Saturday, August 14, 2010

North of Newberry

We went in search of a little downtime in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and we found it in Newberry. We stayed at Clementz Campground and Cabins, which was fair at best. Although temps and humidity were both high, we saw our first glimpse of Fall. From our park, we took Highway 123 north to Paradise and Whitefish Point. Along the way, we grabbed this shot of changing leaves. And, it's so early! According to the locals, the trees are about three weeks ahead of schedule.

On the road to Paradise we stopped at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. (It rhymes with "phenomenon".) These two different falls are beautiful, with their carmel-colored ribbons of shimmering water. (The color is from tannins leached from nearby cedar swamps.) The falls are also famous. In Henry Wadworth Longfellow's epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha", these are the rushing waters by which Hiawatha built his canoe. Our first stop was the Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The falls are 200 feet across, drop 50 feet and more than 50,000 gallons of water flow over it's stunning edge every second.

As we walked down the trail from the Upper Falls, I spotted this interesting fungi along the trail. We heard the hiker behind us exclaim, "Only a photographer would shoot that." (Me, a photographer?)

Here's a look back at the Upper Falls from the trail. The day was warming up during our visit, and that water looked quite inviting!

We opted not to make the four-mile hike along the river from the upper to the lower falls. Rocky got us down to the Lower Falls in a matter of minutes.

The Lower Falls are a series of cascades that go around a small island, with several drops in the 10-foot range. The Upper Falls are very dramatic, but the Lower Falls are lovely.

After hiking around the falls, we were hungry. So, we drove on in to Paradise and enjoyed lunch at Brown's Fish House. It's just the kind of place you'd miss if you didn't know about it. We read about it on Laurie and Odel's blog and were glad we made the stop. (Thanks, guys!) We enjoyed some very fresh fish in this little hole-in-the-wall just steps from Lake Superior.

From Paradise we drove up the shore of Lake Superior to Whitefish Point. This former Coast Guard Station is home to a historic lighthouse, bird observatory and shipwreck museum.

The lace curtains in this window of the lightkeeper's house caught my attention.

Whitefish Point was calm and peaceful today. During the heat of the afternoon, the lake Longfellow called "Gitche Gumee" was a refreshing place to stroll!

It's hard to imagine that this lovely spot is also known as the "Graveyard of Ships". There are more sunken ships here than in any other part of the lake. Storms building up over 160 miles of open water create mountainous waves coming from three directions. As a result, hundreds of vessels have gone down, including the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. On that dark and stormy November night, the light station and radio beacon clicked off and the Fitzgerald was left to fend for itself. The rest is history, and a song by Gordon Lightfoot:

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her.

These Yoopers sure have us remembering a lot of old songs! Our time here has been fun. But, tomorrow we have a date with a big bridge, and another Michigan peninsula to explore.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great pictures! That is a nice area. We spent a week there last summer.

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

Yes, I remember the night of that wreck. It was on all our radios and the tv station out of Marquette. What a horrible way to go, and so many ships do lose their way across Whitefish Bay. So sad.

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard