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

Henry David Thoreau

The Waterfall Challenge

Tuesday June 17, 2014
Munising Tourist Park Campground
Munising, Michigan



Today is moving day so of course it rains.




The 52 mile drive between Grand Marais at the Eastern end of the National lakeshore and Munising at the western end is on a very nice very lovely forested road.   We decide not to bother with the dolly given the rain and the shortness of the move.  Things are dark and dreary.






But they improve when we get to the Munising Travel Park Campground.  It too is owned by the city but here they do take reservations.  So there is nothing on the lake front available.  But there are sites available for the walk in.  We choose site 60 which is very large and we configure it as a pull through.  The sites are quite helter skelter with the lake front on our end of the campground being tents only.





Both Winnona and the Duckies have a lake view out the driver’s side of the coach. 

And a beautiful lake view it is, AGAIN.  How lucky are we.  Two city parks, two water views.





We arrive in time for me to whip up some lunch.

First order of business after getting set up is to get some soup made for lunch.  Today’s special is Garlic Vegetable Lentil.  You know, one of those where you throw in what ever you have either a lot of or need to get rid of.




Notice my apron.  I just love it.  My favorite former co-worker made special gifts at Christmas every year and they were always hand made wonders.  This one is my very favorite.  It has my name embroidered at the top.  One of the pockets is a hand written recipe of my mother’s.  She died in 1988 of Lou Gehrig's disease and I miss her every single day.  But every time I wear this I can look at her handwriting and think of all the love she put into every meal she made for us.  The other pocket is a Christmas Greeting from my friend Martha.  So I can remember them both.   Thanks again so much Martha!  This is just such a special gift.  I really cherish it.



We take on the waterfall challenge.

Well fortified we head out to the Visitor Center which is on the main road through town. We find out there are SEVENTEEN waterfalls at this end of the park. In the park’s newspaper, they have issued a “waterfall challenge”. Now that’s a thrown down gauntlet if I’ve ever seen one. Actually I’m not sure I have but we seldom shrink from challenges. Because of our short drive this morning, we have the entire afternoon ahead of us.  Still, that’s a big gauntlet.  We’d better get busy. ONWARD!





We begin with the closest one aptly named Munising Falls. 


I guess if I were locating a city I might well choose a waterfall and lake area.  The 1/4 mile paved trail to the falls leads through the woods and the sandstone canyon to a viewing platform.  There are two other viewing areas reached by short stairs.



This little Munising Creek has eroded the Munising Formation Sandstone for thousands of years grain by grain, ton by ton shaping this horseshoe valley which leads to the waterfall. 












Back down the trail and up the opposite side to the other view points.




The trail goes right along the spectacular sandstone walls of the canyon. 


Erosion in the form of falling rock is most common in spring and fall when freeze and thaw  action loosens pieces of the moisture laden rock.  Cracks or faults have hastened this process.  No one can really tell when a large piece will tumble down.  Apparently rock falls have closed the trail several times in the past few years.






Although it really doesn’t feel like it, Munising Falls is pretty much in town.  One of its trails is short and a very accessible but it feels worlds away.

Our next two Falls are also right in town but are pretty well hidden. 



The sand beach provides a short distraction from our quest.


On the way there we stop at the popular Sand Beach.  With a mostly rocky coast, Lake Superior has only a handful of sandy beaches.  

From the beach you get a distant look at the famous Pictured Rock Shoreline.  These colorful sandstone cliffs begin in Munising and extend 15 miles to the Northeast toward Grand Marais.  Also you can see the formation known as Miner’s Castle because up close its caves and stacks resemble the windows and turrets of a castle.   Or so they say.   Even with binoculars this is a pretty far distance for good looks.


It’s not a terribly big beach in this little cove and I’ll bet it is covered with people in warmer weather.  Today, there is no one here.



As we walk along the shore, we aren’t sure what these butterflies are doing in the sand but there are several groups of them and some fly from one group to another.  Hmmmm, I know nothing about butterfly habits.  So what’s going on here?



We also pass by what seems to be some sort of beach shelter right on the shore.  We are wondering if someone puts a cover over it and spends the night or perhaps does a one man sweat lodge since that’s what the construction reminds us of.  Not sure anyone but a person my size could sit up in it though.






The “Twin Waterfalls” are seasonal and luckily we are here in the right season.




The next two waterfalls are part of a Michigan Nature Society sanctuary.   The falls are found where Tannery and Memorial Creek cross a sandstone escarpment on their way to Lake Superior.  They are accessed from a set of nearly hidden wooden stairs inconspicuously right on the main highway through town.  You must know where they are and park on a side street to find these waterfalls.   We feel like we involved in a covert activity.



The trails are rough with only a few boards for help over the muddy parts. No boardwalks, The trails wind further and further back as we walk into what feels like a hidden canyon between the tall sandstone cliffs.




The trees holding on to life on the rocks are remarkable. 




Inside the canyon, its walls make me feel absolutely tiny.  It’s like another world here so close to the town of Munising.











Being here, in this incredible place, alone is such a marvelous experience.  It seems so intimate.  We feel so small.










The colors on the rocks behind the waters are pictured rocks in every sense of the world.





It is very hard to leave here but we have another waterfall in this same sanctuary to see.



The second “twin” has a very different approach trail, straight up hill through what appears to be a water drainage route. 




But we end up again dwarfed in a narrow canyon of rock and green.  I have forgotten my extra battery and at this point my camera battery decides to die.  So all of these pictures are David’s and he seems to always be walking behind me so I am in all the pictures.  But I do give pretty good size perspective.  How it looks, is just how it feels.  I’m the little blue thing.











I can walk behind the falls.  It is just wonderful to look out at the world through them and to feel their spray on my face.




I spy a bridge.  How can I get there?


I thought this was the end of our hike and from here we would go back.
But I see a bridge up there over the top of the falls.  Where is it?  And how can I get there?



We leave the falls in the distance.



As we walk out and turn the corner around the sandstone walls, I see a path going off to the left of the one we came in.




And it leads to the bridge AND in less than 1/4 of a mile to a Munising Neighborhood.  I can’t even imagine living every day that close to this gorgeous waterfall.   Clearly the locals know the back entrance which is much shorter and much easier but not nearly as impressive.





Remember it is PASS-tees not Paste-ees.


On the way home, we stop at Muldoon’s and pick up two pasties.  They come in vegetarian, beef or chicken fillings.  They are a quintessential meal in the UP left from the time the Cornish and Welsh miners who came to to the UP to mine copper.  They took these in their lunch boxes.  I’ve been told by several commenters that we must have these but no one has suggested specifically whose pasties we must get.  Muldoon’s claims they have the best pasties in the UP so we pick up a couple for dinner. They come with cole slaw and gravy.  We add the broccoli.    David washes his down with an Edmund Fitzgerald Porter while I have Cherry Republic’s Black Cherry Cream Soda.

These do not look like the wonderful pasties we had years ago on our last visit.  The ones we had were triangle shaped rather than looking like buns.  Muldoon’s beef pasties pasties are good.   Although neither of us thought these were as good as we remembered.  Hope we will have a chance to try some more to see if Muldoon’s (is that Irish or Welsh?) really is the best in the UP.




Many thanks to David for the pictures of the 3rd waterfall which without him would have been left out of our memory blog. 
And that’s what this really is, 
our memories of these wonderful days in our lives.


  1. I was afraid you were going to do all 17 falls in one post. I would have been reading all day! ;)

  2. Another amazing day! I remember that apron, what a great gift! Waterfalls are the best - I would've loved the Twins Falls cove. You definitely look small! A great day of memories from start to finish :) You captured it in wonderful pictures – especially the selfie ;)

  3. This was my day for your blog. Waterfalls, Aprons and PASS ties :) Love them all. Beautiful pictures. If you ever get to our area We will show you some of our falls.

  4. What a neat little quirk for the town to have the waterfall challenge...sounds like my kind of town! And the beauty of it all is amazing! Can't wait to see the rest of the challenge!

  5. The apron was such a thoughtful gift and I can understand why you treasure it.

    Those waterfall trails remind me so much of some of the trails in north Georgia.

    I've seen butterflies do that too. It's usually on damp sand and I always thought they were going for the moisture.

    The Pass-tie looks pretty good!

  6. I love the picture of the one waterfall that looks like little delicate strings of water. What a cool place! I wonder if the people that live in the town go there regularly or if it's like when we lived on Long Island, and people there never went to the beach or did anything on the water. Forgot to comment on your former blog about how much I loved those rocks!!!! I would have wanted to take some home too! XXXOOO

  7. What a fantastic hike! I love waterfalls. Great find at your new home. David's photos are wonderful. Hope you complete the challenge:)

    Love the apron. What a thoughtful practical gift with memories:)

  8. The pasties I've had looked like a half circle. Never tried Muldoons.

    I'm enjoying following along. We try to get to the UP at least once each year. It's nice to see it all from a fresh perspective.

  9. Glad you got into the city park. We couldn't believe our luck the year we were there getting one right on the water. Seeing those familiar hikes once again is so great to relive with you.

  10. Karen is right...the butterflies are seeking moisture! We were out for a walk once and discovered a huge group of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails doing the same thing, only on a pile of dog poop left by an inattentive owner. Apparently butterflies don't care where they get their hydration from.

    1. Paula, We saw butterflies on dog poo on our hike in the Columbia River Gorge. Thanks for the tip on what they were doing. We had no clue. Thought butterflies liked flowers!

  11. I love waterfalls! Looking forward to reading about the others on the challenge.

  12. Muldoon is Irish! There were copper mines along the coast in SW Ireland; the English landlords brought in the Cornish & Welsh miners who had housing built for them, and were paid more, whereas the Irish Catholics got the really dirty and dangerous jobs. Little children were sent down in shafts that no adult would go.

    I love the looks of the trail and the falls. If I'm ever in the UP again I am definitely going to make the trip to Grand Marais and other towns in the area.

  13. love waterfalls in any form. . .what a beautiful reward for your hiking. . .

  14. Beautiful blog and photos. We will be in the UP in late September. Hopefully mosquitoes will be long gone. We're hoping for fall colors with our waterfalls! I'm taking notes from you, you know!

    Check out my blog for the waterfall hikes we're doing in the Columbia River Gorge and Silver Falls State Park in Oregon. If you love waterfalls and haven't been to Oregon yet, make it a point to go there.


  15. Also making note of where you're camping!!

  16. WOW, you certainly had a day full of memories!!! Those falls were fabulous. I saw the same butterfly behavior in GSMNP when we were on trails that allowed horses which of course left their poo along the way;o)) Such beautiful creatures interested in POO?!?!?!!!

  17. Sherry you look great in that apron! I saw a group of butterflies too at the Smokies and I thought they were mating. Beautiful pictures of beautiful waterfalls and I think the last time I saw so many waterfalls in one day was in Oregon. Since we like waterfalls we will be on this trail too.
    When we hike Im the one always behind Steve since I stop and take so many pictures.
    Which pass-tees would you recommend?

  18. I'm glad that you have seen some of what Pictured Rocks had to offer, it is still undiscovered by the masses i hope. By now you are in the Porkies, be sure to check out the falls in the Presque Isle unit. Once you arrive in Minnesota, I would visit the North shore of Lake Superior. Tettegouche State Park is one of my favorites, running the trail to the cart-in campsites should be pretty nice. Grand Marais, Mn is another spot that has a lot to offer. Gunflint Trail will provide unlimited access to exercise the kayak

  19. Randy from Minnesota-Land of 10,000 very full lakes

  20. Nice to have a short move. And more of Lake Superior. Those sandstone cliffs and waterfalls remind me of Starve Rock State Park, IL where I spent much time as a youth, but not so 'in town' which is hard to believe. Love your apron and the idea of a hand written recipe from a loved one.

  21. Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing.

  22. I just love waterfalls too! Can't wait to see the rest of them :) We're big fans of anything scottish, so have had pasties at several Renaissance fairs in our past, yum! Love the apron!

  23. Thanks for sharing these beautiful memories, and for documenting so nicely for the day we might lose our ability to remember so clearly!

  24. It would be hard to leave that magical place....especially having it all to yourselves! (you know you are absolutely tiny, right?!) The stand stone walls look ancient and beautiful. All great pictures of a wonderful day - those pasties look interesting and seem to come in every shape and stuffing.....yum. Looking forward to the next falls as I'm confident you two are up to the challenge.

  25. Very beautiful area. Really nice selfie of you two. Great pictures of the falls.

  26. I am glad that "little blue thing" is in the photo, otherwise we might miss the majesty of the place! So beautiful....my kinda place!

  27. What a spectacular place -- we would love hiking to those gorgeous waterfalls! In answer to your question about the butterflies, it's a behavior called "mud-puddling." That's how they get nutrients they need, such as salts and other minerals.


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