Friday, May 20, 2011

Take A Hike: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Miners Castle from
Lake Superior

Looking for a great place to take the family for an extended weekend?  Or are you looking for outdoor adventure with beautiful scenery close to home?  Take the 4 hour drive to Munising, Upper Michigan and spend some time exploring Pictured Rocks National Shoreline.  This 35 mile shoreline has sandstone cliffs and caves, clean beaches, sanddunes, and beautiful waterfalls. 

Where To Stay:
view from campsite
Kingston Lake

Hotels/Motels are located in either Munising (West end) or Grand Marais (East end) of the shoreline trail.  The nicest chain hotel is located in Munising, the AmericInn.  Otherwise there are numerous campgrounds throughout the park.  I had a great experience when camping at Kingston Lake campground off of H-58.  We had a beautiful lake-site during the fall. 
There are some campsites only accessible to backpackers.  Permits are required and reservations for campsites are encouraged.  A shuttle bus service is available for those backpacking who don't want to make the 35 mile return to their vehicle.  Altran public transit can be contacted to make reservations for your trip. 

Where To Eat:
We always stop at the Falling Rock Cafe for tea and coffee during the trip and to check out their large assortment of books for sale.  
Dogpatch Restaurant on E Superior Street downtown has a good selection of food. 


Munising Falls in Winter

Munising Falls
1. Munising Falls-  Located on the east end of the city where Washington Street becomes Sand Point Road, near Munising Memorial Hospital.  This .25 mile trail leads to a platform viewing a 50 foot waterfall.  This waterfall is beautiful and accessible in both summer and winter! 

Miners Castle

Miners Falls

2.  Miners Castle-  Located 6.5 miles east of Munising on H-58, then five miles north on Miners Castle Road.   This short walk from the parking lot leads to the most famous rock formation at Pictured Rocks.  If you look to the right of the castle you may get a glimpse or can take a short hike to Bridalveil Falls which flows over the cliff  ledge into Lake Superior. 

3. Miners Falls-Just prior to reaching Miners Castle, you will see a sign for Miners Falls of Miners Castle Road.  The hike from the parking lot is 1.2 miles round-trip. 

4. Chapel Rock/Beach-Located 15 east on H-58 and then 5 miles north to the end of Chapel Road Drive, this 2.5 mile hike to Chapel Rock shows beautiful views of lake superior and its rocky shoreline.  You can also see Chapel Falls along the way.

5. Spray Falls- Well worth the 1.75 miles further on from Chapel Beach, is the remote Spray Falls plunging 70 feet over the cliffs into Lake Superior.  the 1856 shipwreck liesat the base of the falls in 20 feet of water.

Chapel Falls

Chapel Rock

6.  Log Slide/Grand Sable Dunes-  The kids and grown ups will have fun running down the 300 foot high log slide located at the far east end of the park near 7 miles west of Grand Marais. 

Log Slide

Other Activities:
Don't wanna hike the entire shoreline or don't have the time?  It can be viewed by boat tours!

The Au Sable LightHouse can be seen and toured just west of Grand Marais on H-58.

Valley Spur Ski

Lakeshore trails are available for cross country skiing during the winter.  Also, Valley Spur Ski Trails located 6 miles south of Munising off of M-94 has well groomed trails through the Michigan hills.  Cost is $8 per person.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park- An easy drive east from Grand Marais to Paradise Upper Michigan, Tahquamenon Upper and Lower Falls is worth the extra drive.  The Upper Falls is a easy .4 mile paved pathway, accessible in both summer and winter.  The Lower Falls is a 4 mile round trip hike along the river. 

Tahquamenon Falls
in Winter

Warning:  If traveling during winter months not all roads in Upper Michigan are accesible by car since they don't plow the snow. Many times H-58 is closed past Munising Falls and Tahquamenon Falls is open only by taking M-28.  The rest can be accessed only by foot/snowshoe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Checking In

No, I haven't forgot about the blog.  I just took my last final of the semester today and have been spending most of my time studying this past week.  Such a good feeling to know schools out for the summer! Now I have clinicals full time through mid July, and some weekend adventures to look forward too.  Weather permitting, my first adventure planned is a "paddle of a lifetime" when Ryan and I kayak across Lake Winnebago.  I'm also looking forward to starting my half marathon training and hopefully having more time to write my blogs.  :)  I'll check back in soon with some more great hikes/trip locations!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buds for Life

Aren't they cute?  These innocent three have been my roomates this past week while I dogsit for a co-worker.  I think after these 10 days, the 4 of us will be buds for life. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tribute to Mom

She is a woman of kind and noble character, worth far more than any worldly possession to our family.  You can always count on her to be there when you need her.  She spends countless hours in the office and continues to work hard at home.  She stays up while it is still dark to provide for the family and make sure we are all home safe. Willing to put her needs aside, she gives away what little she has to help her children when in need.  She blesses our lives far more than we could ever return.  Her praises not heard as often she deserves- that is my mother.  Thank you mom for all you do.  Hope all moms had a Happy Mother's Day!

Proverbs 31

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Take A Hike: Devil's Lake State Park

Devils Doorway- Summer

For the feeling of being out west close to home, head down to Baraboo, WI and visit Devil's Lake State Park.   You can either visit for the day and hike around the entire lake in about 3-5 hours, or spend a weekend and reserve a campsite.  Each season has its own unique beauty, however, the view is spectacular in the fall usually around the third weekend in October to see the leaf color changes at its peak. 
If visiting for the day you can park either on the north or south side visitor center.  You will need to pay a daily parking fee or purchase an annual sticker at the South Side visitor center though.  The South side also has the biggest picnic and beach area where boats and canoes can be rented.  

If you are wanting more of a leisurely walk around the lake you can take the lower trail, called Tumbled Rocks, and then walk along the train tracks on the East side of the lake.  For those up for a steep climb and wanting to see Devil’s Doorway, take the upper trail called West and East Bluff Trail.   The trails are very well marked.  

Other activities at the park include 8 miles of off-road biking trails, fishing, cross-country skiing in winter, and you will often see rock climbers going up the bluffs.  If you are interested in climbing, there are numerous climbing instructors located within Baraboo that bring classes to the park.   

After a long hard day of hiking, don’t forget to head into historic Baraboo and make a visit to my favorite coffee shop, 
Coffee Bean Connection located on
4th street