A Superior frame of mind
We left Sault Ste Marie this morning and began our journey through part of the Upper Peninsula, where the Yoopers live. Our route was highly recommended by those who know about such things and whilst putting some details on our map, we realised that much of it followed the Whitefish Bay Scenic Drive.
And yes, much of it followed the coast of Lake Superior.
By sheer coincidence, I discovered that one of the pages I’d scanned before leaving home was a commentary of our planned journey today. Yes, of course we watched for black bears. No, we did not see any
Our first stop was the lookout over Spectacle Lake. Lovely!
Next stop was the Port Iroquois Lighthouse, a little further along the lake shore.
These byways are so well documented and offer a great deal of information along the way.
We had a great view of the shipping channel from here, unsurprisingly. That’s Canada over there, by the way.
A sturdy boardwalk led down to the lakeside.
Once again, we noted that the Great Lakes are enormous, like inland seas really.
Yes, I had to put my feet in Lake Superior. Brrrr!
What a great place. But the bugs were out and we’d not applied any repellent this morning, so it was time to go before we regretted it!
Nevertheless, I had to take a photograph of the stones in the lake. All colours, they looked beautiful in the clear water, even if they didn’t make paddling very easy.
The next stop on our page was Pendills Creek Fish Hatchery. Worth a stop?
In fifteen minutes or so, we learned so much from Julie, a member of the hatchery staff, who expertly outlined the background to the project and the whole process of restocking the Great Lakes with trout; a project which has been so successful that the number of trout is almost at a self-sustaining level now.
Part of the fun of a road trip is learning about things we never knew were there to learn about!
Anyway, full marks, Pendills Creek Hatchery. Full marks plus to Julie, too!
By the time we’d reached Salt Point, we felt we’d got the measure of the Lake Superior beaches. That smooth sand was just too inviting though.
Shame I didn’t get my character placement correct, though! Sorry Mary.
The last stop on the scenic route was the very tip of the peninsula: Whitefish Point. Though there is a lighthouse here and another lovely beach, the main attraction is the Shipwreck Museum.
We began our visit with the introductory film, which focused on what is probably the best known shipwreck amongst many such events in the near vicinity, the Edmund Fitzgerald.
We saw how the original ship’s bell had been lifted to form a memorial to the 29 lost souls and outside, took a look at what appears to be a new memorial on the beach nearby. As we did, the soundtrack in our minds was Gordon Lightfoot.
There was a small collection of items relating to the US Coastguard nearby.
How primitive some of the lifesaving implements were, too.
In the reconstructed lighthouse keeper’s cottage, the figure was eerily realistic!
The main event, the museum itself, was excellent, if a little sobering. Here was that bell, raised from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald together with the stories of many other dreadful events which have occurred in these treacherous waters.
After a while, we took refuge in the gift shop, where the “Superior state of mind” took shape.
We had just one more item on our list for today: The Tahquamenon Falls.
We knew to expect brown, tannin-coloured water, but were surprised by the extent of the falls. They are pretty huge!
Well into the afternoon by now, it was time to crack on towards Munising, our overnight stay.
This is a part of the world where people fix snowploughs on their pickup trucks. I spotted this one in the Ford dealer’s nearby and saw it as an advertising example, but here in our hotel car park, there is a similar vehicle parked near to our own. Be prepared, eh?
Sadly, it’s our last night in Michigan, because tomorrow we cross the border into Wisconsin. Who knew it was going to be such a magnificent journey through such a superior state?
(Yes, of course you did, Joanne and Terry )