Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.



While I was camping in the Upper Peninsula last week I got to roam around several waterfalls. I’d been to all of them in years past, and if you’re a long time reader you’ve probably seen them all. But come along with me anyway, you deserve a short break and waterfalls are fun.

The biggest waterfalls in Michigan are near Newberry in the Upper Peninsula. Tahquamen Falls are a big tourist attraction, there’s a state park campground there, and a few hotels in neighboring towns. I just drove over from my campsite down at St. Ignance.

The view from the trail to the falls.

The upper falls are the highest. Notice the red tint to some of the water? That’s tannin from the cedar trees growing along the banks of the river. Sometimes the whole thing looks like frothy rootbeer. You can walk down a lot of stairs to see it from river level.

Should I or shouldn’t I?

Of course I did.

The view from down at the river.

On the way back up I stopped to take this picture of the rocky walls the river has cut away over hundreds of years. Don’t tell anyone, but taking pictures is a good way to rest when you’re having trouble breathing on your way up a whole lot of stairs.

Carved by the river centuries ago.

Then you can take more stairs down to the brink of the falls.

Definitely don’t want to skip this!

It’s important to take these stairs down so you can get a good, closeup look.

Sometimes it’s good to have a hand to hold on to.

Even if your knees and back are protesting.

Getting up close.

Then you can walk the four miles through the woods to the lower falls. Not many people do that, as the trail is quite rustic. I drove. Those stairs were plenty of exercise for me.

When you get to the lower falls you walk along a boardwalk back to get a good view of the falls.

I love this walk almost as much as the falls themselves.

Some years, when there’s less water kids play in them. But not this year! The noise and spray were pretty intense.

Lots of water roaring over the falls.

You can rent a rowboat and paddle over to an island where it’s safe to play in the water. As I was taking pictures I heard the thunder of a storm coming in. The people working at the rowboat station were calling everyone to come back, to get off the water. Everyone did but one young lady who was having trouble paddling in a straight line.

I don’t think he was a lot of help.

I enjoyed Tahquamen Falls, though I lost my phone somewhere there. I don’t remember putting it down anywhere, the last thing I remember doing was taking a picture at the bottom of the first set of stairs. Once back at the car I realized I didn’t have it and I traced my path again, all those stairs included, but never found it.

Ah well, it was pretty anyway.

I learned there are ways to survive without a phone, and continued on my trip, heading north and camping at Hurricane River. From there I explored a few waterfalls, the first being Sable Falls, just a few miles from the campground.

Guess what? There were stairs, even more stairs than at Tahquamen!

They have a sense of humor at Sable Falls.

But it was worth it! No one was there but a fisherman who was further down the river. I set up the tripod and had fun working on smoothing out that flowing water.

Such a pretty waterfall.

But I forgot to carry down my remote shutter release. So after I shot a few images by physically touching the shutter, and worried that I might have moved the camera doing that, I climbed back up the stairs to my car, grabbed the shutter release and clomped back down.

Smoothing out all the edges.

To be honest, I don’t know which of these pictures used the shutter release and which might have been just me and my finger. It didn’t make any difference, but you never know. It was worth the extra steps to me.

Then I drove over to Munising which has several falls. I visited Wagner Falls which has a small parking lot and a short walk back to the falls along a boardwalk…

This was a small waterfall on the walk back to the main event.

..where along the way you can hear the water flowing over the falls hidden by the trees.

Another beautiful waterfall. And very few stairs!

I can’t decide which image I like better of this falls, so I’ll show you both.

Water glides over the rocks.

Then I drove into town and visited Munising Falls. There’s a visitor center there with information about the area, and a very short level walk back to the falls.

The water was ethereal.

Both Wagner and Munising falls are easy walks from the parking lots. I recommend you visit them yourselves if you’re ever up there!

Last time I was up in that part of the woods (literally woods!) my husband and I walked the mile back to Miners Falls in the snow.

No bugs to speak of on that trip.

This year it was getting dark and the bugs were bad, so I didn’t. Plus, have I mentioned tourists? I hadn’t been in the UP (Upper Peninsalia) in tourist season in years. I’d forgotten about all those darn tourists everywhere!

I did drive out to see Miner’s Castle, a rock formation that you shouldn’t miss, and you get this vantage point from very near the parking lot. You can also walk down to see it closer. But did I mention tourists?


So those are the waterfalls I had the opportunity to visit this trip. I hope you enjoyed them, it was nice to have company on all those stairs…and while I was running from the black flies!

Next up, maybe I’ll show you lighthouses….or maybe it will just be other pretty things. I have to hurry up or I’ll be talking about this camping trip the rest of the summer!

Watching birds fly over in the morning light from my cozy tent.

Guess that wouldn’t be so bad though.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

42 thoughts on “Waterfalls

  1. That is amazing. According to maps, I am a little more than 2 hours away. Setting my sights on exploring in the coming weeks. Thank you.


  2. Thank you for taking us on the tour of waterfalls! Ooh my, so BEAUTIFUL!! I’m too far away for just a drive but maybe someday I can plan a trip. You take the most gorgeous photos, what a great camping adventure! How FUN! ❤️ ~Diana


  3. Beautiful photos. I like your honesty about why you stopped to take some of the photos. I’ve seen red water before and now thanks to you I know why. Tannin from cedar trees growing along the banks of the river. Interesting. Sorry about your phone.


  4. My favorite is Scott Falls. Since you missed it, I guess you’re going to have to go back.
    You mentioned knees and back, but did your leg muscles complain for days after all those stairs? Mine did!


  5. I can’t decide which I like best – the smoothed out water, or the water caught in the act of falling. Whichever I ultimately decide on, I really enjoyed this trip because, like lighthouses, I love waterfalls, and this trip was especially good since I didn’t have to do those stairs. Stairs and I don’t get along so well these days. Oh – and the skylight in your tent – perfect!



  6. All those wonderful waterfalls! … and stairs…. Thanks for sharing.


  7. All those photos are beautiful and made me smile in happy remembrance of trips past that we have made. Thank you, Dawn!


  8. Sounds and looks like a wonderful trip. You caught some great photos.


  9. Not bad at all! Talk away. Sorry you lost your phone, but what falls. Munising Falls are my favorite. Love the way it spills and flows.


  10. If you don’t stop it, I’m going to HAVE to come back, somehow!


  11. This looks like a beautiful trip. Loosing a phone while camping could not have been fun.


  12. The nature around Tahquamen Falls and the river itself look gorgeous. Great images, Dawn, and thinks for taking us along. Sorry to read about your phono.


  13. Spectacular. Sorry you lost your phone. That’s a real bummer.


  14. Waterfalls! Hooray! Great images Dawn. I can see why you like to camp in the Upper Peninsula. I rarely pull out my remote shutter release, I set the shutter release on the camera to have a 2s delay. This generally works well to mitigate any camera movement from me pressing the release. I’m looking forward to the lighthouses… 🙂


  15. Wow – great photos! All your efforts made for a beautiful and interesting post. Cool effects captured with the water too!! PS – bummer about losing your phone!!!!


  16. How I love waterfalls! They combine visual and auditory beauty while showing us Nature’s magnificence. Thanks for sharing them here. And yes, if I get up that way, I intend to see — and hear! — them for myself.


  17. Spectacular, Dawn, thank you for that waterfall break–hope the gal got off the water safely! Stunning shots of the waterfalls!


  18. Beautiful photos! Looks like you had a wonderful time! Hi to Katie!!


  19. Dawn, we considered adding the UP to our recent waterfalls road trip, but couldn’t quite make it work. Seems like a trip unto itself. Wow, did we miss out! I like your slow shutter speed photos best and good for you for hauling a tripod along. I’d be lost (literally) without my phone. Bummer.


  20. Pingback: Summer Days: Week 4 and Paradise | Making the Days Count

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