Sunday, June 30, 2013

Munising and Pictured Rocks On Lake Superior

We're in Munising on the northwestern coast of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan staying at a municipal campground on the South Bay of Lake Superior.  

Munising became our destination so we could see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It was named the country's first National Lakeshore in 1966 during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.  This area has over a hundred miles of hiking trails, dozens of waterfalls, beautiful rock formations, sandy beaches and at least one shipwreck that can be seen from the water's surface.

The weather here has been warm and humid. The mosquitoes here are healthy and plentiful. The flies are also pretty hearty. We avoid being outside at dawn and dusk and we've made a sport of eradicating the little buggers from the coach every night before bedtime. Otherwise, we awake to a buzzzzzz in our ears. I've smacked my ears 'till they hurt.

Dogs are allowed on the shore of Lake Superior at the campground. 
Ozzie (L) and Lexie (on leash) like strolling and sniffing around on the sand.
The first afternoon here we met a nice couple in a campsite across from us.  He's John and she's Jerilyn. They're from somewhere in the palm of Michigan's mitten. John and Jerilyn have a sweet little girl named Maggie who is a little larger than Lexie, about Ozzie's size, but I'm not sure what breed.  Maggie is a show stopper with cute antics and tons of personality.

Along about the third day here, we learned about a nearby pontoon boat rental business. The prices were reasonable. We decided to invite John and Jerilyn to join us for a half-day excursion, taking all three dogs along; something we can never do when we take a public boat tour.  Happily, they agreed and we planned to leave the dock around 1 p.m. the next day. 

John and Jerilyn with Maggie the show dog.

Lexie and Ozzie were couch potatoes while boating.

East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island
John and Jerilyn were easy to like, relaxed and nearing retirement. Wayne and I did our best to convert them to retirement as full-time RV'ers and think we might have gotten them to think about it, at least. It's always such fun to rendezvous with other RV'ers and we would surely like to team up with them again.

Jerilyn, John and Maggie
The Pictured Rocks stretch for about 15 miles along Lake Superior from Sand Point on the west to just after Spray Falls on the east. They are spectacular!
Along one of the beach areas, we disembarked and took the pups for a walk.
Our pontoon (at least for the afternoon). 
The name "Pictured Rocks" comes from the streaks of mineral stain that decorate the face of the weather-sculpted cliffs. Sandstone cliffs of ochre, tan, and brown - sandwiched with layers of white, green, orange, and black - glisten against the cloud-streaked sky and clear waters of Lake Superior.

Petit Portal or Lovers Leap? Not sure which.

Saltless and Shark Free!

The wild beauty of Pictured Rocks includes sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, lakes, forest, and shoreline. All this beckoned us to visit the Pictured Rocks.

Petit Portal close-up from the opposite side.
Notice the crystal clear fresh water.
Colorful and bold, the Pictured Rocks tower 50 to 200 feet directly up from Lake Superior.  Sometimes, a photograph just can't capture the majesty of such places.  Take a look at how tiny the boat looks in the photograph below. 

To get a good perspective of the size of the rock cliff, look at the pontoon boat to the left.
Pictured Rocks Lakeshore hugs the Lake Superior shoreline for more than 40 miles. Our outing barely made a dent in it. 

Chapel Beach and Falls

Chapel Rock
Notice the huge tree atop the flat rock with gaps between the lower rock layers.

The sun was warm but the air was cool enough that being in the shade made a sweatshirt necessary.  I don't think we could have ordered a better weather day.

Spray Falls
Miner's Castle
The day was memorable and perfect in every way.  Turns out it would be the last pretty afternoon for awhile.  Next day, late in the afternoon, an enormous black cloud and fierce wind came up, followed by rain. Two more days of rain, dense and frequent fog banks and plummeting temperatures came along too.

We'll be pushing on soon -- continuing westward and then north through the U.P.  Come on along.


  1. Your picture are gorgeous!!! What a great idea to rent the pontoon boat. I've always heard about the black flies up north--wouldn't think they are any worse than the mosquitoes and noseeums down here in the south. Thanks for sharing your day with me.

  2. Looks like a great way to see the lake and your shots are something special.

  3. I forgot this - Since you've been to many places we plan to visit, I'd appreciate your thoughts on my post for today.

  4. Okay, I am behind on blog reading as I almost missed this gorgeous post. My step-father had a 40' boat in the 60s and we took a week to travel here when I was much younger! I always wanted to go back by boat and now I know how to do it. Too bad about the bugs. Hope they were not as bad on the water. We may try to do this trip in late September. Lake Superior is awesome--but sure cold!

    1. In my wildest dreams, I would have never guessed Michigan could be this beautiful. We continue to travel and enjoy every stop. I won't say where we are now, but you can guess, I'm sure. Mosquitos were not troublesome on the water but the flies were. Was told it will get worse there with flies that bite and those giant horse flies! Horrors!

  5. you guys are moving pretty fast thru the UP so I am not sure our paths will cross but if they do we would love to meet up for a visit...