Making Lemonade in da U.P.

We booked a hotel room in Munising, just outside the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore several weeks ago – sometime in September. Astute readers will spot the problem right away: what were we going to do in the area if Pictured Rocks was closed thanks to the childish behavior of our elected officials? Head west, that’s what.

Au Train River as it spills into Lake Superior, west of Munising

We spoke to one of the hotel staff ladies, who relayed some secondhand rumors she had heard: park officials were ticketing trespassers. We won’t even discuss why park officials are working during a shutdown, or why we could be considered trespassers. After looking up the potential costs (up to $500 fine, up to six months in jail), we instead headed to the Porcupine Mountains.

The near end of the park is just over three hours away from Munising (Do you like how I measure distance in time units?), so we again broke our journey into segments. We first played around on the vast expanse of unblemished sands at the Au Train River park before continuing through Marquette.

Fall splendor specimens

This is how paper beats rock
paper beats rock

A few miles south of L’anse at the Canyon Falls Roadside Park, we hopped out of car for a hike. Tony and I stopped by this area during our trip North in January. The smell and crunch of fallen leaves, glorious golden light, and lack of waist-deep snow conspired to make the place more welcoming this time.

We traipsed down the trail along the incredibly scenic Sturgeon River until it ended at the falls.
Canyon Falls - Sturgeon River-3
Sturgeon River light rays

And then we followed another trail down the canyon a ways.

At some point, we realized that the trail didn’t actually lead to a destination. On another day, a trail along a beautiful river has all the makings for a perfect day, but this day we were headed for the Lake of the Clouds. So we about-faced and jaunted back to the car to continue ever westward to our state park haven…where I’ll pick you up tomorrow. Or Friday. 😉

Between L’anse and the Porkies, a typical highway view on our trip
UP fall road

The Eben Ice Caves and Blogging Buddies

After we found some measure of frozen waterfall success in Munising, we rolled west toward the Eben (like “Evan” with a “B”…I asked 😉 ) Ice Caves. The journey there proved much less perilous than our previous efforts, and the hike wasn’t too bad either. Continue reading