This is Casey after his grand romp on the beach at the Shallows. He did enjoy his run very much, but an unfortunate by-product of our stroll on the beach was an extremely sandy interior of the cab of the truck afterwards!
As we continued along the road, it veered away from the shoreline for a short while, as it joined with the North Country Scenic Trail. When completed, this will be the longest scenic national trail in the country, stretching 4600 miles between New York and North Dakota. We then turned north onto Michigan 123, and continued to skirt along the coast of Lake Superior, headed to Whitefish Point, the eastern end of Michigan's Shipwreck Coast. We drove through the little town of Paradise ( don't turn away, you'll miss it! ) and saw this neat mailbox along the way:
I think that's a telling sign of how high the snow gets around here! The road gets narrower, twistier, and more remote feeling, with Lake Superior on one side, and marshy bogs on the other. I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for moose, as this county is supposed to be the best area around for a possible moose sighting, but I didn't have any luck. We soon came to the end of the road, and Whitefish Point. It was spectacular!
Whitefish Point Lighthouse, believed to be the oldest active lighthouse on Lake Superior, dating back to 1849. The original brick tower was replaced by this steel tower in 1861. It was almost 6:00pm now, and we split up to view the two sights: I went up the tower to the catwalk around the beacon, and Al went to visit the Shipwreck Museum.
The Shipwreck Museum was very interesting, rated as one of the best small museum exhibits in the country. The many exhibits show the history of the point, the innumerable wrecks that have occurred here, and has a lot of memorabilia, especially related to the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The twisty staircase leading up the tower. There were too many steps to count, and I was huffing and puffing as I got to the top. But the view was worth it!
The site of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is about 15 miles off the coast here.
View to the east, and the point
The Shipwreck Museum store to the left, and former Crew's Quarters building, from when the Coast Guard stood guard over the beacon. Now it's a lodging facility where guests can stay over night. Past the buildings in the forested area, is the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory viewing platforms. This is an important area for migrating birds, and an excellent place to view hawks, waterfowl and songbirds on their spring and fall migrations.
We then left the Point, and started our way back south. Our last stop for the day was 10 miles west of Paradise, at Taquamenom Falls State Park. This park is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Michigan, as well as one of the largest east of the Mississippi River. The upper falls has a drop of 50 feet and is nearly 200 feet across. A maximum flow of nearly 50,000 gallons of water a second has been recording flowing over these falls.
The view as you walked along the cliffs of the gorge
Getting closer. The copper color of the water is caused by tannins leaching from the cedar, spruce and hemlock trees in the swamps that are being drained by the river.
Up close to the edge after a 95 step staircase down the ravine's edge.
Another shot...I couldn't pick a favorite, so you can choose which one you like!
About 5 miles down river from the Upper falls are the Lower Falls, more of a series of falls than one singular one.
All of the lower falls lead into the final basin, and the river then flows onwards to Lake Superior
You can rent boats here at the base for canoeing and kayaking, and go over to the far side for some exploring on your own. Unfortunately, it was now close to 7:00pm, the mosquitoes were out in full force, and it was time for us to head back to Mackinaw City.
A parting shot of the mouth of the Taquamenom River as the sun was going down.
A view of the river from the campground in the park. It was a very nice campground, with several sites right on the river front.
It was about an hour's drive from here back to Mackinaw City, where we had some dinner and packed our stuff up to leave in the morning. We had about a 3 1/2 hour drive back to Waldenwoods in the morning, and then back to work. It was a great side trip!
Coming up next, the Waldenwoods Cardboard Boat Regatta, a video tour of the campground as it fills up for the holiday, and some Fourth of July shenanigans! have a great holiday everyone!