US, Michigan: Best of UP – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Part 3)

Part 3 – Pictured Rocks Cruise

After about 10 km in the Beaver Basin, we headed straight to the Munising Marina, hoping for happy winds and a tranquil evening. Wish granted, we happily purchased our new tickets and headed to the boarding line. We couldn’t stop noticing everyone’s excitement, while a sailor was asking people where they were from.

Staying in line with another 50 excited people

Happily boarded, and with an funny and enchanting captain explaining bits of history combined with local geography, we got ready on the second deck not only with our cameras, but with our full senses opened. The boat had 3 decks in total, and both superior decks were full before we departed.

The first stop was in front of the East Channel Lighthouse, which is at the southern tip of Grand Island, North of Munising Bay. Built in 1868 by wood, it was restored during early 2000s mainly by volunteer work, when a 91 m seawall was also completed.

East Channel Lighthouse
East Channel Lighthouse – Pictured Rocks

In this way, we learned that Lake Superior is the largest lake of all Great Lakes, and it is the largest body of fresh water on Earth. The shoreline is over 4,000 km, and rarely freezes totally. The average water temperature is 4.4 C, lower than any other Great Lakes. Even in the summer the lake does not appeal to swimmers.

Pictured Rocks, designated as the first National Lakeshore in 1966, extends for 67 km along the shore in the UP between Munising and Grand Marais, and the name derives from the 24 km of the colourful sandstone cliffs were the Mother Nature carved – and continues to carve – beautiful caves, arches, and all kind of profiles, named by imagination or resemblance.

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The colours of the cliffs are created by the multitude of the minerals in the rocks. In connection with water, over time, these minerals leave streaks of colour.

 

These colorful sandstone cliffs tower 15 to 70 m above the water’s surface, making imposing views of colourful columns.

We knew we had to take jackets with us, since the weather changes rapidly on the lake, especially since we took the last cruise of the day. However, I didn’t realize the light jacket I took with me was not enough for the cold currents blowing later in the evening, not talking about freezing hands when I wanted to take more pictures. So, after sitting on the superior deck for a little bit to admire the sunset, we got inside on the second deck of the boat, where we could still admire the views through the big windows.

 

Spray Falls
Spray Falls – Pictured Rocks
Pictured Sky and waters
Pictured Sky and waters
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US, Michigan: Best of UP – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Part 2)

Part 2 – Beaver Basin Hiking – Twelvemile Beach

Hiking in the Beaver Basin can start from the trailing parking lot beside the Little Beaver Lake Campground, after a 5 km of unpaved, narrow, twisting, and size restrictive road.

Little Beaver Lake
Little Beaver Lake

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US, Michigan: Best of UP – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Part 1)

Part 1 – Munising – Munising and Miners Waterfalls

We left behind the soggy morning at Tahquamenon Falls, and by the time we arrived in Munising the clouds were letting the sun show up in the sky. We headed straight to the marina, where we had the evening cruise booked in advance, ready to enjoy the sunset and the Pictured Rocks. Even though the sky was not without clouds, the weather was beautiful, and we didn’t expect to hear that the evening cruise is cancelled due to rough waters. Jaw dropped, really? Yes, the boat cruise can be cancelled anytime and without notice, as the weather is unpredictable on Lake Superior.

Rough waters on Lake Superior

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WORDS

Thanks to Bojana and her love for poetry I decided to contribute myself to the National Poetry Month (which is celebrated in April in North America). As I am not a poet, I will only say few Words:

Soft words sing a lullaby

On a clear evening when there is no cry

Lonely mother who is about

Ready to fight back the wicked and cast out.

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CA, Ontario: Evening walks & Birdwatching – Riverwood Conservancy

The caressing sun is whispering promises to melt the snow by the end of the day.

Two years ago I spent Earth Day planting some trees. This year I’m still looking at the melting snow. And it will melt soon, as the Mother Nature was very generous with us this weekend (after last weekend lashes of freezing rain, snow, ice pellets and strong wind). But the nature is always recovering, and we along with her.

I invite you today for a walk in the park.

Pine Sanctuary - contemplative art at the entrance of Riverwood Conservancy
Pine Sanctuary – contemplative art at the entrance of Riverwood Conservancy

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US, Michigan: Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Even though we wanted to be at the Refuge entrance before sunrise, we were not able to be there. We were wondering if the late barbeque we had the night before or the stars I couldn’t stop gazing at in the middle of the night had something to do with this. Anyway, with a fresh enthusiasm we got to the Refuge gate around 10 am, an hour drive from Munising, where our host was living. The late August sun was up in the sky, and I knew the wildlife was well hidden at that late hour of the morning. The refuge is vast, and has several trails for hikers, or bikers, and needs a lot of time to have it explored. Since we were late already, we decided to have only the drive-through ride, with few stops along the way.

Seney one quiet and calm pond

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US, Michigan: The road to Tahquamenon Falls went through Paradise

Leaving Canadian land via the International Bridge that links the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie of Ontario and Michigan let us have a glimpse of what kind of weather would be greeting us in the neighbouring country, where we were going to continue our road trip around Huron Lake.

After a beautiful and serene sunset on the St Mary’s River shore, we didn’t expect this kind of weather. Gloomy clouds and foggy roads were following us from the morning, but when we saw the post of Paradise town, we knew the rain would stop soon.

Paradise

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CA, Ontario: Manitoulin Island by Chi-Cheemaun; Wikwemikong – Manitowaning

Chi-Cheemaun is not only a ferry. It is the Big Canoe (as it means in Obijwe language) that connects Tobermory in Bruce Peninsula with South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island, but also connects people, stories and spirits.

Tobermory shore and Big Tub Harbour
Tobermory shore and Big Tub Harbour, as seen from the ferry, before departing.

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