Friday, September 12, 2008

A Superior Day

Sept 12, 2008

We have had a lovely day today. Our morning began with a walk from our campsite to the Lower Falls area of Tahquamenon Falls. It was a bit cloudy after the rain last night, and cool, but we didn't mind. We (including Roxy) walked through the forest to the falls--there were almost no other people there, and it was so cool and green and beautiful. Then we came out at the falls overlook, and wow, it was great. Tahquamenon's upper falls is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi, except for Niagara. The lower falls, however, are really lovely--the river at this point divides and flows around a small island, with about seven individual cascades. We walked along the boardwalk in order to see it from all angles. It is possible during the summer season to rent a rowboat and go over to the center island, to see the falls from that vantage point, but the rowboat concession seemed to be closed, and we didn't really have time to do that anyway. We loved our walk, however, as did Roxy!

After about an hour, we went back to the campground where we packed up the RV and left to go to Whitefish Point to the Shipwreck Museum. Whitefish Point is the site of about 550 shipwrecks (more than any other area of Lake Superior). The Museum encompassed several buildings, including the renovated Lighthouse Keeper's house, a small building with a short movie describing the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and a museum building with artifacts and descriptions of many different shipwrecks. Both Joey and I were surprised that many wrecks were caused not primarily by bad weather, but by two ships colliding! Of course, that often happened due to fog or snow, but sometimes it happened for what seemed like almost no reason. The explanation given is that the lake narrows down near Whitefish Point, and that the lake traffic was much busier in the last century, making it more likely that ships would not be able to avoid each other. Many people come to dive down to the wrecks in this area, and items such as dishware, tools, and personal effects have been brought up to be displayed in the museum.

The museum is also the site of a memorial to the Edmund Fitzgerald and its crew, 29 of whom (all of them) were lost when the ship went down on November 10, 1975. I really hadn't realized that the ship was lost so recently--I guess when Gordon Lightfoot wrote the song, it was because it was current! But the song probably served to make the event much more widely remembered. Just writing this has put the tune back in my head again and I can't get rid of it. (Good thing I like it!)

We spent a couple of hours at the museum, including a visit to the Lake Superior beach. The water was blue and not too rough (although there were constant small waves and whitecaps) and it was hard to think of this site as being the "Graveyard of the Great Lakes." There are a lot of small rocks along the beach, and I picked up a few because they were so pretty--and because I recognized them as being different colors of granite. I picked up some yellow, pink, and black and white granite, each about the size of my palm, and worn smooth. Very aesthetically and tactilely pleasing.

We finally left and headed south again. We hadn't yet seen the Upper Falls of the Tahquamenon River, leaving it for last because it was on our route to our next stop. So we drove for about 30 minutes, and then got out of the RV to walk along yet another riverside path to the Upper Falls. I guess a picture is worth 1,000 words here!

We could have walked down the 94 steps to get close to the edge of the falls, except Roxy was with us again. The stairway down was made of open metal steps, and she was way too frightened at the thought of walking on them--she lay on her stomach and clawed backward when we tried to walk forward. It would have been too cruel to force her down, so we contented ourselves with looking down at the falls from above.

Finally we continued on our way down to Newberry, Michigan. I decided to stay in a KOA tonight, because we needed a wifi (did I say wifi? Heck, we've spent about 24 hours without cell phone service, never mind wifi! There are NO "bars" up here on the phones, and Joe and I keep laughing about that cell phone commercial and wondering "where are our PEOPLE??"), and laundry facilities. We also needed to stop in a real grocery store and get some basics, and Newberry had both the KOA and not one but TWO real grocery stores. Plus, it is on our route toward Munising tomorrow. We shopped, then continued to the KOA, which is even better than we'd hoped-- it is nice and wooded, almost empty of campers, had a good laundry room with working machines, and an indoor pool and hot tub!! So we spent the evening hot tubbing, then reading while the laundry got done. (Of course it was me doing the laundry--but Joey had dinner ready when I returned, AND I got my book finished.) So it was a totally successful evening. Now I'm just going to add photos to my blog, and I too can go to bed (Joe is already asleep.)

Our destination tomorrow: Munising, and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

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