Thursday, June 20, 2013

Michigan 2013 Trip - Day 5

Grand Marais was nice, but we were ready to move on from the town.  The U.P. is deceptively big and there was still so much to see and do.  Breakfast was non-existent on this day as we wanted to get a move on and see things.  And we were off, westward towards Munising!

The road from Grand Marais to Munising (H58) was only paved a few years ago, and until then was just dirt and sand roads for the most part, winding its way around and along the coast.  Now that it is paved, the traveling is much easier, but there are still many things to see along the way.
Group Picture at the Grand Sable Falls.
The first stop along the way was the Grand Sable Falls.  If you can tackle the two-hundred stairs and ferocious mosquitoes, this is a very pretty waterfall.  Don't want to tackle that many stairs?  There are several landing points along the way and you can see the falls (although not the best view) from halfways down.  Even grandma joined us for this hike.
Grand Sable Falls

Grand Sable Falls

Close up of Grand Sable Falls

Along a different fork in the trail to Grand Sable Falls was the trail to the Grand Sable Dunes.  I can't recommend enough going back to this area.  It is gorgeous.  Later in the trip we'll visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, which is also quite spectacular, but this one is a short hike and well worth taking a look at.  You can see for miles around and it offers a great view of some lakes, more sand dunes, and Lake Superior.  Mom hiked up with me and it was definitely our workout for the day.

The forests in the U.P. are beautiful, full of ferns and wildflowers.

A Bridge on the path to Grand Sable Dunes....and Mom.

View from Grand Sable Dunes.

Panorama of the Grand Sable Dunes.

A view of Grand Sable Dunes from the lakeside.
A little further down the way on H58 was the Log Slide, a place down the sand dunes where loggers would haul the trees to slide down the dune to the waiting Lake Superior waters for transport.  I was tempted to go all the way down to the bottom, but decided one hike was enough for the day, especially since we wanted to make it to Munising for the Pictured Rocks Tour Boat.

What's left of a homestead at the Log Slide.

Old logging equipment.

A view of the dunes from the Log Slide.

Very steep and very tall, the dunes grow larger every year.

Lilacs were in full bloom in the Upper Peninsula and everywhere we went smelled wonderful as a result.
The Tour Boat in Munising is a popular one.  And for good reason.  This almost three hour cruise takes you past the bulk of the Pictured Rocks lakeshore along Superior and past waterfalls, beaches, rock formations and the colorful cliffs where the lakeshore derives its name.  You can sit either up top on the boat or in the enclosed bottom (on a cold windy day, this is your best bet) and it goes along the coast at about 13 miles per hour.  Just a perfect speed for the guide to point out areas of interest along the way.  Because of the full load of passengers on the boat and the fact that the shore was only one one side, it was amusing to see that the boat actually tilted to one side when we were passing picture taking spots, from all the people rushing to that side to get a good shot!  Pictured Rocks are named for the colors that are found all along the rocky walls of the shoreline.  These colors are made by water dripping down the face of the rock and carrying minerals with them.  The black is from manganese, the green and blue from copper, the red and orange from iron, and the white from limestone.
Miner's Castle rock formation along the Pictured Rocks Lake Shore.

Waterfall from the shoreline.

All the beautiful colors of Pictured Rocks.

A Painted Cave.

Lover's Leap

Look at that beautiful water!
Indian Head Rock, so named because of the profile "image" people see there.

Chapel Rock formation with tree growing on top.  It's hard to see, but to the left are the tree's roots snaking out to get more sustenance from the mainland.
East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island

Hungry from all that sailing, we stopped at the Navigator for supper.  With the exception of mom and her bad spaghetti, we all had a good meal here.  I opted for the homemade meatballs over mashed potatoes (not homemade) and gravy.  Grandma and Jan had the liver and onions, which they enjoyed with its generous portion of sauteed onions and a strip of bacon, and we all had a nice salad and corn with our meals.  The food was definitely plentiful and one meal would have been enough for two people.  Tired from a full day and a full stomach, we lodged that night at the cute but noisy Superior Motel & Suites.

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