~Wednesday, July 21, 2021~
Wow, what a change. A bright, blue sunny day…..no smoke, no clouds. Perfect day to do some sightseeing….our first since being at this campground. Though we’ve enjoyed the slower pace, it’s nice to be taking in a little more U.P. scenery. This area of Michigan is gorgeous, with a large tourist draw. We’ve never seen so many RVer’s in one state. It is quite the summer destination.
Our plans for today were seeing just a sliver of the 42-mile Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (kind of funny to be using the term “National Lakeshore” instead of “National Seashore”) which has its own unique vibe...Jeff likens it to Monterey. And apparently the section that everyone raves about is only accessible by kayak or boat, though there are 100 miles of hiking trails in the area. Now that we’ve seen it, we wished we had worked on fewer projects at our campsite and spent more time touring this fabulous area. Our next campground will be about 2 hours from there, so will likely be paying Pictured Rocks another visit before we leave the U.P.
Before hiking the short trail to Sable Falls (.6 miles), we had a quick lunch at their lovely picnic area. Sadie was excited to be able to hike this trail as well. With its 168 steps down to the falls, it must be the shortest walk we’ve ever had to any waterfall. In our experience, you have to really “pay the dues, to see the views”. This beautiful cascading
waterfall tumbles 75 feet over several cliffs on its way to Lake Superior, a short distance at least from where we were standing. Hiking just a little bit further, the trail drops you down onto the beach, with the enormous lake before you. To the left is where the river meets the lake. Jeff and I had no idea just how beautiful these Great Lakes really are, and the water was surprisingly warm. Of course I can’t resist posting a few facts about Lake Superior, so here ‘ya go…..
Lake Superior contains 10% of all the planet’s fresh surface water.
It covers 31, 700 square miles with an average depth of 480 feet.
The deepest point in the lake is 1,333 feet.
There have been 350 shipwrecks recorded with over 10,000 lives lost in her waters.
It is the largest lake in the world by surface area.
It contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes combined, plus 3 extra Lake Eries.
There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all North and South America with water one foot deep.
There are 78 different species of fish that call the big lake home.
The maximum wave ever recorded was 31 feet high.
Over 300 streams and rivers empty into Lake Superior with the largest source being the Nipigon River in Ontario.
Next, we stopped at a recommended lookout point called Log Slide Scenic Overlook. With dogs not allowed, and the weather not hot, we left her in the car for the short 2-minute walk to the overlook. Not too far from the car, the alarm went off (this happens on occasion when Sadie is left in the car). It is one sensitive alarm system and highly annoying actually). I continued on, while Jeff went back to the car so we could take turns on seeing the overlook. There is historic logging equipment along the way before you get to the overlook. Then WOW!! The views of Lake Superior just hit you.
And that’s about as far as you’d want to go, though there are always people wanting to push boundaries...right? You really would not want to peek over too far since the dune is hundreds of feet down, which would be a soft fall, but a no bueno tumble, I’d presume, which would later require a helicopter rescue. No thanks. Legend has it that logs were sent down this tall dune and that with the friction of the sand, would catch fire. Do you believe that one? Winter storms have destroyed the platform overlooking the Grand Sable Banks, but at least the trail was accessible. Definitely worth a stop.
There was a visitor center along the way so we stopped to check it out. They were about to close, but at least we got a little information on the kayaking tours in the area. There are apparently 4 outfitters, so will have to jump on that soon, as I’m sure they’re quite busy at this time of year.
Next, we did some sightseeing at the Hurricane River area, where we did a 1.6 mile hike to the Au Sable Light Station. The trail was beautiful as it follows just feet away from the Lake Superior shores, where you can hear the waves lapping up and see glimpses of water along the way. The sandy landscape eventually changes to low-lying 500-million-year-old Cambrian sandstone. Just gorgeous. When you finally arrive at the lighthouse, one would expect there to be some story about the place. There was nothing, so I had to do a little research myself. The lighthouse was built in 1874, and still operates to this day, warning mariners of the dangerous Au Sable reef. However, instead of being powered by kerosene, it is now powered by sunlight. On the way back, we met a very nice couple who had tried to get into the Hurricane River campgrounds which we passed before heading to the lighthouse. Jeff and I talked to the camp host and found out their 16 sites are very popular with a 6-month advance booking. We wouldn’t doubt its popularity since it is right on Lake Superior. Definitely adding it to our lodging list.
Since we didn’t get home until after 8:00, we decided on a leftover spaghetti dinner while watching a little bit of the Olympics, specifically, the Women’s Softball. Team USA beat Canada 1-0!! This would be the first Olympic games ever, not to have spectators due to the pandemic. It was even delayed one year, still calling it the 2020 games.