July 14 – 21, 2016
We finally landed at the KOA in Newberry, MI, a day later than we planned, it was only a 2 hour drive from Mackinaw, but because of those pesky reservations, we drove 2 hours past to Indian Lake, Manistique, MI. The KOA could not fit us in the night we needed, so I looked for a place for one night that would be close by the KOA!! Well, I called the wrong campground, which is why it took us the extra 2 hours.
After we arrived and got settled in at Indian Lake Campground, Guy and I walked around to check it out, we liked it so much we wanted to stay a few more days. The lake was beautiful, as was the campsite we had that was looking right at the lake.
We were so excited to be in the UP and were even more excited that after all we heard and read about the UP, it was just what we were hoping, it was so thick with trees and vegetation, wild flowers everywhere. There were no big shopping malls, housing tracts, or walmarts.
So many people had told us we would be carried away by the mosquitos and that they were as big as birds. While shopping before going to MI, I had stocked up on bug spray, I am happy to report we did not even need take it out of the cupboard as we had absolutely no mosquitos!!!
We had a big list of things we wanted to do and see while we were in this area and were not sure which to do first
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is the second largest park of Michigans state parks. It borders on Lake Superior and follows the Tahquamenon River. Much of the park is undeveloped but has more than 22 miles of hiking trails.
The first thing we did was head up to Tahquamenon Falls, which are in the Tahquamenon Falls State Park they are 50’ tall and over 200’ across. The river originates abut 70 miles upstream from the upper and lower falls. The day we were there the upper falls had 3,356 gallons per second of water running over the edge and into the river below. The water has a brownish hue to it which is caused by the tannins, from organic vegetation found in the cedar, hemlock and spruce forest.
The day was a beautiful one, temps about 80, there was a great walkway out to the falls and along the river. There were platforms with many different areas to view the falls along the way. It being summer there were many people all trying to take pictures and view the falls, with many tourist buses dropping off visitors as well.
The peak period of water flow is April, when the warm temps melt the snow producing millions of gallons of water flow. In May 1960, there was a record water flow of 52,228 gallons per sec.
The lower falls, which is about 5 miles from the upper falls, has 5 ledges with a series of smaller falls, ranging in height from 8 to 12’. There is a small lake at the lower falls where you are able to rent paddle boats and row boats.
There were numerous young kids and adults playing in the falls and walking on the rocks. The water was flowing pretty fast and one false move someone would get pretty hurt. It was a little nerve wracking watching and hoping no one fell in and floated down the falls.
With all sightseeing trips a little lunch is always involved, after leaving the waterfalls we headed to Whitefish Point Lighthouse. We weren’t sure about where to eat but found Brown’s Fisheries Fish House in Paradise. We each had whitefish and fries which we both thought was very good. Later, I heard from Gayle, (whose blog I read and has eaten there)said that it’s the best place to eat.
Whitefish Point Lighthouse and Great Lake Shipwreck Museum is in the Upper Peninsula of MI and is the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior. All vessels entering and leaving Lake Superior must pass this light.
The waters at this point are the most treacherous on the southern shoreline of Lake Superior. This area is known as the “Graveyard of the Great Lakes”.
The museum told of the many ships that have been submerged on Lake Superior, from winds in excess of 90mph, fog, 30’ waves, snowstorms or boat wrecks. There have been 6000 ships lost on Lake Superior, the most famous is the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sunk in 1975.
The Fitzgerald, lies twisted and broken just 17 miles from Whitefish Point at a depth of 535, with all of the people that were on board in November 1976. The museum has the ships bell on display, the rest of the ship is still underwater.
Whitefish point Bird Observatory, is a wildlife refuge, research and education facility for migratory birds. There is a wooden walkway that we used to observe the wildlife and migrating birds, including eagles, goshawks, geese, falcons, hawks and owls, which we didn’t see.
The one any only animal we saw, was a Piping Plover. The piping plovers are now back nesting at Whitefish point after an absence of 23 years, they have been nesting for the last 4 years. The piping plover is in danger of extinction, the shores of Lake Superior provide the best habitat for them.
We drove around a few of the dirt roads out along the coast around the lighthouse and found a little marina, there were mostly fishing boats. We found a real old boat we thought could maybe be fixed up! ha ha
That ends the first fews day we spent in the Newberry area, come on back to see the Pictured Rocks on the Shores of Lake Superior thru our eyes.