Saturday - 13 June 2015
Michigan Meander: The Wrap Up
Sampler for the Rest of the Trip
When we last spoke we had just arrived on the North Shore of Lake Huron in the Upper Peninsula. We would be here for a couple days to explore more of the gorgeous Les Cheneaux Islands area and celebrate Betsy's 65th Birthday!
We had booked a room at the Les Cheneaux Motel which sits on a low rise a few miles to the east of Cedarville. We knew about the place from our previous stay in September of 2014.
When I say booked a "room" it is a bit misleading. They are suites but of the old timey variety. Knotty pine paneling thoughout tells the story here. The suites have a full kitchen, bedroom with two single beds and adjoining bathroom and another combo bedroom/living room with a double bed. And they have WiFi of course. The rate was $65.00/night.
We awoke on Saturday morning to chilly temps - 46 degrees. We had coffee and relaxed for a bit then crossed the road to walk some of the streets along the lake shore. We stopped at a yard sale and chatted with the gal running it. She told us about a hike near the "Christian Retreat" a bit to the east. It is called Cedar Campus. They have 500 acres and 6 miles of shoreline on Lake Huron. Nice.
The yard sale gal also told us about the visitors center near Cedarville where we could get maps and hiking info. Good lead! And after breakfast we got our hiking gear together and went in search of the Visitors Center.
We found it - but it was closed. On a weekend!!
Since we were that far down the road we decided to scope out the location for the Les Cheneaux Culinary School. This is where Betsy decided we should have dinner that night to celebrate her 65th Birthday.
On our way there we spotted a place called Woods & Water Ecotours. We stopped in on our way back through and the friendly folks there quickly had us with maps in hand and lots of suggestions for hikes and also some tips for local shoreline camping.
Thus armed we headed off down the road for our hike.
But first, a little about the Les Cheneaux Islands.
The Les Cheneaux Islands area is composed of a 36-island archipelago along 12 miles of Lake Huron shoreline, on the southeastern tip of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The area was historically navigated by Native Americans and French explorer and their way to and from the Straits of Mackinac and St. Mary's River.
The Les Cheneaux area, which includes Cedarville and Hessel, has been designated by The Nature Conservancy as one of the Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere, owing to its pristine water, air and woodlands.
Source: Les Cheneaux Chamber of Commerce
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
Here we are at the trail head and parking area for our shoreline hike.
In the background is Dolomite Port and the Carmeuse Lime and Stone quarry. Besides this quarry and many more, Carmeuse also runs the largest limestone quarry in the world. It is located near Rogers City in the lower peninsula. Betsy and I explored that area in September of 2013. You can read about it here.
The limestone which is being quarried is from the Niagara Escarpment.
Les Cheneaux is part of the Niagara Escarpment– a crescent shaped limestone arch that runs from the Niagara region of New York State and Eastern Ontario, through northern Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, to northern Wisconsin. The escarpment is a massive ridge of fossil-rich sedimentary rock which began its formation 450 million years ago as the outer rim of a shallow sea known geologically as the Michigan Basin. More...
Source: Les Cheneaux.org
We had barely started our hike when we spotted these two beauties.
Unbeknownst to us these yellow lady's slippers(Cypripedium parviflorum) are quite common in the area and even line some of the roadways.
We have been thinking about a little cabin in the Yooper. I think we finally found one which is in our price range.
Not exactly the perfect sandy beach such as we had been enjoying on this trip. This rocky beach type is known as a Limestone cobble shore. As the map shows it is found mainly in the UP with just a few spots in the Lower.
There is an in depth publication about the Limestone cobble shores in Michigan. It can be downloaded as a 10 meg PDF here. It is very interesting reading.
The differential weathering in some of the dolomite made for interesting looking rocks.
There were large limestone boulders in the woods and along the shoreline. The orange color on the ones here is from a thick growth of lichen.
This hike wove in and out of dense thickets of northern white cedar (aka: arborvitae) (Thuja occidentalis). We saw a number of trees this size growing on the tops and out of the cracks of some of the big limestone boulders.
The name arborvitae or "tree of life" dates from the 16th century when the French explorer Cartier learned from the Indians how to use the tree's foliage to treat scurvy.
This abbreviated report for our wonderful hike here does not do this area justice. I can't wait to get back!
After the hike we cleaned up and drove to Hessel to celebrate Betsy's 65th birthday at the Les Cheneaux Culinary School. Shown here is the Lake Huron Whitefish dip appetizer. Tasty. We both ordered the Pistachio encrusted Lake Trout. Happy Birthday Betsy!!!
It rained nearly all night and when we got up the next morning it was still rainy/foggy/misty as we started our drive north to Grand Marais via Newberry.
Our route to Grand Marais which sits on the south shore of Lake Superior.
Sunday - 14 June 2015
This was the view as we headed north on our route to Newberry.
We took a circuitous route via Pickford, Fibre, Trout Lake and Strongs and then on to Newberry. I wanted to revisit the campground where we stayed in 2010. Being a sentimentalist I always enjoy these trips down memory lane. But they don't always hold up to my memories so nicely tinted by my rose colored glasses.
Here we are at Natalie campground on the shore of the Dollarville flooding of the Tahquamenon River. The place was pretty much unchanged except for a few new picnic tables. The photos of Natalie from 2010 are here. It was fun to look them over again.
We said goodbye to Natalie and continued west toward Seney. It was along this section of road we saw two adult Sandhill Cranes and three young ones looking for some breakfast in an adjacent field. Neither Betsy or I had ever seen the brown colored young birds before. It was pretty cool to see all five birds at once!
When we arrived in Grand Marais the weather had cleared. Since our brief visit in 2010 it looked like Grand Marais was getting a bit more prosperous with more tourists walking and driving about and it looked like the brew pub was doing a good business.
We made our way up to the lake front to look for a plaque we had see before. It had been relocated but we found it.
I am sure this tragedy shook tiny Grand Marais to its very core.
As we left Grand Marais we saw this mowing rig in someone's yard. Functional or just a conversation piece?
Our next stop would be Munising where we would stay for two nights. We took county route H-58 which goes through and skirts along the boundary of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
When we got to Munising we checked into Scotty's Motel. We had stayed there in September of 2013. It was cheap ($48/dbl) and we could walk to town. This time we got a room with better beds - firm and not creaking. Betsy was happy.
We left Munising early and headed over to the trailhead for the Chapel Beach loop in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Driving through this grove of Paper Birch epitomizes what I consider the Great North Woods.
We are ready for the skeeters!!!!
Our route for today. The Chapel Beach loop is about 6 miles round trip and is one we have hiked at least once before. We always enjoy it.
An old friend - Braun's Holly Fern (Polystichum braunii). The glossy leaves really make it a stand out in the dense shade of the woods.
Now here is a "fern" that only a gametophyte could love - Dwarf Scouring Rush (Equisetum scirpoides).
This twisted and weird looking plant is commonly knows as a "fern ally". And what exactly is a fern ally you ask? WikiPedia comes to the rescue:
Fern allies are a diverse group of seedless vascular plants that are not true ferns. Like ferns, a fern ally disperses by shedding spores to initiate an alternation of generations.
As has been said: "It's the same - thing only different".
Here we are at famous Chapel Rock on Chapel beach. Check out the root spanning the void. How could this happen!?
Like a tongue flicking out a serpents mouth the roots of the white pine are hanging on for dear life - literally.
An interpretive sign states these are easily erodible sandstones but there is more to it than that. An archway which spanned the gap between the Chapel Rock and the mainland collapsed in the 1940s.
It and the remaining arch were carved by Lake Nipissing high waters some 3800 years ago.
Read more about Lake Nipissing.
After a short stroll along the shore of Lake Superior we ascended back up to the trail using this sand ladder.
See the tiny speck in the middle of this photo? It was a lone kayaker. His boat was so loaded down with gear we wondered how he could possibly paddle it and keep it above the waterline.
On our way back to the parking area we saw a few of these lovely orchids. We have these Pink Lady Slippers (Cypripedium acaule) back home in West Virginia.
The trail back was very wet with deep mud. These nice reflecting pools along the trail were swarming with mosquito larvae.
Now we are back up to the high section of the trail and walking through this lovely fern festooned woods.
Not far from the parking area we saw more interesting ferns. This is Rattle Snake fern (Botrypus virginianus). It is a common fern here and in West Virginia but I am always glad to see it.
The shaggy bark of the Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) is always fun to run your fingers through.
The next day we headed south to Bergland and stayed at a fisherman's hotel on Lake Gogebic. It was called the Walleye Lodge. Even though it was on the water there was not a swimming beach, but lots of area for boat launches and trailers.
Our first morning there we went down to the shoreline and were surprised to see a railroad still intact. It might have been part of the Wisconsin Central Ltd network shown here.
We decided to take a stroll down the track to do a little nature watching and enjoy the early morning quiet.
This is looking south west. This section of track hugs the shore line of Lake Gogebic and then runs by the launch area of the Walleye Lodge.
This is a dragonfly nymph exuviae. It was attached to a Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) leaf. Exuviae which is fancy term for the remains of an exoskeleton.
Note the rust on the track- a clear indication it has not been used for some time.
The Oxe-eye daisy and Hawk weed were in full bloom and making quite the show. Neither of these plants are native to North America but have naturalized far and wide.
This is the Escarpment trail with its fabulous views of the Carp River and surrounding mountain ranges.
The lovely "Lake of the Clouds".
Looking back along the escarpment trail from the now ADA compliant viewing platform.
After our hike we decided to check out the town of Ontonogan which is a few miles northeast of the Porkies.
Every little town has its claim to fame.
Just across the street from this sign was Syls Cafe.
A sign said they had pasties. Yippee!
No trip to the Yooper seems complete unless we have this tasty treat.
A pasty(sometimes known in the United States as a pastie or British pasty) is a baked pastry, a traditional variety of which is particularly associated with Cornwall, the western- and southernmost county in England. It is made by placing uncooked filling, typically meat and vegetables, on one half of a flat shortcrust pastry circle, folding the pastry in half to wrap the filling in a semicircle and crimping the curved edge to form a seal before baking
Syls has been around for a while with different owners and different names.
On our way back to Bergland we stopped to get some photos of these amazing Wild lupines. We had been seeing them for the entire trip along many of the roadways.
We left Bergland the next day and headed south and west. Our plan was to drive to Manistique and stay there for a few days.
But first I wanted to take another trip down memory lane. This meant driving through the teeny-tiny town of Ewen, picking up Choate Road and then down to Streusser Lake where we spent several pleasant hours in 2010 cooling off in its cool waters.
According to this sign they depleted an ancient forest of virgin trees in only 20 years. Now they have nothing and the town is defunct.
When I got out of the van at Streusser Lake I was enveloped in a cloud of mosquitoes. Betsy stayed inside with the AC on while I took a few shots.
Here was the view of Streusser Lake in 2010. This was after a hot a sweaty hike on the Escarpment Trail in the Porkies. Ahhhh...
We said good-bye to Streusser and drove the short distance over to Robbins Pond where we had camped in 2010.
Our nice quiet camp sight on Robbins Pond. There are only 3 sites and it was off the beaten path.
Here was our camp site in 2010. We had a wonderful time here.
At this point in our trip Betsy got a phone call letting her know her dad, Art, was nearing his end. We cancelled our reservations in Manistique and then drove to Fort Wayne to be with Betsy's dad. Art passed away on Thursday, June 18.
ARTHUR A. BEAL, 97, passed away on Thursday, June 18, 2015, at Golden Years Homestead. "In his own words." Born July 5, 1917, in Jamestown, N.Y., he was a son of Samuel Clarence and Carrie Jane Beal.
He was a graduate of Jamestown High School in 1935 and after receiving an academic scholarship to Yale University, graduated with honors in 1940. He worked as Senior Buyer for 35 years at the world headquarters of Goodyear Tire & Rubber, in Akron, Ohio, retiring in 1975.He and Jeanne moved to Fort Wayne in 1983 to be near their daughter, Charlotte, and grandsons.
He was a veteran of World War II, served three years as a member of the Army Transportation Corps, 28 months of which were spent in the Pacific Ocean theater from Australia up through the Pacific Islands to Japan. He was a member of Grace United Church of Christ, in Uniontown, Ohio, and he regularly attended Messiah Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne.
He actively volunteered for many years at Crossroad Childrens' Home, Helmke Library at IPFW, Follinger Freimann Botanical Conservatory, National Public Radio 89.1 FM and Public Broadcasting TV 39. He is survived by daughters, Charlotte (Joe) Fogle of Harlan, Ind. and Elizabeth (Michael) Breiding of Wheeling, W.Va.; grandsons, Scott (Jennifer) Knerr and Matthew (Amanda) Knerr; great-grandsons, Parker Knerr, Liam Knerr, Braeden Knerr, Mattison Knerr, and Ehren Knerr; and great-grandaughters, Claire Knerr and Adelynn Knerr.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Jeanne; brothers, Clarence, William, and James; and sister, Harriet Magnuson. Service is 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, 2015, at Hockemeyer & Miller Funeral Home, in Harlan, Ind., with calling one hour prior. Calling also from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, June 22, 2015, at the funeral home. Burial in Harlan Memorial Cemetery. Pastor Paul Offhaus of St. John Lutheran Church will officiate.
Memorials to Harlan Christian Youth Center or Heartand Hospice.
A parting shot as we left Michigan.
'Till next time...