Phew, have we been busy! Jess and I took a photography field trip (which she has diligently blogged about, and I have not) on Tuesday, and then on Thursday, Tony and I left for a long weekend in the UP. My normally linear mind is struggling with not sharing about the Tuesday outing, but I have decided to go with the U.P. trip first. Here goes:
We left shortly after work, and traveled on mostly-clear roads under clear skies in single digit warmth. Two hours and two bald eagle sightings later, and we were in Mackinac City. We wandered around snowy streets, darting in and out of the car. As we were dressed for riding, we were not dressed for gallivanting. After spending an appropriate length of time marveling at the advance of the ice across the Straits of Mackinac, we crossed the bridge into da UP.
We continued north and west, eventually arriving at our hotel in Munising. The parking lot gave us a peek into our company at large for the weekend: I think we might have been the only “group” there who didn’t intend to pass the weekend on snowmobile trails. Apparently Munising and the Keweenaw Peninsula are the only places in the midwest that have significant snow. The roads were not crowded – far from it – but the off-road trails sure seemed to be!
In a rare turn of events, we awoke before at 6:30 and were headed to Miner’s Castle before sunrise. The roads – well-traveled county roads, not seasonal/fake roads – were thickly coated in fresh powder, but we were connecting with pavement and weren’t worried. We angled down the side road that takes visitors to the Castle, and things were looking good until we came to the “seasonal road” sign indicating the road beyond that point was not plowed. Only, aside from a little bump, it was, and so on we went. Even though the engine was taching a little high, we were only in a couple of inches of snow, and took it easy.
After our recent trip in deep snow, we were feeling a bit skittish. The third time Tony stopped to check our progress, I got out to see if the couple of inches of snow were piled on ice, thus explaining the engine noise. Good news: no ice. Bad news: no pavement down there either. What had seemed like competently plowed road was no more than snowmobile-packed. We backed out slowly. Get stuck on a seasonal road twice, shame on me. No thanks 😉
Sunrise plans thoroughly thwarted (not like it mattered much – the sky got lighter more than the sun rose), we aimed east for Sable Falls. Again, things were going well…until they weren’t. This time we had not turned off the main road. This time, the county just stopped plowing with no warning. We didn’t even try to go farther. Instead, we angled for one place we knew would be open.
The in-town parking lot for Munising Falls had not been recently plowed, but was suitably clear for parking. Given the deep snow on the trail, we were grateful for the short hike. Aside from the two of us, the place was utterly deserted and completely magical. The tranquil little falls had frozen into an impressive pillar, seeming to rise from the ground instead of falling to it. I can’t say I prefer it in winter, but it sure is a sight to behold.