners Castle." Because they got there so early, they secured prime seats on the top deck.

Lake Superior is pretty incredible in and of itself. It's the largest freshwater lake in the world in terms of surface area and the third largest by volume. It's by far the largest of the Great Lakes. If you took out its water and dumped in the water of the other 4 Great Lakes (Michigan, Huron, Ontario, and Erie) you still wouldn't have enough water to fill it - you'd need at least 2 more Eries to get close. And that water you took out of Superior? You could flood all of North and South America in a foot of water. Crazy, right?

But the pictured rocks are very impressive too. The sheer cliffs are made of a soft, porous sandstone. When water seeps through the rocks, it takes minerals with it. The minerals are left behind, forming colorful streaks on the sandstone. Copper = blue-green, calcium = white, manganese = black, and iron = rusty orange.

Yep, they look painted, alright.

Those hunks of detached stone remind us of the tablets of the 10 Commandments
"Indian Head"
Up close it looked like he needed a Kleenex.
"Battleship Row"
"Flower Vase"
"Chapel Rock"
The tree perched on top lives on even though the rock has eroded. Its roots stretch across the gap to connect it to the cliffside, so it can still get nutrients and water.
Stop 4: Grand Marais

That night they stayed in a cute little cabin. It was incredibly dark by the time they finally got there. Mom says the night sky was spectacular - she'd never seen so many stars!

Saturday: More U.P. Adventures

The cabin by daylight
Before leaving Grand Marais, they stopped to see the Grand Marais light. Nobody attempted to climb this one for obvious reasons.

Stop 5: Tahquamenon Falls

They visited the upper and lower falls. Even though it was raining a bit, the forested trail kept them from getting very wet. The upper falls are much more impressive and are the only ones pictured here. We think these should henceforth be referred to as the Iced Tea Falls.

Stop 6: Whitefish Point

Whitefish Point Lighthouse is the oldest operating light on Lake Superior. Despite its presence, this area of Lake Superior is called "The Graveyard of the Great Lakes" because more ships have sunk here than anywhere else on the lake. One such ship was the famous SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

The group went in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum first, which documents many wrecks and displays artifacts recovered from each. It's home to the bell that was recovered from the Edmund Fitzgerald. (A new bell engraved with the names of the 29 crew members lost has been put in its place on the wreck, which is actually in Canadian waters.) We were surprised to learn that so many of the wrecks were caused not by monster storms but by boats running into each other.

Sadly, the line was too long to go up in the lighthouse itself, but they did tour the keeper's house, which was complete with creepy life-size wax figures. XD

Lake Superior was certainly behaving itself that day.

Nobody else wanted to get sandy, but Mom walked down to the beach and picked up these beauties.

Stop 7: Mackinaw City

The group drove back south then: back over the Mackinac Bridge into Mackinaw City. They could see the top of Mighty Mac peaking out of the trees from the little balcony of their 4th floor hotel room. After supper, they bought a bit of Mackinac Island fudge for dessert. :P 

Sunday: Lake Michigan's Coast

Stop 8: Fisherman's Island State Park

This beach may just look sandy from far away, but it's actually quite rocky. Mom quickly became engrossed in the rocks. XD

She found a few Petoskey stones as well as many other cool rocks. Here they are in a little water so that you can see them at their best:

The Petoskey stones are the cluster of gray stones in the center. They are a type of fossilized coral - the distinctive hexagon pattern of the coral gives them away. Some of the gray stones on the edges are other sorts of fossilized corals, plants, and shells.

Stop 9: Point Betsie Lighthouse

Farther down Lake Michigan's coast, they visited one last lighthouse. The sand dune setting of this one make it especially picturesque.

A volunteer was waiting for them at the top of the tower to point out various sights. It's probably good they were told beforehand he'd be up there. XD

They toured the museum (a separate building) until it closed for the day and then spent a few minutes admiring the beach and the sun sparkling on the water. The sand gave way to a water's edge made up entirely of small stones. Then it could be avoided no longer - it was time to head the rest of the way home.

Goodbye, Lake Michigan. <3

1 comment:

  1. oh such amazing pictures. i am on Lake Erie which is wonderful, but we dont have nearly the level of rock formations, bays and inlets that the western Great Lakes have. Each lake is a masterpiece in its own right, but Lake Superior truly lives up to its namesake. looks like you had an amazing time, i'm glad :)