Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Both ends of the road

While camping midway on M-77 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last week I decided to explore both ends of that road.

The colors are changing on M-77 north of M-28 in the UP!

I’d been up at the northern end, which terminates at Grand Marais along the coast of Lake Superior, in June, but it’s such a pretty spot I thought I’d go see what the lake was up to again.

I always love the color of the water against the purple grey clouds during a fall storm on this lake.

As seems to be usual when I visit, it was a stormy day on Lake Superior. Heavy dark clouds made the sky facinating, but made me dash to the car several times as bands of cold rain swept in.

Good thing I brought my raincoat.

That didn’t deter the rock pickers and there were even a few beach walkers out there even during the worst of it.

This guy was riding the waves and wind, while a flock of sandhill cranes in the distance fly against the wind.

But amazingly, the sun won the weather battle and the sky began to brighten. More people instantly appeared to revel in the beauty that is a beach walk in Grand Marais.

Nothing like a brisk walk along the beach once the rain lets up.

I always enjoy my time on the shores of Lake Superior, and this time I didn’t pick up one single rock! Though that might have been due to the weather and not my willpower.

The next morning I headed south on M-77 down to where it ends at M-2, then a bit west to Manistique. My goal was to visit a spring my husband and a friend had both told me I had to see. But first there was this pretty lighthouse off the shore of Lake Michigan.

Reminds me of us, decades ago.

Who can resist, right? It was still windy and cold, but this family out there on the rocks was having lots of fun. Four little kids, they reminded me of my family when we were all that young.

But I was really there to see Kitch-iti-kipi.

This deep, photogenic spring resides within a state park.

What is that, you ask? And how do you pronounce it? Well, maybe I better let you read about it first.

It’s a deep, beautiful spring that maintains a 45 F temperature all year around, even in the cold upper Michigan winters. There’s a barge like flotation that runs on a cable out over the top of the spring.

The colors really are this intense. Especially when the sun shines.

The barge is moved by turning a wheel near the back. Anyone on the barge can turn the wheel and be captain for awhile.

Pull hard to the starboard side!

The center of the barge was open so you could see straight down into the water.

Some big fish down there!

The water was so beautiful, it was mesmerizing. Everywhere I looked people were smiling and happy and chatting and exclaiming over how beautiful it all was.

Such amazing colors!

So, that’s what there is to see at the north and south ends of M-77 in the UP. Since you can’t all get there this fall, I figured you wouldn’t mind if I shared.

Hope you’re smiling now too!

Note: You really should look at these images on something bigger than a phone. You’ll smile wider I promise.


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Waterfalls

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?

Spectacular.

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.


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Lighthouses and waterfalls Part II

I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the last installment of vacation photos.  Those of you on Facebook have already seen where we were on Monday, our last day of vacation, but to keep my blog complete I’ll show you again!

Monday we were still in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so we stopped by Tahquamenon Falls State Park.  We were only going to take a quick look, but it was so beautiful we couldn’t keep our visit brief.

Early in the morning there was still a mist over the water down by the lower falls.

Misty morning.

Misty morning.

Of course we had to stop and enjoy that view…then we wandered down the boardwalk to get up close and personal with the river.  If any of you have been here in the summer you know that people row boats over to the island in the middle of the river and play on the big flat rocks.  Last Monday the roar of the water made even the thought of playing in the river impossible.

No playing on these rocks!

No playing on these rocks!

Like every waterfall we saw last week the water flow was much more than normal for this time of year.  We stood there mesmerized for a long time.

Eventually we headed over to the upper falls, where you can stand on a platform right at the edge and watch the water rush by your feet.

Falling into fall.

Falling into fall.

Isn’t it beautiful?   You can also go down 116 steps to the river…

Start counting!

Start counting!

…and get another stunning view.

Incredible!

Incredible!

Now we were really behind schedule, but we wanted to see one more lighthouse in the UP…and it wasn’t that far away, so after we climbed back up the stairs we popped over to the Point Iroquis lighthouse.  Meet the man lucky enough to live in this one…

 

Telling us the history.

Telling us the history.

…and his cat Ziggy.

Ziggy the mouser!

Ziggy the mouser!

It’s a beautiful lighthouse sitting right on the shore of Lake Superior, built in 1870.  Part of it is a private residence, and part of it is a museum.

It's a beautiful location.

It’s a wonderful location.

You can go up in the tower for free; here’s one of the many beautiful views:

Commercial fisherman out there.

Commercial fisherman out there.

Then, reluctantly, we headed south for home.  That included a foggy trip across the Mackinac Bridge, always a thrill regardless of the weather….

5 miles of bridge.

5 miles of bridge.

…and a stop in Mackinaw City which has the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse…

Lighthouse and bridge combo.

Lighthouse and bridge combo.

…and believe it or not, just two miles up the road the McGullpin lighthouse, built in 1868 and privately owned from 1913 to 2008.

 

Another gem.

Another gem.

It’s a beautiful little lighthouse with a view from the tower of the bridge.  Don’t miss this one if you’re ever up in the tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula!  I didn’t know it was there, and it’s only been open for a few years.  They take donations, but you can go up in the tower for free.

By now it was late in the day and we still had hours of drive ahead of us to get home.  No more dawdling, I had to be at work in the morning.  So we headed for the freeway and hurried home.  We’ve been home all week and I’m still missing ‘up north.’

Till the next trip I’ll just have to enjoy the memories.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 


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Lighthouse Tuesday, UP Thursday

Original lens, Cana Island Lighthouse

Original lens, Cana Island Lighthouse

Some of you remember when we traveled to Maine last July and took you along to see some of the lighthouses there.  Well, this past Tuesday we explored Door County, that long peninsula that sticks out into Lake Michigan off the eastern edge of Wisconsin.   There are several lighthouses along the coast and we found a few of them.  Want to see a couple?

Below is Bailey’s Harbor lights.  Ship captains lined up the red marker with the lights behind it (see the third structure way in the back?) to know they were in the deepest water of the harbor.

Bailey's Harbor Range Lights

Bailey’s Harbor Range Lights

 

And here’s Cana Island Lighthouse, built in 1869.

 

Cana Island

Cana Island

You can go up to the top of this one and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake.

Lighthouse keeper (aka lighthouse docent)

Lighthouse keeper (aka lighthouse docent)

 

That’s always the best part of lighthouses, at least for me.  Going up the stairs and out into the fresh air with a stunning view.  I like to imagine what it was like to live there every day.

Window on the world

Window on the world

Of course I imagine the beautiful sunny days like the day we were there, and don’t think too much about those long days in January and February.  And March.

 

Then there’s Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, built in 1868.  This one has a tour, but we had to be back in Green Bay for meetings and didn’t have time.

Eagle Bluff

Eagle Bluff

It’s a stunning lighthouse, brick just glowing in the late afternoon sun, beautiful colors, the red roof, green shutters and golden walls.  It looked like the quintessential lighthouse, sitting high above the lake,  and it just glowed.

Windows watching

Windows watching

We spent the day Wednesday in important meetings surrounding truck safety, then Thursday morning we headed north, through stunning farm country in northern Wisconsin…

We saw these cement silos everywhere

We saw these cement silos everywhere

…and on into the western Upper Peninsula where we stopped at an iron mine tourist attraction.  Do you think this giant mining guy…

 

Miner guy

Miner guy

….looks a lot like the giant lobster guy we saw in Maine?

 

Lobster guy

Lobster guy

Me too.

Tomorrow we’re going to explore a little bit of the Porcupine Mountains.  It’s just past peak color here, still very beautiful.  I’m hoping for sunny weather.  Maybe with puffy clouds just for good measure.

Beautiful

Beautiful

I have a more serious, more contemplative blog to write about our meetings.  It’s churning around in my mind and will spew out sooner or later.  Tonight’s not the night.  Tonight just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

We sure did.

Adventures!

Adventures!