Friday, September 11, 2015

Lake Superior Circle (Part 6)

We woke early broke camp and left in the dark and thick fog. We had planned to drive through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and see the sights as we went. The fog had other plans. We stopped along the way but could see virtually nothing in the fog. We missed the big dunes. We enjoyed the walks we took through fog-misted woods- we were the only people in the areas we were visiting. I had fun trying to take interesting photos in the fog.

Sable Falls
Sable Falls

At the Grand Sable Dunes.

Cool spider web in the fog.

 We read the interpretive signs and saw exhibits of old logging equipment. This was at the site of an old log slide, used to get logs down the dunes to the lake where they could be rafted up and towed to the mill.

Some big wheels used to move logs with horses.
Another view of a big wheel.

Another fog picture and the Grand Sable Dunes.

We decided we would tour the campgrounds along the way and if we saw a nice site we would take it. We were early and most campsites were still occupied. But we noticed that as sites were vacated, they were taken by new campers almost immediately. Prime sites were snapped up before the current occupants even left. We realized we would have to choose quickly if we saw an open site. At the time, we didn't know we would be on the other end of this system in a couple of days. We ended up at Twelvemile Campground on the shore of Lake Superior in a pleasant interior site with a view to the lake.

Another nice campsite.

A view to the lake.

Rocky showing admirable restraint (or possibly indifference).

We made a late breakfast/early lunch and set up camp. Soon after it started to rain. We took a short walk through the campground with Rocky in the rain. It is always fun to see other people's setups- we saw an interesting homemade camper.

The owner of this camper was a wood carver.
 We returned to the camper for naps and to wait out the rain. After the rain, I collected some firewood and sawed it up for the night’s campfire. We made dinner of leftovers, I cleaned up the dishes while Kathy walked Rocky around the campground.

The evening stayed foggy and chilly. We attended a talk on Ravens and Crows at the campground amphitheater given by an earnest young park ranger. The talk was engaging and interesting although we already knew most of the information. The summary: crows and ravens are very smart.

After the talk we had a campfire, discussed the plans for the next few days and retired to bed.

A nice campfire on a chilly evening.

It rained overnight. We woke to a wet camp but blue skies and sunshine. We could see the water of Lake Superior without fog for the first time in Michigan. We decided to extend our stay at Twelve Mile Beach campground. We made oatmeal for breakfast. We cleaned up and headed to the Chapel Rock hike. The road to the trailhead was unexpectedly primitive- narrow, rough and muddy. We figured it would keep the riff-raff out but the parking lot at the trailhead contained a few cars as well as trucks. The road is undergoing improvement for obvious reasons. The hike turned out to be a serene and quiet walk mostly by ourselves, through the woods to a beautiful beach. 6.5 miles round-trip, it took us just under 3 hours with stops for photos and some time on the beach with a few other people. We saw the Chapel Falls on the way in and Chapel Lake on the way back.  It was a great hike. There is a 4-mile extension around Mosquito Lake that we did not do but sounds very nice too.

A walk in the woods.
Ferns covered the ground in the openings.

The soil was pure sand near the beach.

Stream meets lake.
The stream flowing over rock to the lake.

Chapel Rock.
Another view of Chapel Rock.

Chapel Lake.

Since pets are not allowed on National Park trails, Rocky had to wait in the truck. This was a source of some concern which overlayed our hike. We were able to park in the shade, the camper further shades the cab and with a foil cover over the open windows, it stayed comfortable for him. I think there is a business opportunity for someone to dog-sit for National Park visitors.

We drove to Munising to get some groceries and camping advice for the trip west. We looked up Tom from Roam Auto to meet him and get more camping advice. Tom is a successful entrepeneur and a founder of the UP Overland Forum, where I had joined and solicited advice before we left. A very nice guy- interrupted a busy day to chat and look at maps. After meeting Tom, we went to Muldoon's for some pasties to have for dinner back at camp- best in the U.P. according to the sign. We wouldn't argue.

On the way back to camp, we stopped at Miners Rock overlook and took some photos. Then back to camp for an excellent Yooper dinner of pasties and beer. A walk on the beach with Rocky, a beautiful sunset and a nice campfire wound up the day. A top 10 day overall. Tomorrow we head for Marquette.

Miner's Rock

Yooper dinner- yum!

Another fine sunset.

Twelvemile beach at sunset.

The woods at sunset.

Twelvemile beach.

Canoe and folks watching the sunset.


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