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

Henry David Thoreau

The Gorgeous Rocky Coastline of Lake Superior

Monday June 16, 2014
Woodland Park
Grand Marais, Michigan


As you can see, I’m still 5 days behind on this blog. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to wish everyone a very
It’s the longest day of the year!


And now….back to the adventures of the hapless duo.

Looks Like Father’s Day isn’t over yet.  David is milking it for all he can get.  On yesterday’s bike ride, a new restaurant was discovered.  It has only been open for a week and it serves………..BREAKFAST.  So David feels that he should celebrate just a little more.  Back on the bikes we go to the new Stonehouse Bakery Company about 4 blocks away.


We go left out of the campground and in 2 blocks are at Lake Superior.  Nearly every house in town has a lake view and nearly every street ends at the lake.

It’s not really a bakery or at least not yet.  They have 2 or 3 kinds of home made breads including Rye – it’s the German influence up here.  They have GIANT cinnamon rolls but they are $5.25 and appear to be drying out.  I suggest a price drop to up the sales.  I also see lemon bars and chocolate brownies.  Since they don’t have chocolate croissants, he won’t be making any bakery purchases.





We choose a table up stairs and have a great water front view as we have the regular delicious breakfast that is David’s favorite meal.


Time to work off that breakfast in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

We go back to Winnona, pick up Ruby and head for the trail to the Au Sable Light Station.  It’s not a long trail but we manage, for a lot of reasons you will see in a minute, to make it last the entire day.

We park the car and the first thing we see is the mileage sign.  This trail is part of the North Country Trail which when finished will be the longest trail in the country going from New York to North Dakota.  The map shows our route





Right away we meet some North Country hikers.


Our hike begins at the picnic area which is along the Hurricane River at the spot it empties into Lake Superior.  We are lucky enough to run into two North Country backpackers as we start off.  For years I dreamed of hiking the AT so I am very intrigued by them.   They on the other hand are intrigued by full timing.  I didn’t bring any of our blog cards and the address is too long for anyone to remember.  So I give her an easy email address and she says she will contact me when they get off the trail.  This picture is especially for Gypsy.



We wish them well.  They head west over the bridge and we head the opposite direction down the trail which runs through the hardwood forest along Lake Superior all the way to the Light Station.  We see another group coming back.  They just look wonderful in their dresses all of the same design but various pastel colors.  I wouldn’t take their picture as they were coming toward us but I did turn around and take them as they moved away.





There are shipwrecks in these waters. 


At several points along the trail there are look outs and signs which say “Shipwreck 1500 feet” with stairs going down to the beach.  Since we intend to walk the beach rather than the trail back, if we can, we save the shipwreck visits for later but read the information about why and how many ships are wrecked here.

We can see from above the shelf and ledges shown here.  They are beautiful and for sailors quite dangerous. 

In the pictures below, those aren’t mountains, we’re looking down from above at Lake Superior.  The sand is wet at the edge of the water and the rather brown looking color is the shelf and the colors further out are the ledges.  They really are amazingly beautiful and we take too many pictures of them.








We just seem to be following spring North and as we leave one Lady Slipper habitat, we enter another.  I may just call this my Lady Slipper Spring.




There is light at the end of the tunnel literally.


What an idyllic looking little compound.











In the early days of navigation on Lake Superior, no coast line was more dreaded than the dark coast between White Fish Point, east of Tahquamenon Falls and Grand Island, just off the coast of Munising.  It is littered with wrecks and to this day bleached ribs and rotting timbers can be seen. Loss of life and property motivated congress to appropriate $40,000 for a lighthouse at Sable Point.  In August 1874, the light began to shine. The tower stands 87 feet high with walls 8 feet thick. It’s beam was visible for over 17 miles.





The first building is now the Visitor Center.  I’m not sure what it was originally.  Perhaps the Life Saving Station Master’s home.  The building connected to the lighthouse is a duplex probably for the Lighthouse Keeper and his assistant and their families.  The house is open for tours.  Well it is on every day but Monday and Tuesday.  We read that at some point and promptly forgot about it.  We were actually going to come yesterday but it was SO windy, 30+mph, that we thought we’d enjoy the coast more if we waited.

So today when I go up on the porch, the sign reminds me that they are closed today.  So of course I peek in the window.






Peeking shows me what I missed.


And of course I take a picture through the window. And then I see them.  The passport book stamps for the Light Station.  DARN!






We don’t get to take the tour but we do look inside all the windows and find again a lovely turn of the century home with an enamel topped Hoosier cupboard below on the left just like one of the two we have in the farmhouse.  Sure would like to have had room for that cook  stove in my farm house kitchen.  It’s a beauty.     I am sure the lady of the house would not have allowed the lilac bushes to grow so full.  Pruning would increase the blossoms but they smell lovely just the same.







I wish they had some signage.


The Keepers’ home faces the Lifesaving boat buildings further on down the lawn and near the water.  There are two of them and without a tour we aren’t sure which one was for what.  It would be nice if there was some sort of self guided pamphlet or informational signage for those who come on days the tour does not operate.





The boat buildings are built right on one of the most beautiful ledges I’ve ever seen.  Just look at those colors.







An interesting set of stairs takes us down to the Lake Superior shore.

We walk back to the Keeper’s duplex and then on down to the shore which is just covered in the most beautiful rocks large and small.  It’s a long set of steps down.










We walk back down on the shore toward the boat houses to see those beautiful rocks. What a fabulous blue sky day. There is an opening in the trees where from the shore we can see the lighthouse.  It’s like a frame for the picture.







This is a rock hound’s paradise.





Time to get my feet in Lake Superior.  I take off my shoes, step in the water and find that I can only stay in the water up over my ankles for about 41 seconds before my feet begin to seriously complain.  This is why, without a wet suit and a sea kayak, I would never consider being on this water in a small boat.  Feels great, at first!




Further on down the shore we run in to those ship wrecks. 


I’ve put the information which we saw earlier on the ships lost or damaged here.








The way the colors of a single rock change depending on whether it is wet or dry always amaze me.  I had to take a picture of this one showing both colors.




We overwhelmed by the beauty here and then we come to the shelves. 


Seeing them up close, they are even more exquisite.  See for yourself.  My pictures are hardly adequate.






All too soon we come to the end of walkable beach

There is more beach on the other side but we can’t get there.  I walk all the way up just to make sure there is no way through.  If we were in Florida, we’d just walk out in the water and around this point to see what is on the other side.  But not here.  Luckily there is a stairway a short distance back for those who want to come down to see the shipwrecks.  We take it back up to the top and take one last picture of the shelves and ledges before we are again shortly back at the picnic area.









At the picnic area we can take stairs back down to the beach and see the mouth of the Hurricane River as it flows into Lake Superior.   I also see a little black dot out in the water.



Merganser?   Does he look cold to you?  Or is it just my having been in that water that makes me see that?









David takes some pictures of the Hurricane River upstream and down from the bridge that is part of the North Country trail.  This is the spot where we left our hikers hours ago.  I want to see if there might be a trail that runs along it.  I know there are falls on it which I hope we’ll hike to tomorrow.  But today it is very late for lunch so we spread it out on a picnic table looking down at the lake.





They’re back!




Another great picnic spot.  But when we sit down to eat, the mosquitoes just swarm around us.  Where did they come from in such numbers?  They’ve been out today but in such small numbers as to be no problem.  Well then, we’ll  just take our lunch now dinner home with us.






And if this day wasn’t already enough…….


It’s been another one of those wonderful days that our life seems to have in such numbers since we became full timers.  But it’s not over yet.  We get home to a very short light rain and when I go out this is what I see over Winnona.   I think she is my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.



At 9:20 we go out to see the 9:45 sunset.  It doesn’t look good because of the dark clouds massing at the horizon.  We stay for a while, watch the sun set into those clouds and turn to go.




I turn around for one last look and the sky is ablaze of pink and purple.  The entire sky it looks  like.  I’ve never seen anything like it.   We should have known something was up when the locals who sometimes come for sunset were there in larger numbers and stayed while we left.  We thought they were just chatting.




The gray clouds come back to shut down on the pink and purple sky but what an ending to our day on the gorgeous Lake Superior coast.







  1. Nice photos Sherry. You've captured the beauty of my beloved home state. I am so enjoying my walk down memory lane with you. I do hope you enjoy your travels there regardless of the mosquitoes.

  2. Sorry to hear the mosquitoes have found you again, but it looks like you are enjoying yourselves. Love those beautiful rocks. Boy, would I love to rock hunt there!

  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful place with us. I love it that you are traveling and posting about more nature types of excursions than the usual touristy stuff.

  4. another beautiful day in paradise. . .the rock ledges out into the water really are amazing. . .and then when you read about the gales with winds up to 70mph, it's really easy to understand all the shipwrecks. . .

  5. it must be wonderful to have a spouse that enjoys the same pursuits as you. I'd love to hike and bike more but it's not much fun when you can't share it

  6. Perhaps you'll see those same North Country Trail hikers when you visit here. Tamarac has almost fifteen miles of the NCT meandering through it.

  7. I don't think I'll show John this post. He would be in rockhound heaven! The old shipwrecks are really interesting.

  8. Beautiful rainbow. I love that you captured the purple which so often doesn't come out.

    What a gorgeous sky! Can't say I've ever seen anything like it. Thanks for sharing:)

  9. Absolutely gorgeous! I have heard of the mighty waves and storms on the great lakes that can sink a ship but having never been there it's hard to imagine a lake being so rough. The sight of the ship wreckage and the shelves makes it more understandable. Great shots!

  10. Thank you for the photo of the backpackers. I would love to hike at least part of the North Country Trail - who knows - I may do it someday. The Michigan coast of Lake Superior is beautiful, and so different from what I remember of the Minnesota side, which was also very beautiful. I have always thought I'd like to go back up the MN side again because I wasn't feeling very well the last time, but maybe I should try the WI side.

    The rainbow photo is just perfect!

  11. Love your day at Sable Lighthouse. To us Lake Superior might be the prettiest of the Great Lakes....but Lake Michigan is also beautiful. On our bucket list is to take the tour around Lake Superior. Thanks for the memories of our time at Pictured Rocks!

  12. Great Day!! Love the rainbow and the sunset:o)) You took some very beautiful photos!!!

  13. Oh wow, that sunset is simply beautiful! Always worth one's while to turn around for one more look. People miss so much because they are in such a hurry to get on to the next thing.

  14. A perfect day! Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures. Love the rainbow.

  15. No wonder all those ships wrecked there, the skeeters distracted the helmsmen! ;c)

    Cute picture of the rainbow over Winnona!

  16. I'm learning so much about this area through your posts. I can honestly say I've never even thought of heading north. We'll definitely put this on the list.

  17. I will see the UP in the next few years, thanks for the the info. Kathy wants to visit her friends and see her old stomping grounds and I have heard for years how much I would like the place.

  18. All that last pic needed was a palm tree...and it could have been a beautiful Fl sun set..
    i love old ship wrecks and treasure they bring....

  19. sigh .... absolutely gorgeous, Sherry. Such a beautiful place... hope the mosquitoes go away ~ as I said, I don't remember them being really bad when I was there.

    What I do remember very well... is a double rainbow over the Lake... on my knees stuff!

  20. Just when I think I've seen the best pictures you have............you post the pink and purples. Gorgeous......just absolutely gorgeous

  21. Once again another wonderful day with gorgeous photos, you two know how to find the best places.

  22. Great photos! The shelves did look like mountains! Great looking breakfast, great hike, beautiful rainbow - couldn't ask for much of a better day! Neat lighthouse history and interesting shipwrecks! Gorgeous sunset! Wow!

  23. Like the dunes, I had no idea about the shelves. Fascinating and so unique! What a full day with such an outstanding ending - that pink is so intense :-). Hope your Solstice was empowering - hard to believe the days will be getting shorter already.

  24. My great great grandfather was a heroic captain on Lake Superior. He is well known in the UP. When my mom and dad visited a few years ago and told people who my grandfather was, they were very well received. There's even a paragraph or two about him in a small book. I have a copy of the book at home.

    Can't wait to go visit in September!

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. What I meant to say was... what a wonderful way to spend the solstice. Such a beautiful day and then the rainbow and then such an exquisite sunset for the grand finale!

  26. Nice scenery. Beautiful pictures.

  27. LIGHTHOUSE! Wow, what a beauti-FULL day! I am always amazed when a sunset "blooms" long after the sun has gone down. Happy Solstice day to you too...my favorite day of the year, though it makes me a little melancholy that the light will be disappearing minute by minute for the next half of the year...

  28. Absolutely gorgeous! What a wonderful day -- love the rocks on the beach. I've never seen any quite like that. I know that water must be REALLY cold for you to not be in it! Glad you at least got to wade for a minute. :-)

  29. It's a drag that there was no tour. Guess a case of no money in NPS. Those views are spectacular, especially the sunset. Love all the colorful rocks.


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