Friday, July 26, 2013

Pictured Rocks National Seashore…

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Painted Rocks Natl Seashore 002Our last day at the Seney Wildlife Refuge we had a pretty drastic weather change overnight as a cold front came through with some rain and very windy conditions. Also we had an overnight low of 43 degrees in late July!!! Dang I think it is almost time for us to push south especially if this keeps up. We were unable to bike the refuge since we are wimps when it is windy and cold but we did get in one more drive around the 7 mile one way driving loop. Even though not a lot was out I was able to spot a few Sandhill Cranes, a blue headed vireo and a pair of American Bitterns while taking in a walk around one of the large ponds on the refuge.

Painted Rocks Natl Seashore 011The next day we pulled out of Germfask, Michigan and ambled up the road about 47 miles where we pulled into the Kewadin Casino at Christmas near Munising, Mi. I wanted to get us into the Munising Tourist Park but it was full so we will stay at the casino parking lot where they have about 7 back in sites with 30/50 amp electricity, no water, no sewer but they are FREE! We are only here for two nights and when we checked in they gave us each a voucher for a free hot dog so we even had a light lunch. These Michigan casinos are sure welcoming us!

After setting up we headed out to explore the area and visited part of the Pictured Rocks National Seashore where we took a hike over to Munising Falls. A 100 foot falls with some cascading water made for a good start to the afternoon. From there we drove up the road to Sandy Point and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the beach there. There was a small Painted Rocks Natl Seashore 037shipwreck nearby that we explored and the sand on this Lake Superior beach is unique with its infusions of red sand (we assume from the eroding iron rich sandstone cliffs) that displayed some of Mother Natures finest art as the waves changed the palette each time they came in and went out…

Our last day here we went up to the Miner’s Castle formation located within the Pictured Rocks National Painted Rocks Natl Seashore 015Lakeshore. Pictured Rocks is an area in the UP along the shores of Lake Superior that has some colorful weathered sandstone cliffs as trace minerals erode from the sandstone leaving many shades of vibrant color stains due to the different eroding minerals. These cliffs of mostly limestone are part of the limestone/sandstone geological Munising Formation.

Near Miner’s Castle is yet another nice sandy beach named Miner’s Beach. For you trivia buffs Kid Rock filmed his music video "Born Free" here on this beach. We lounged a bit on the beach as we also took in a nice walk along the shoreline. As you walk the beach you understand the name painted rocks not only comes from the colorful cliffs but also form all the colorful rocks that have Painted Rocks Natl Seashore 028been polished and shaped by the erosive forces of the Lake Superior. We enjoyed a nice lunch that we brought with us on the beach and after lunch we took 1.2 mile hike over to Miner’s Falls. Man, if we had ocean kayaks we would certainly love to spend more time here but our little inflatable recreational kayak is no match for the cold and potentially dangerous waters of Lake Superior. However, as pretty as the Pictured Rocks are we really felt they really are no prettier than areas of exposed limestone in the hill country of Texas such as Hamilton Pool and Pedernales Falls.

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After hiking to the Miner Falls the promised rain had not yet come through so we drove up the road a bit to Mosquito Falls and took the 2.2 mile hike to see it. This trail was not the best as there was a creek that flowed through the middle of it for some ways and then the dry parts had lots of exposed roots. We did encounter a beautiful beaver dam but also experienced the destruction that it creates from the flooded waters behind the dam. Mosquito Falls was a nice mostly cascading falls but not as awesome as we had hoped but it lived up to its name. Whenever you stopped hiking the mosquitos would introduce themselves to you especially near the falls.

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Friday we were planning on heading on westward near the Keweenaw Peninsula where we hope to explore more of the U.P. for a few more days. However, the rains have finally arrived and we are probably just going to stay put here for one last day to let the rains clear since we hate to travel in the rain…

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  1. What a beautiful area. I love the clear water. You're making me want to visit that area....if we can ever get out of Florida! 43 degrees? I hope it warms up some!

  2. Beautiful scenery and agree with you about the hill country of Texas.

  3. I am not sure I would even hike to a place called Mosquito falls. The painted rocks pictures are really beautiful.

  4. It is amazing how two couples can go to the same area and see so many different things. I loved the read beach. Perdenales Falls? We may have to check that out when we pass through the hill country on our way back to Retama.

  5. If you get to the Keweenaw, we would highly recommend the mineral museum at Michigan Tech U in Houghton There are so many amazing mineral specimens that came out of the tailings of the mines in the UP.

  6. Love the names of towns in Michigan! Germfask sounds especially intriguing. We had kayaks for years but hardly used them due to currents and wind, etc. Now we have a Porta-Bote which we absolutely love. It folds to the size of a surf board, is light, but made of polypropylene which is amazingly durable but lightweight. You can go anywhere in the thing, handles really well even in rough water. I just posted an article about ours on my blog if you are interested.

  7. Glad to see you are still enjoying some of the UP's scenic attractions. I wondered about the mosquitoes this time of year. You seem to have a better attitude about them than I do. Surprising to hear of temperatures in the 40s! I remember you being too cold on the Oregon Coast last summer. Must be your Texan blood.

  8. Such a beautiful area to explore all around the great lakes, thanks for taking us along.