Want to see our Visited States Data, our State by State Bucket Lists or our Visited Parks and Campground lists?

Then click on the image above to go to our other website.

OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST (MI)




THURSDAY - This morning we crossed the state border from Wisconsin into Michigan for the first time.

That makes it our 91st such crossing between states and there are only 16 more that we haven't done yet. Check out our page called BORDER CROSSING CHALLENGE if this at all interests you.

Michigan won't become our 49th Visited State until Sunday morning, because we don't count a state as "officially" visited until we've spent our third consecutive night there.

That leaves only one state left for us to visit, and I must say we once again may just have saved the best for last.


A short 56-mile drive from the Walmart in Ashland, WI is where you'll find our first campsite in Ottawa National Forest of Michigan.

The final 14-miles of today's drive was on the National Black River Scenic Byway. It terminates at the Black River Harbor and Marina, the only harbor and marina in the lower 48 states that is operated by the USDA Forest Service.

Black River Harbor is one of only a handful of places in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where you can launch a boat into Lake Superior. The shoreline is either too remote or high cliffs come right down to the shoreline. It also has an easily accessed sandy beach. All that means this is going to be a very busy location come the weekend.

I'm just glad we'll be out of here before the Fourth of July holiday next week.

Every once in a while I get lucky enough to reserve the best campsite in the campground.

We're getting pretty good solar collection while on this site...

...to go along with a great view of Lake Superior from our dinette windows.


We leave here on Monday morning and the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday is for more rain and thunderstorms. So with that in mind, we decided to get out and do some of our sightseeing right after lunch today.

First up is a unique opportunity to drive 800-feet up a mountain and then take an 18-story elevator ride to the top of a World Class Ski Jump that hasn't seen action since 1994. This is not your ordinary ski jump, it's 35% taller than the ones they use in the Olympics, it's so high it's classified as a Ski Fly Hill, the only one in the United States.


COPPER PEAK


SLIDE NUMBER
1OF12

By the time the skier reached the bottom of the 469' ramp they were in excess of 70MPH.
SLIDE NUMBER
2OF12

Sadly the chair lift is inoperable, so we had to drive to the bottom of the elevator.
SLIDE NUMBER
3OF12

Come on, let's get this show on the road! I ain't afraid.
SLIDE NUMBER
4OF12

WOW! That is a long way up there isn't it?
SLIDE NUMBER
5OF12

This is where the 18-story elevator drops you off.
SLIDE NUMBER
6OF12

From here there's still other 7-stories of stairs to climb before we reach the top.
SLIDE NUMBER
7OF12

Can you imagine what it's like to fly 70MPH down this ramp on skis?
SLIDE NUMBER
8OF12

The top 4-stories are metal "see through" stairs. They're kind of freaky to climb!
SLIDE NUMBER
9OF12

Almost back down to the elevator deck. You can take the stairs all the way down if you like.
SLIDE NUMBER
10OF12

Can you spot ROVER down there by that building?
SLIDE NUMBER
11OF12

Since the chair lift isn't working, you have to drive up and down the maintenance access road.
SLIDE NUMBER
12OF12

This is where the skiers would eventually come to a stop after their "flight".


That was a fun time! There's nowhere else in the United States where you can experience that.

Now let's go check out the Black River Harbor and Beach, yes I said beach!


BLACK RIVER HARBOR


SLIDE NUMBER
1OF9

The road down to the boat launch on the Black River.
SLIDE NUMBER
2OF9

The ramp wasn't busy today, but that will change this weekend if the weather improves.
SLIDE NUMBER
3OF9

The trail to the beach crosses over this 210' suspension bridge.
SLIDE NUMBER
4OF9

A view of the protected Black River Harbor.
SLIDE NUMBER
5OF9

There were colorful wildflowers all along the trail to the beach.
SLIDE NUMBER
6OF9

SLIDE NUMBER
7OF9

It's been too long since I've just sat on the beach and "chilled".
SLIDE NUMBER
8OF9

In Michigan this is considered a "top notch" beach.
SLIDE NUMBER
9OF9

Time to cross back over the bridge and return to the campsite.



SATURDAY - It's been raining on and off for the last two days, but tonight the rain has subsided even though the cloud cover is still pretty dense.

We even took the break in the rain for a chance to go into town and eat dinner. Let's just say we should have stayed home!

The cloud cover did have one benefit though, it made for a very spectacular sunset over Lake Superior as seen from the rear of our campsite.



SUNDAY - Today is sunny without a cloud in the sky, wish we could say that about the Friday and Saturday we just had!

It should be a perfect day to get out and hike the trails leading to five waterfalls that can all be found within 3-miles of our campsite.

Highs in the upper 60°F, no chance of rain and just enough wind to keep the mosquitoes at bay.


WATERFALL HIKES IN THE OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST
ALL ALONG THE BLACK RIVER SCENIC BYWAY


SLIDE NUMBER
1OF43

The trail starts out with 5 irregular sized stairs.
We'd be seeing a lot more of these before the day is through.
SLIDE NUMBER
2OF43

Honey, does this fallen tree look safe to walk under?
SLIDE NUMBER
3OF43

Our first waterfall of the day, Great Conglomerate Falls.
SLIDE NUMBER
4OF43

This fall isn't nearly as swollen as the ones we saw last week in Minnesota...
SLIDE NUMBER
5OF43

...but we did recieve a lot of rain over the past two days.
SLIDE NUMBER
6OF43

The calm waters heading downstream to the next set of falls.
SLIDE NUMBER
7OF43

Now all we have to do is climb back up all these stairs to get back to the parking lot.
SLIDE NUMBER
8OF43

Check out the growth pattern of this young tree trying to find some sunlight.
SLIDE NUMBER
9OF43

These ferns were everywhere and from this angle make for an interesting photo.
SLIDE NUMBER
10OF43

Tricia said she'd keep me safe and hold up the tree while I walked under it.

SLIDE NUMBER
11OF43

This trail was short and before we knew it we were at the water's edge..
SLIDE NUMBER
12OF43

Potawatomie Falls is split down the middle by a huge rock formation.
SLIDE NUMBER
13OF43

SLIDE NUMBER
14OF43

SLIDE NUMBER
15OF43

Thankfully the trails to the waterfalls are getting shorter.
SLIDE NUMBER
16OF43

This one ended up being very short. They should post a notice back near the parking lot.
SLIDE NUMBER
17OF43

You can see the observation deck at the end of the trail from the AREA CLOSED sign.
SLIDE NUMBER
18OF43

So Tricia zoomed in and took a photo of Gorge Falls, as much as we could see anyways.

SLIDE NUMBER
19OF43

WE haven't seen that sign before on any of the trails. How bad could it be?
SLIDE NUMBER
20OF43

That's pretty bad!
SLIDE NUMBER
21OF43

The irregular stairs just kept going, and going...
SLIDE NUMBER
22OF43

...and going, and going...
SLIDE NUMBER
23OF43

...before finally reaching the water.
SLIDE NUMBER
24OF43

Sandstone falls is a series of several smaller falls instead of one big one.
SLIDE NUMBER
25OF43

It's the only one where you can get down close to the water and wet your toes.
SLIDE NUMBER
26OF43

This is the largest drop here at Sandstone Falls.
SLIDE NUMBER
27OF43

SLIDE NUMBER
28OF43

SLIDE NUMBER
29OF43

The water continues downstream to one more waterfall before it reaches Lake Superior.
SLIDE NUMBER
30OF43

Anybody know what kind of butterfly this is. It sure is colorful!
SLIDE NUMBER
31OF43

I counted 146 stairs on the way back up.
It wouldn't be so bad if they were all NORMAL sized and shaped.

Just so you know, we did take a lunch break back at THE POD between these two hikes.

SLIDE NUMBER
32OF43

The last waterfall on the Black River is Rainbow Falls.
The trail from the parking lot starts out on nice and level ground.
SLIDE NUMBER
33OF43

They even made a little footbridge so you don't get your feet wet.
SLIDE NUMBER
34OF43

OH NO! Now I know what that sign means. More stairs!
SLIDE NUMBER
35OF43

These stairs were all STANDARD sized and made it easier to climb up and down.
SLIDE NUMBER
36OF43

But still, there were a lot more of them.
SLIDE NUMBER
37OF43

A lot more!
SLIDE NUMBER
38OF43

After 194 stairs (yes I counted them) we were finally at the bottom observation deck...
SLIDE NUMBER
39OF43

...where we found a fairly obstructed view of Rainbow Falls.
SLIDE NUMBER
40OF43

SLIDE NUMBER
41OF43

SLIDE NUMBER
42OF43

From here it's all flat water down to Lake Sperior just around the bend.
SLIDE NUMBER
43OF43

Again, anybody know what these flowers are called?


We've already learned that waterfalls are better viewed in video,
rather than photos, so here you go! ENJOY!


Great Conglomerate Falls

Potawatomie Falls

Gorge Falls

Sandstone Falls

Rainbow Falls



Would you like to be notified of new blog posts?