Paradise, Michigan

Tahquamenon Falls SPOn our first adventure since arriving in Ohio, we said goodbye to our family on Saturday, June 16th and headed to Upper Peninsula, Michigan.  The drive was beautiful, full sunshine and dry roads; just the way we like it.  We headed over the historic Mackinaw Bridge, paying $14 to cross to the Upper Peninsula.   Wanting to stay in Tahquamenon Falls State Park, we chose to camp at Rivermouth Campground (Site #68).  The Tahquamenon River ran around the campground which was frequented by many canoers and boaters who were enjoying the water.  Camping there was very relaxing.   We had to drive about ten miles to get to the waterfalls.  On the way there is the town of Paradise, who offered free Wi-Fi at certain locations throughout town.  We would often stop at the community building to update Facebook and text our family.

Upper Tahquamenon Fall

Tahquamenon Falls had an upper and lower section; both with their own kind of beauty.  The Upper Falls is stunning.   The first thing you notice is the brown water.  This is the tannic acid caused by decomposing vegetation found in the cedar, hemlock and spruce forests.   The first day on arriving here, it decided to rain.  This just added to the beauty of the falls.  After taking some 90 steps to the viewing platform, the roar of the water was very intense.  Coming here made us think of Michael’s grandfather, who made the trip to these falls 60 years ago.  How different that would have been back then.  Can you imagine using 35mm films, flash bulbs and batteries for taking pictures?  Well, people did back in the 1950s.

prayer of the woodsBoth falls offered a nice boardwalk and viewing platforms.  Along the path to the Lower Falls, there is a wooden sign with the Prayer of the Woods.  Boat rental is available here and many people could not resist the water and chose to swim or wade up closer to the Lower Falls, making it hard to get a clear, unobstructed picture of the Lower Falls.  The next day, we chose to hike from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls after Michael had finished working around 4 pm.  The distance between these two falls is approximately eight-mile round trip.  The trail is beautiful through the dense forest and thick fern groves.  They are well marked and follow along the river, allowing us to listen to the rushing water as we walked.  The wildflower along the trail is quite amazing in its own way; but nothing like the Colorado wildflowers we are used to seeing.  The trail is posted as a moderate hike but as you walk the path, some of the boardwalks show signs of previous flooding as they are not very level.  Getting a late start on this hike, we decided to only walk half way and then backtrack.  There is a private shuttle service that will pick people who walk one-way and shuttle them between the Upper and Lower Falls parking lots for a fee.  The beauty and serenity make this park so worthwhile.

We noticed that throughout the trail was a blue trail marker labeled “NCT.”  It is an acronym for North Country Trail.  As we discovered and learned, this trail covers seven states over 4,600 miles from North Dakota to Vermont.  This is an ultimate thru-hike for those backpackers wanting a personal challenge.

One evening, we decided to explore the Upper Falls a little bit more, and afterwards, we had dinner at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery.  This quaint pub had the feel of a logger’s cabin and various animal trophy heads on the walls.  Jeanne had to try the “pasties” which is a local favorite and Michael tried one of their home-brewed beers called “Harvest Wheat Ale.”

whitefish point lighthouse

We also visited several lighthouses while we were in this area.  How can you not when you’re on the shores of Lake Superior?  Just 25 miles north of Paradise is Whitefish Point Lighthouse.  It is the oldest, active lighthouse on Lake Superior beginning operation in 1849.  This area is also home to Shipwreck Museum, with several artifacts from ships lost to the turbulent waters of Lake Superior, as well as time period buildings that were here back in the days.  While here we had to take a walk along the shores and found out that the dogs loved to play in the water.   Koda would chase sticks into the lake and he would place his whole face in the water to get the stick before the next wave came crashing along.  Keera love to run to the edge, snap at the water and run away before it got her too wet.  Michael and I both took each other’s picture by the Whitefish Point Lighthouse sign and were ready to walk away until Koda ran up the sign and posed for his picture as well.  He didn’t want to be left out!  That’s our goofy boy.  We also collected some beautiful rocks along the shore to send to Michael’s cousin, Diana, in Ohio.  She is a rock hound and was thrilled to receive our surprise package by USPS.

crisp point lighthouse

The next day, we decided to go to Crisp Point Lighthouse, which was the furthest point away from our campsite.  Operational in 1904, this lighthouse is a beauty and is currently being renovated.  This was one of four original Life Saving Stations.  It is a beautiful lighthouse and is supposed to have some of the best sunsets.  We also walked along the shoreline collecting a few rocks for ourselves, and once again, Koda and Keera had to play in the water; repeating yesterday’s act.  The gravel roads led to the lighthouse and being unfamiliar with the roads, we chose to leave before sunset to avoid getting lost.  On the way out, we came across a lake adjacent to the road did we see a beaver swimming in the water.  How cool was that?

iroquois point lighthouseOn the third day, we also visited the Iroquois Point Lighthouse in Bay Mills, Michigan.  This is the home of the Ojibwa Indian reservation.  The wildflowers in bloom on the grounds made photographing here amazing.  We went walked down to the shoreline only to find the water crystal clear and abundance of colorful rocks.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in this eastern part of Upper Peninsula, Michigan.  It is true what they say about Lake Superior; it is “unsalted and shark free!”

My Favorite Quotes

The mountains are calling and I must go. - John Muir

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Chinese Proverbs

The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders. - Edward Abbey

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. - John Burroughs

Not all those who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien

To travel alone is risky business, especially into a wilderness; equally risky is to have dreams and not follow them. - Robert F. Perkins

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