Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A Fine Day in Grand Marais.

Saturday June 14, 2014
Woodland Park
Grand Marais, Michigan



We support a community yard sale.



This morning the Grand Marais community has its annual yard sale in the Recreation Center building right next to our campground.  We really didn’t know anything about it until we saw people from the park walking over there so, of course we have to go and see what is.

We make a donation and bring a few fun things home with us.  Someone donated all their Charles Kuralt. Most of them are audio but they should keep my mind off running.  I think the book on the lower left is particularly appropriate for David after his pie frenzy in the Leelanau.  We’ll donate them all back further down the road.




I encounter my favorite reserved parking space.



After that it is off to the Grand Sable visitor’s center in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on a beautiful blue sky white puffy cloud day.  The VC is located in the former farmhouse for the beautiful barn in the field.  Actually there were two small houses that were moved to the spot and joined.  Barns were often bigger and more beautiful than the houses.  I loved the parking space reserved for the Brown Thrasher family.  It seems that some signs were left laying there the Thrashers placed their nest under them.  Young ones should be hatching soon the ranger tells us.




What an amazing wildflower display we almost missed.



We pick up all the information we need and drive to the Au Sable Falls parking lot.  The UP is known for its many many waterfalls.  We’ve just seen two and want to add to our list.  42 miles of what will be the country’s longest Long Distance hike, the North Country trail, also go through the park.


All day long we see trillium.  First along this path we see a trillium and then a couple and then a group and ultimately masses, carpets of trillium.  We have never seen so many trillium blanketing the ground.  Most are just past their prime.  I think we missed them by those two days we were swatting mosquitoes.  But they are still beautiful.  Pinks and whites.




Mother nature has definitely left piles of debris from what must have been spectacular flows this spring after such a long cold winter of such huge amounts of snow.







It’s always amazing to me how the stream or river that creates the falls often seems so tranquil and the one that leaves the falls bubbles and babbles along.





Yes those are all trilliums and more to the left and the right.  It is simply splendid!



One last look at the lovely Sable waterfall and we go on to the see the Sable Dunes.




The first view of the dunes is down by the water.  Around here, where there is water, there are rocks!  AND apparently this is a big area for finding agates.  You aren’t allowed to take anything from the National Lakeshore but David sure would like to find some and take their pictures.






Don’t think he finds any agates but he does find many  beauties including a full moon rock in honor of yesterday’s 6th Full Moon. I do wish I could have taken this one.






These dunes come right down to the beautiful water and have artfully etched faces.








Lake Superior has been a gentle shadow of its vicious possible self while we have been here.  If only the water weren’t so cold.




I have never seen a sand waterfall before.


I could clearly stay here all day listening to the rocks rolling off the dune and watching what look like sand waterfalls. And no small waterfalls either.   The Dune is slowly disappearing.  That’s sad.  But that’s the way it operates here. But it’s time to go get our lunch which  is back with Ruby.







The next view we’ll have is from up top.




Check off another great lunch spot.

We stop to check out Grand Sable lake for a potential paddle and find a nice picnic table that will do just perfectly.

Most of the paddling here in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is of course along Lake Superior.  We do not have ocean going sea kayaks which is what you need to be out there.  David does not have a wet suit which you also must have given the water temperature and the few minutes between contact with the water and hypothermia.  So our paddling, as always, will be on smaller lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands if we can find them.   Grand Sable, though lovely to look at, doesn’t look very enticing for a paddle to us.  Great as a lunch view though.





There are two good viewing spots for the Sable Dunes. We’ve just been to one.  The other is atop the log slide created by some enterprising lumberman as a way to strip the top of the land above the dunes. Use horses to drag the logs over to the edge and push them off.  Men at the bottom will move them out into the river to be moved to port.  The scheme worked pretty well until one of the logs got going far too fast and bounced when it hit the water, became airborne and killed two workers at the bottom.



Squirrel or chipmunk?  Do you know?

These days people come to the log slide climb up, slide down to the beach and then have to climb this very steep dune back up. I’m amazed the park lets them do it but we’ve done enough dune climbing not to need to do it ourselves.  We do run upon what I think is a chipmunk in the woods because he’s just running all over the place scampering here and there never staying still.  




I say “I think” about the chipmunk because on the way up the log slide we encounter a similar looking animal who isn’t the least bit worried about any of us.  Pretty sure this one is a ground squirrel.  Maybe they both are.  I always thought the only ground squirrels were the 13 lined ones but apparently that may not be the case. If anyone is a squirrel vs chipmunk expert I’d love to have some clarification.  They were both really cute.   Although one posed in many positions and the other did not.







Sorry for the diversion, back to the log slide.

Doesn’t look TOO far up from where we are.  But then we aren’t starting at lake level.  When we get to the top, it’s a pretty straight drop down.  So straight, I can’t lean over the top to get a picture of the sand and the water without actually going down.  And it is a LONG way.  No way I’m climbing straight back up that.  The folks doing it are on all fours. 

I walk down a little way and step off to the left side before I get carried down by the slope.  I have an angle on a certain section of the up hill climb and zoom in on this pair.  It looks like a mile down from where I am.  Climbing up from there is hard enough.  David stays at the top and takes the picture of me.  Can you even see me in my blue sweatshirt in his picture?








The view of the dunes is great from up here.  It’s amazing how tall they are.  Reaching all the way down to the water.  The waves are eroding them away though.





In the other direction we can only see the lighthouse out there on the second point if we use binoculars or my camera’s zoom lens.  But I hope we are going out to get a closer view.






What a surprise when we return to Ruby.

This is the end of our day and when we get back to the parking lot there is a Model T Ford club from Indiana just getting ready to pull out.  We talk to some of them and admire their very cool cars.  They are heading for Grand Marais.






Aren’t they just great!







We drive on up the road a ways to look at a bridge and a few other things before heading back.  We are gone maybe 20 minutes but when we are on our way back, we end up behind the club at 35 mph all the way back to Grand Marais.  No matter, it’s fun to feel  like one of the group and I can get some great the end shots.

When we arrive back at Winnona it is clear that Friday night has begun.   They are all having fun but settle down after dark.  The problem is that dark here is about 10:30 at night.  HA!


View from our dinette of the week-enders.  Our next door neighbors have 2 tents, a class C, a class B and a big cargo trailer.   Obviously in this municipal park there are no limits on number of vehicles or people per site.  I count 17 bicycles.







  1. And not one word about mosquitoes! Yay! Lovely views. We did the kayak tour at Pictured Rocks. It was a fabulous excursion.

  2. Love the Model T's! Looks like you're back in time there. So glad that the bugs aren't 'buggin' you now. Those dunes are enormous!

  3. I love all those rocks. I could rock hunt for hours. Some of your previous posts on the Great Lakes have kind of turned me off to visiting the area, but this is my kind of place. Beautiful flowers too.

  4. Oh my...how COOL!!! We are sweltering in the heat;o(( Reading your blog, seeing you dressed in long pants and jackets, saying the water is COLD...really does make us feel cooler;o)) Love the wildflowers, puffy clouds and blue skies, the dunes and waterfalls. Those Model-Ts are wonderful!!!

  5. What a great day! I never knew there were so many dunes in the East, and so huge! I bet it will be nice when the weekenders move on...

  6. I believe those are Eastern chipmunks.
    Nice to see don't have to wear your mosquito netting there!

  7. Hi Sherry, I've been a viewer of your site for about two years now. We RV in our 2000 Bounder but live in a sticks and bricks house. Just caught up with your blog as I've been wicked busy and was surprised to see you visiting in my home state. I live in Ann Arbor and have often thought of offering our driveway to those RV bloggers that I read. If you ever pass this way again shoot me an email. That said, 3 years ago we traveled to this campsite in the UP, http://www.ontonagontownshippark.com/uploads/Ontonagon_TWP_Park_6-8-14.pdf we were in site 11 or 7 and really enjoyed it. It was pretty private and our next door neighbor was a local who filled us in with the goings on in the area. Also, you talk about the cherry pie but have you tried the UP local food called the Pasties? It's a must in that area. Enjoy your stay!!!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I am honored that you have been reading for two years. Wow! Hope to hear more from you in the future. If you have a level driveway or nearly and are willing to have folks driveway dock, you should join Boondockers Welcome at www.boondockerswelcome.com. You'd meet some fabulous people. We are off to ontonagon today to stay at Porcupine Mountain State Park. Pasties coming up in a future post. I'm sadly about 5 days behind. Thanks again and welcome.

  8. I agree your little guy is a chipmunk. I had no idea there were so many large dunes in that area. We grew up playing in the desert dunes, and climbing those giant ones is something you really only have to do once in your lifetime - trashed muscles and sand in "those" places don't need repeating :-). Glad you caught the trillium blooms and answered the question "why here, now?" so quickly.

  9. You are really wetting my appetite to visit this area on our way west!

    So glad you were rewarded with great hiking after your last try:) I love trilliums, the pink are unusual for us. And to see so many...beautiful!

  10. I've never seen a sand waterfall either! what a sight! Such a gorgeous area …

    yes… no mention of the mosquitoes … hope they've had their fill and head out to wherever … ha

  11. That campground certainly is over-filled. I sure wouldn't want to stay in a place that crowded, although I have stayed on the fringes at a couple and was surprised how everything became quiet in early evening.

  12. Wouldn't that be fun to be a part of that model T group??? and goodness there are ALOT of people in the campground!!! Picture Rocks were amazing!!!

  13. I talked to my daughter and she is planning a road trip to IL next summer to visit family and friends, so I think I will start looking for workamping jobs in the Midwest. I would love to go to the National Parks up that way.

  14. A sandfall...wow...a little look at how the earth moves. Gorgeous flowers im such abundance - how lovely. I bet dad loved the cars :) I hope the owners of the 17 bicycles weren't too loud on a Friday night!!

  15. Oh...and that is great they reserved that spot for the birds! I also vote that stripped fellow is a chipmunk. Cute! Pretty water too-mighty fine :)

  16. Im getting excited just looking at your beautiful pictures. Plenty of ideas of when we get there. Thank you Sherry.

  17. I love waterfalls. . .and I also love rocks. . .I took a picture of a rock today, and told Dave, "I'm so intrigued by things no one else would find interesting." Guess you guys might like rocks too though. . .yaaaa!

  18. I'd love to have a Model T for my toad! Actually, I'd just love to have a Model T period. Maybe someday.. (sigh). ;c)

  19. Such wonderful diversity. Oh what a treat to walk past carpets of trillium to waterfalls. Plus dunes which I'm with you not sliding down or climbing up. A wonderful day, except for the weekenders.

  20. The trillium is pretty. I would have called those critters chipmunks. I will have to look up the difference between a ground squirrel and a chipmunk. I miss chipmunks. There were lots of them when I was growing up and they climbed up on the bird feeder outside my Mom's kitchen window. I have never ween a chipmunk in VA. Why not? Odd to see all the sand dunes around a lake. I read a book about this woman who kayaked the perimeter of Lake Superior. Frankly, I sounded miserable. She was always cold and wet and fighting ice and waves. No thank you! Glad you are having fun! XXXOOO


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