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

Henry David Thoreau

The Duo Splits Up

Thursday June 19, 2013
Munising Tourist Park Campground
Munising, Michigan



Boy what a TERRIBLE night’s sleep.


Have you ever stayed up past your bedtime and gotten a second wind and then couldn’t go to sleep?  Well that happened and then when I did get to sleep a mosquito was apparently inside and buzzing around my ear.  We haven’t had much trouble with them since Tahquamenon.  It took me a while to kill that sucker.  Back to sleep and then the sound of the cars on the road woke me up.  This park is not in a tiny town, it’s in a small town and right on the main road.  But I think if I’d been sleeping more soundly it wouldn’t have bothered me since even ear plugs didn’t help.

Needless to say I felt worn out when I woke up and not much in the spirit for a 20 mile bike ride on Grand Island which is what David had planned.  So I take him to the ferry, come back and laze around reading and writing blogs, having a leisurely breakfast.



I recover and head out to bag some more falls.



About 11:00 I am feeling better and decide that even if I can’t meet the Waterfall Challenge 100%, there are 3 more all located fairly close together.  I probably don’t have time before I have to pick David up at 3:30 to do all 3 but maybe two.  That will up my number of falls to 9 out of 17.  That’s more than half.

So off I go in Ruby back up to Miner’s Falls which isn’t very far out of town.     Although the road to it is 5 miles long but this time it is paved.  This is the same route we took to Miner’s Castle and beach yesterday when we ran out of time to hike to the falls.

Waterfall trails seem to be more or less developed it seems depending on how long they are.  If a lot of people are expected  then the trail is more heavily boardwalked.   If it is a longer trail, more of a hike than a walk then it is left more natural except in areas where the ground is often wet or muddy where boards or steps protect the habitat.  The latter are the ones I like the most.   The trails I like the most that is.  The waterfalls are all gorgeous.  And each very different. 

Miner’s Falls trail is a combination of the two.  They have really done a nice job of it.  The trail starts off as a very natural path.


Again I see the spring flowers which have been following us all through Michigan, jack in the pulpit and false solomon’s seal.  They feel like old friends come to say hi.




My first glimpse of Miner’s Falls.


This is a bit of an instant reward waterfall.  In a very short time I get my first glimpse of it from the trail.




There are always up hill climbs on waterfall hikes.  They have made this one much easier.




The viewing platform is at quite a distance as you can see.



But my binoculars can give me a close up view and so can my camera.  The mosquitoes have been a little pesky on this hike but here they are in swarms. So I can’t stay long to soak up more of the positive ions coming off the wonderful falls.


From the top




to the bottom




After taking the short trail back, Ruby and I head back down the 5 mile Miner’s Castle Road to H-58 and go another 15 miles east.  Then again we drive 5 miles toward the lake to the trail head.

This is actually the trailhead for two falls, Chapel Falls and Mosquito Falls.   Why in the world would they name something Mosquito Falls?   Perhaps to keep people from wanting to go there?

It’s now 1:15 and I have to pick David up at 3:30 so my choice of falls is decided by the distance.  Here are my choices.  These are one way distances so it’s a total of 2.2 or 3.0. 




The trail to Mosquito Falls starts off beautifully.  It is well maintained with a few mud and height assists to protect it from damage.




And then I come to this sign.  Do you see any mention of Waterfall?   I guess they assume we all know you have to go to the river to see the falls.  So I do.



The path becomes narrower and winds through big trees.  This is a really lovely hike.  I’m glad I chose it.







I’m following the river all the way.  Wish that had been the case yesterday.  We wouldn’t have missed on Rock River Falls.



The woods is very dense and dark, my favorite kind.  And it is is covered with roots, not such a favorite thing but I just watch where I’m going and stop if I want to look around.



And then I’m there and get my first looks at the falls.






I climb around to get some better angles.  No viewing platform here.  I hope that’s because there isn’t enough traffic to warrant it.











This is a delightful spot and I wish I could stay even longer.  Unfortunately it is now 2:00 and I have the hike back and at least a half hour drive to make my 3:30 appointment.  So I can’t stay any longer here at Mosquito Falls where the mosquitoes are no where near as bad as at Miner’s Falls.


On the hike back down this wonderful trail, I find those lovely little yellow flowers from yesterday. Thanks to Randy from MN I now know they are called Clintonia.  Today they have a visitor.  You’d think if they are so common I could find out what they are.  Hope one of my readers will know.




One last picture of this lovely trail and I’m headed back down the road to pick up David. 






I’m here about 10 minutes early so I can watch the boat take off from this dock for the 2 minute trip over to the island, there on the left, to get its passengers.  For this they charge $15 round trip and $5 more for your bicycle.





Here they come. 




Last man off with his bike.




And now for his story of his time on the island.


David here,  blogging on my trip to Grand Island, a trip that Sherry cannot write about because she did not go. Grand Island is National Recreation Area administered by the Forest Service of the Dept. of Agriculture. It is not part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore which is administered by the NPS under the Dept. of the Interior.



The island is only accessible by boat. The concessionaire uses a 6 passenger pontoon boat to shuttle people & bikes over and back, but only at 9 AM, noon and 3:30 PM this time of year, so the longest I can be on the island without camping over is six and a half hours. The island is about 9 miles from south to north, so I brought my bike in order to be able to see more in less time. Beginning next week (June 25) they will be offering a guided bus tour around the island for an additional fee, but they saved me the fee and the agony of decision by not offering it while we are here. Loaded up with maps and information I head out from the dock where I saw this little family of ducks enjoying their morning on the water.


We dock at Williams Landing near the Visitor Contact Station at 9:05 AM, and although they have wonderful poster displays about the history and geology of the island, I don’t feel I have time to read them now so I take pictures and hope to have time to read them on my return.



At the suggestion of the summer intern ranger who will inhabit the contact station today, I head off down the road to the east side of the island with a plan to see the points of interest on that side, then take the center road up to the north light beach and see the lighthouse there and finish coming back the west shore visiting the points of interest as time allows.





From a list of distances between points of interest posted in the contact station, it looks like I have about 20 miles ahead so I don’t have time to dawdle.

As I begin my ride, I see interpretive boards along the way from which I read a little about the geology and an overview of the main historical periods of the island, beginning with what archeologists have learned about Chippewa who lived here before the first settlers, and then the era of logging. After the loggers were finished, there was some question of what to do with the island. The logger who owned much of the land had plans to subdivide the shoreline for a resort development of summer cottages, but other residents objected and prevailed. Although the subdivision did not happen, there was a long era of resort use by individuals who built summer cottages here – a few remain today.






The first point of interest is the frontier cabin, circa 1845, right on the shore of Murray Bay which is formed by a boot extension of the island that sticks out into Lake Superior on the east side. The USDA Forest service had to remove many layers of improvements that had been made to this cabin over the 150 years before they decided to restore it to its original condition.



Murray Bay



Next I come to the cemetery where many of the early inhabitants remain along with strangers who had the misfortune to die while they were on the island. Anna Williams’ stone caught my eye by its age and the fact that she died at 55 years – relatively young by today’s standards. It turns out that Anna was the wife of Abraham Williams and they came with their seven children from Illinois to the island in the early 1840s as the first white settlers. Abraham was an entrepreneur and had good fortune in his business ventures if not in his family life. You may recall that we docked at a point called Williams Landing, so he left his mark.






Moving along down the road used by the tour bus, I come first to Duck Pond, but I find no ducks so I move on to a view of Trout Bay, which is on the north side of the land bridge to the boot extension, on the opposite side of Murray Bay. This is a much larger bay and has a nice sandy beach as well as a couple of very nice back country camping sites complete with lockable bear proof boxes and a 20 foot tall steel pipe with hooks at the top and a tool for lifting anything you want to hang up there for safety. Reminders that this is black bear country. 


Trout Bay



From this lovely view I turn and head west across the island to reach the Center Road and head north in order to be sure not to miss the north end. The flat map did not warn me of the inclines or the mosquitoes for that matter, so I got quite warm and uncomfortable when I was reduced to walking the bike on the steepest sections. I experience more of this all the way north with an occasional downhill run and one stop at Echo Lake. On approaching I am warned of a duck crossing, but again I see no ducks.




I cross what looks like it might be or have been a beaver dam and soon come to an interpretive board that explains that this is in fact regarded by scientists as “one of the largest beaver-created lakes ever recorded”. They were active here about 650 years ago, but at some point they left but the sign does not tell when or why they left, but they are but apparently not active here now.




Time is pushing me on so without further ado, I do make it to the North Point Bridge and find this gorgeous beach, but no lighthouse. Damn, I was really hoping to get some pictures for Sherry. It seems the lighthouse was down a road I passed marked “Private” and can only be seen from the water or one of the beaches on the west side.






Time has run out and I must make haste to be sure to make it back to the dock by 3:15, so no lingering here in this splendid spot. Why can’t they have the last ferry at 5:30?

One more treat was in store for me on my return ride, and that was very near the north beach – the largest group of wild columbine I have ever seen. Simply amazingly beautiful!



I do make it back to the dock in plenty of time but have to skip outings to several points of interest on the west side. Another next time.  Maybe with our biking friends Nancy and Bill. 

My advice if you want to see the entire island is to come when they offer the tour in July and August.  They have longer hours between the first and last boat runs during that time.  But of course that’s also when everyone else is here.


And now for a little teaser.

This is our last night in Munising and we have saved the best for last.  Actually yesterday was too cold and the day before it rained.  BUT what we do this evening is a MUST DO when you come to Munising and requires its own post.  Talk about an over doers day!  Check back tomorrow for our MUST DO evening.


  1. That bike ride looks like a must do. Looking forward to the next post.

  2. So, what did you do with all your spare time?

    1. That's funny, Nan. I have often thought the same time. Remember, though that Sherry reads to David while the dishes are done (no waste of time). I've never known anyone like them. I have probably missed many beautiful places in my life, but one mosquito can run me off. I HATE them.

      The "splitting duo" gave us a twofer, today. Great adventure from both.

      Yes, Sherry, I have nights like that. I've watched the sun come up. Drives me nuts. Can't wait for the next post. :)

  3. What a cool bike ride. Seems unfair to charge an extra $5 for the bike! Love hearing David's musings :-)

  4. By splitting up like that, you two got the best of both worlds. Beautiful pictures. David I am thrilled the Lord has given you the strength and good health to accomplish that ride and all the other wonderful things you get to do!! Looking forward to the Must Do evening you are posting about tomorrow.

  5. David I just love the picture of the duck family. It was a very good day for both of you.

  6. Not to imply that anything is amiss with your writing because you know better, BUT having said that, David should write more often. I thoroughly enjoyed his way of expressing himself. You should do some "he said, she said" posts with each of your perceptions of the same day. On the other hand, you don't have nearly enough time and I'm the last person to advocate spending more time writing at the expense of time outside. Am loving the waterfalls. It is so hot here that even in the park, it's not really pleasant!

  7. Sounds like a good day for you both, can't wait to see what your evening has in store for you.

  8. Two great adventures, and it was so fun to hear from both of you! I must say, I wonder the same thing as others have said -- how in the world do you have such grand adventures every day, AND have time to write your blog almost every day? I'm now a full month behind on our blog -- ridiculous -- but I just can't seem to manage it all. Of course, being back in our hometown of Ashland and in the whirlwind of friends, events, appointments -- I know you understand, because you were recently in your hometown. But even then, you didn't fall behind in your blog!

  9. The first day of our retirement is June 28 and we're headed to the UP. It's good to know Grand Island offers tours since we won't be bringing our bikes on this trip (we're taking our canoe).

    One thing I've always wanted to do was the Pictured Rocks boat tour. Any one of the other times we planned to go it was either too windy or rainy.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures of the falls and the brief tour of Grand Island.

  10. Thanks to both of you for a great adventure!! We would definitely love to do that bike trip and also some fall finding with you. We definitely will be heading farther north next year. Just too hot down here:o(( Keeping having fun, but Sherry get your sleep;o)

  11. I wish I had done the Grand Island tour also... well? at least I get to see all the things I didn't do when I was there through your blog... great stuff, Sherry and David... love it all. .. no pie?

  12. We'll be up that way in September so I'm really enjoying reading about the area. I can't wait for the next post.

  13. Hi Sherry! Not sure how I stumbled upon your blog, but I am enjoying your adventures. You're blogging about my old stomping grounds, since I grew up in northern Michigan, and we travel there quite a bit now that I live in Illinois. So glad to have found your blog, enjoy your writing and photographs.


  14. Sherry, your mystery butterfly is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

    David, I regret to tell you that.... yes, the rain in Mn does mean more mosquitoes.....Silver lining is that I control mosquitoes :)

    One other spot that you may like after leaving Michigan is Apostle Islands in Wisconsin

    1. Oops.....errr..........Randy from Mn.......One of these days I will figure out how to reply some other way than Anonymous

    2. Send me your email address Randy and I will show you a quick and easy way to reply with your name. We want to go to the Apostles but it's $200 to take Winnona and Ruby over to Big Bay State Park. Any suggestions for where to stay around Bayfield?

    3. I have stayed in two parks in that part of Wisconsin, neither anywhere near Bayfield. Brule River is very nice canoe/kayak, but campground is not somewhere that I would take an RV the size of Winnona. Closer to Superior, Wisconsin is Pattison State Park which you would love for the falls and is suitable for Winnona. Another option is this one that I found with a quick search, http://www.townofrussell.org/files/gicampground.html

      My address is vernors5@netzero.net, By the way....have you tried Vernors ginger ale yet?

  15. Breakup of the Dynamic Duo? Batman with no Robin? Superman with no Lois Lane? David with no Sherry? Gasp!!!

    At least you both had a great time alone, but don't make a habit of it! :cD

  16. I'm sorry to report that the mosquitoes have arrived in Wyoming. Swarms of them! Yuck. But they tell me they'll be all done in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed. I'm enjoying your tour of the U.P.

  17. I came, I read, I have to go to bed! ;)

  18. I had an awake all night type night last night. Hardly ever happens...definitely not fun! The falls you saw were beautiful. Yucky the mosquitoes were still hanging around the one. Nice to hear from Dad. Sounds like he had to rush, but still a good day of exercise and historic and pretty sites. Nice pictures all around :)

  19. I remember Mosquito Falls as the only falls we visited that had a terrible Mosquito problem... living up to its name at least for us...

  20. Sometimes splitting up for a day makes for an interesting sharing of stories. Sherry, I am amazed how you are so up to date with your blogs, I can barely keep up. Our activities here are not nearly as hectic as yours yet Im so behind with my posts. But hey, you are doing what you love most, sharing your great adventures with us!
    It is beautiful out there and your pictures are showing it. But so weary about those damned mosquitoes.

  21. Sherry, the waterfalls are amazing. I can almost hear them. Nothing better than the sound of water rushing (unless , of course, it is through your ceiling). David, that looked like quite a bike ride and the beaches were really pretty. Keep on having fun!

  22. A great adventure by both of you. The hike looks delightful and waterfalls are such magic. Could do without the mosquitoes. Plus so much to see on the island ride. Now off to find out about the evening must do.

  23. The split was right for the day and as there were no waterfalls on the island, I am doubly sure of that. Don't think the island where all roads go uphill would have appealed either. But I wouldn't know if I didn't go, and it was an adventure after all. I am still thankful for every day I can get out and explore.


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