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PICTURED ROCKS NATIONAL LAKESHORE - PART 1 (MI)



THURSDAY - After three consecutive moving days we have finally arrived at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore here on the Upper Peninsular of Michigan.

There's no way we're going to be able to do all the activities they offer here with the short amount of time we have, but we're going to try our best to at least hit all the highlights.

No cell signal and no chance of Starlink signal, but we're within sight of Lake Superior.

No electric or water hookups, but we have a garbage can and clean pit toilet across the street.

We also have a private pathway that takes us down to...

...a 30' tall sand dune slide that will deliver us onto...

...a Caribbean like setting with turquoise blue waters and a pebble beach.

After getting setup and unhitching THE POD we set out to go and vist the other two campgrounds in the park that take reservations. One of them we'll be moving to on Monday, the other has size restrictions that prevent us from towing THE POD down to sneak a peek.

We visited with just ROVER and found the restrictions necessary because of the tight turns and site sizes found in the campground.



FRIDAY - Today we have a full day of sightseeing and by 9:00AM we were on our way to the first site.

It order to be able to complete our full itinerary of activities for the day we're going to need a good breakfast.

I know, let's heat up a couple of those pasty's we have in the freezer.

I told you we would eventually remember to photograph one for you!

This is a Traditional Pasty with beef, pork, potato and onion. It was just a little bit dry for my taste, so I added a couple spoonfuls of pork gravy from a jar on top and moistened it up without affecting the taste too much. YUMMY!

We were told the locals will add ketchup to moisten it, but that just didn't seem like a good idea to me. Tricia ate hers as is.


First up is the 3-mile round trip Chapel Falls Trail. It's a pretty level hike through the woods along an old roadbed to a 60' tall waterfall that is described in the park pamphlet as "one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the park".

Chapel Falls

Chapel Falls

There's a footbridge above the waterfall that gives access to the other side of the falls
and continues on for another 2-miles down to Chapel Beach on Lake Superior.

The view of the falls from the other side wasn't as good.


Next up was a trip to the Munising Falls Visitor Center which also acts as the trailhead for Munising Falls.

It was an easy 800' trail to the viewing platform to see the 50' waterfall. There were an additional 77-stairs up to get a different view of the falls, but didn't look worth the effort.

Just around this corner is the waterfall.

Munising Falls is much more dramatic in the early spring during the snow melt.


With our morning activities complete it was time to start thinking about lunch. We found a "fast food" Mexican restaurant, similiar to Chipolte's (but not as good) to grab a bite.

Afterwards we went to the local library to use the WiFi and get this blogsite up to date with our location and stats. With a little bit of time left, we drove 5-miles outside of town and checked out the Bay Furnace campground, a U.S. Forest Service campground, in case we ever come back this way again.

Still with some time to spend we grabbed some ice cream and then went to wait in line for our next activity.

We again were the first couple in line and struck up a conversation with the second couple in line. After talking for several minutes we learned they too are Airstream owners. Needless to say we had a lot to talk about and I'm happy to say they are our newest friends and now blog followers.

Steve and Debbie, thanks for joining the Facebook group, and we hope our paths will cross again in the future.


Since we were first in line to board the boat we had first choice on where to sit. WE immediately went to the upper deck and the back row on the starboard side. Debbie and Steve took the two seats immediately in front of us and we were able to continue our conversation.


SPRAY FALLS CRUISE
WITH
PICTURED ROCKS CRUISES


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The wooden 1867 East Channel Lighthouse of Grand Island.
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Our first look at the Pictured Rocks lakeshore.
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The Chapel Rock fromation.
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SPOILER ALERT: That will be us in the kayaks tomorrow!
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Bridal Veil Falls on the far right.
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This waterfall only appears after a huge rain event like we've been experiencing.
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Look at all the different colors in the rockface.
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Now we are starting to see some of the smaller sea caves.
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The first of several large aches we'll see today.
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Here the rock wall has collapsed into the lake.
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Here huge chucks have separated from the rock walls.
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This collapse has happened in the last three years.
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This is known as Indian Head Point.
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This ceiling collapsed in the 1940s of this arch.
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More of the sea caves that we'll be paddling through tomorrow.
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This deep recess in the wall is called Chapel Cove.
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We were surprised when our Captain pulled our huge tour boat deep into Chapel Cove.
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This is where the Mosquito River meets the lakeshore, no waterfall here.
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See anything special about the lighter colored tree near the center of the photo?
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It's a White Pine Tree, the state tree of Michigan.
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It's on the reverse side of the 2018 America the Beautiful Quarter for the state of Michigan.
Did you notice the roots stretch across the huge divide between the rocks?
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Tour's over! Time to head back to the marina.



Tucking the boat up into Chapel Cove.

This is Spray Falls.



SATURDAY - We've got a busy day today before our mid-afternoon boat tour.

So let's get started!

Miners Falls is a short .6-mile hike down to the falls, of course it's also .6-mile back up to the parking lot.


MINERS FALLS HIKE


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There were plenty of benches where you could stop and take a rest.
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There was also a variety of flowers still blooming along the trail.
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Nearing the end of the trail.
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You can already hear the waterfall thundering at the bottom observation deck.
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Miners Falls
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Time to head back up to the parking lot.



After hiking to the falls we drove another short distance to the end of the road where we began an even shorter hike to see Miners Rock.


MINERS ROCK HIKE


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Within sight of the parking lot is the Upper Observation Deck.
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From there you can see out into South Bay in Munising. What's that boat out there?
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It's the morning tour boat going out that we'll board at 3:30pm when they get back.
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Miners Rock as seen from the Upper Observation Deck.
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There's our tour boat photobombing our shot of Miners Rock.
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The wheelchair accessible trail down to the Lower Observation Deck.
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Some 1000 years ago Miners Rock was believed to have been an arch.


With a few hours until our kayak tour time we grabbed lunch and searched out the local library to start crafting this blogpost for you all.

Have I mentioned we have zero cell signal at the campsite and no chance of getting a Starlink signal through the dense tree cover?

Let me mention right up front that the following photos were shot through an inexpensive semiclear waterproof envelope with a leash that we purchased just in case Tricia's phone went overboard. Some of them will have blurry spots in different areas of the photo.


ULTIMATE KAYAK TOUR
WITH
PICTURED ROCKS KAYAKING


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Keep in mind our group is in the yellow kayaks, except the guide in a single red kayak.
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Here's our guide Megan in her red single kayak giving directions.
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We were first in our little group of four kayaks to pass under the arch.
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We just barely squeezed though without capsizing.
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Staying just far enough off the wall to stay upright.
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Those red kayaks up ahead are part of another slower group.
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You can really see all the colors when up close with the sun shining on them.
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We tucked into a cave to get out of the sun for a short while.
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Soon everyone was joining us in the shade.
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Some smaller sea caves are just up ahead.
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As mentioned before this arch's ceiling colapsed in the 1940s.
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Now the sea gulls have built a nest under the old arch.
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This mini-arch was fun to paddle through.
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Always be cautious of the rocks just below the surface.
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Here we played a little "follow the leader" into some of the smaller caves.
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We were t the end of the line this time.
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Time to head back out into the sunshine.
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It was the perfect day to be out on the water in a kayak.
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We were in Group 3 off the boat and eventually Group 4 caught up to us.
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Group 4 guide was paddling a blue kayak.
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Someone spotted this Bald Eagle high up in the pine tree.
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When paddling inside a cave you're usually being dripped on by the rocks.
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Here we are at the back of Chapel Cove.
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There was plenty of room for everyone inside Chapel Cove.
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There's that famous tree up ahead, the one on the back of the 2018 quarter.
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Now you can really see the roots stretching across the divide betwen the rocks.
To be honest there used to be a rock bridge between the two stacks when the tree was still growing up.
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Now for the moment I haven't been looking forward to.
Trying to gracefully extract my wide-bodied torso from this narrow-bodied kayak.



SUNDAY - As you've seen we've had a busy couple of days.

Today we're going to take it easy and finally go check out the wonderfully sandy beach be have right in our back yard.

Rather than risk injury trying to access the beach barreling down one of the sand dunes we drove to the opposite end of the campground where they have a day use parking lot and a stairway built to safely reach the beach.


Today I am starting a new "Travel Quest" for myself. I call it "Knee Deep in the Great Lakes". You can keep track of my progress HERE. All it involves is for me to go knee deep into each one of the 5 Great Lakes and collect a ½-oz. sample of water from each lake. After I collect all five I'll figure out a way to display them properly in THE POD.


KNEE DEEP IN LAKE SUPERIOR


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The only people on the beach when we arrived were just leaving.
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Looking to the left there was no one on the beach.
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Looking to the right the same thing, no one on the beach.
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This looks like a good spot, not too many rocks in the water.
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Filling my vial with Lake Superior water.
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One down, four more to go to complete my collection.
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Just to out do me Tricia went into the 60°F water all the way up to her shoulders.
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Look at all the different colors, just like the shoreline we paddled yesterday.
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Time to head back to THE POD for lunch.



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