The Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan-Part 2

It’s amazing to me how much we can pack into one day when it’s all we had in cooper country. We saw so much and explored everything from waterfalls to old abandoned buildings.

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One of the unique places we stopped was an old abandoned mill of some sort. This is typically not something I would explore but our son and my husband had this one their to do list of places to see.

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Directly across the street from this building was a piece of old machinery also left behind for people to explore. I was not game for this adventure…but both my boys went and checked it out up close.

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Then my son, being he has been here many times before, wanted to show mom what this area calls a mountain. Since we have explored and climbed a few real mountains, I always find it amusing what other areas consider to be a mountain. However, elevation is elevation and I love it no matter where I can find it.

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After a full day of beach exploring, hiking, and just seeing what this area had to offer we headed back to the hotel to clean up before heading out to dinner.

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After dinner our son said he was planning on heading out for a picture of sundown, which normally I would have joined him but I simply was just too tired from the day. So I tossed him the keys and dad and I went to bed. I remember vaguely him coming back, hearing him in the hotel room, and the next thing I knew we were all awake and wondering what the heck that earsplitting noise was????? Well, we soon figured it out, I glanced at the clock next to me……3:00a.m…….as our son raced to the door to glance out into the hallway to figure out was this really happening?? Sure enough it was……the fire alarm was blaring and strobe lights in the hallways were flashing like the northern lights!!!! We quickly grabbed our valuables, threw on shoes, and headed outside with the rest of the people.

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Being the town and area we were staying in were not large, it took a bit for the volunteer fire department to show up and thankfully within 30 minutes we were all cleared to enter our hotel once again and go back to sleep. Which is much easier said than done…..take my word for it!

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All in all, it was a great weekend. Some adventures were better than others and I am sure you can pick out which one we could have done without. However, we also learned from some of them…the emergency evacuation to be exact. I would highly recommend visiting this area of Michigans Upper Peninsula if you have the chance.

****To read part 1 of this trip click here.

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The Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan-Part 1

This past weekends we visited the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan….also known to many as copper country. Our son has been here many times with a friend that has a cabin in this area but dad and I have only visited once a few years ago. During that visit we had no time for exploration what so ever since we were touring a college at the time. Which meant this time was strictly for fun and adventure….which we sure had. Here is the first part of our trip.

We left after work Friday evening for the 4 hour drive to our hotel. As the sun set in the sky we were eagerly awaiting the end of a long work day plus the drive to our destination. Knowing that if we arrived late Friday night we would have all day Saturday to explore made the long drive a bit more tolerable.

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We arrived, checked in, and immediately went to bed. We had all agreed to wake early(6:30a.m.) to begin our day Saturday.

On the agenda were a few waterfalls,

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some geocaching,

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and some trail hiking.

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Everything we went for was accomplished and then some, during our day in this area of Michigan. I found that I love Michigans abundance of fresh edible berries all along their trials. Wow, we would never come across all this yummy goodness here in WI.

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I will end here for now but if your curious to see what else we explored in the Keweenaw stay tuned to part 2 next.

 

 

Munising Falls- Michigan

The last and final waterfall we visited while we were in Michigan back on Labor Day weekend was Munising Falls.This one is considered part of the National Lakeshore and is easily located in Munising, Michigan across the street from the Munising Memorial Hospital.

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There is quite a large parking lot, no fee to view the falls, and ample bathrooms and a small information/gift shop located here.

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As with some other waterfalls, not quite a hiking trail in definition but a short walk down a paved walkway will once again take you to stairs leading down and up to the waterfall viewing areas.

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Its nice here since the platforms at this 50 ft.waterfall are big enough for everyone to view and not be too pushy.

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On our way back from the waterfall I noticed a sign for the North Country Trail which apparently runs right through this area.

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Which gave me an idea for future hiking opportunities. My poor husband knew exactly what I was thinking when I started checking out the map nearby. Maybe someday we will make this trek and see what we can find along the way.

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Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park/Hiking Brandywine Falls

Finishing up our Virginia vacation was a planned stop about 4 hours into our 16 hour drive home at Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park to hike Brandywine Gorge Trail.  I knew we would need to stretch our legs and this national park was on the route home so we figured why not stop and check it out.

We arrived at the parking lot for the trail and found ample parking and bathrooms.

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The trail is 1.5 miles long and offers a great view of the Brandywine Falls. It starts out as a boardwalk to the falls.

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With upper and lower viewing platforms easily accessible.

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Then you follow the path up and over the actual waterfall and begin to follow a crushed gravel path.

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This crushed gravel path leads you a short ways until you then make a left hand turn down a rocky slope. Eventually it leads back to a crushed gravel path ending back at the parking lot after following the river bank.

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I liked this park. Off the beaten path and not well known meant not a whole lot of people were here. We did see many families with small children although, I can only guess its because its close to residential homes. There was no fee for entrance into this park and its widely spread out over a few miles if you want to explore all it has to offer. We did not explore, simply stopped to hike and stretch and then got back to driving as far as we could before night fall.

This was our last stop before returning home from a week of mountain hiking and relaxation…or at least what we call relaxation. It was quite the vacation and I am already beginning to plan our next adventure. We have a big anniversary coming up in 2018 and we plan to celebrate big……with more big mountains of course.

 

 

 

 

AuTrain Falls-Michigans U.P.

AuTrain Falls was without a doubt my favorite of all the waterfalls we visited while in Michigans U.P.

Why you ask? Well, it was peaceful, had only three people at it when we arrived and they soon left, it was off the beaten path and the falls itself was just a nice slow water flow that brought peace and solitude after a long day of dealing with people waterfall viewing. It was beautiful.

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For this waterfall you will follow a dirt road and come to a gate where there is a parking area for a good number of cars. You will then walk behind the gate and continue down a hill to reach the falls.

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We viewed the waterfall and since we were with our son and his friend whom is also a photographer……we ventured off behind the AuTrain Power building down a trail we saw while they tried to capture the right light or whatever photographers try and capture…haha!

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Trails are meant to be followed in my opinion so we did exactly this. It led us down along side of a river.

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This river eventually got shallow enough for us to walk on the rocks and explore.

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Until……….one of the boulders we were walking on began to move and we discovered this big guy.

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Oh my goodness, I loved him from first sight. Turtles are so fascinating and since we have one as a pet I had to have a picture. Thankfully, my husband loves them also….or at least he loves me enough to pick up this very strong snapping turtle so I could capture a few photos before we released him back the the river where he happily swam away.

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After this we made our way back to the boys who were still trying to capture that perfect shot and I shared my turtle pics with them. As usual, my son was not happy with me since he seems to never be close by when mom and dad stumble upon the coolest things in the wild.

If you visit this waterfall there are no restrooms, no fee and I can only assume in the winter months it will be closed since they may not plow a dirt road….but this I am not sure of.

 

Laughing Whitefish Waterfall/State Park-Michigans U.P.

Another one of our stops while in Michigans U.P.Labor Day weekend was Laughing Whitefish State Park. Apparently, this is one of Michigans tallest waterfalls and it is located on some rock that many people find it fun to walk on.

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Upon arriving you will need to pay a $9 daily fee to view this waterfall and use this park. It’s on the honor system so make sure you have the proper change and a pen to fill out the paperwork. Ample parking is available and a bathroom at the start of the trail is available but is quite disgusting….or at least it was when we visited.

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The trail to the falls is fairly flat crushed gravel/dirt.

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This is the one waterfall that had, by far, the most steps of every one we visited the entire weekend. Layer after layer of steps and platforms you had to climb….and what goes down must come back up!!!!

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For me personally, the caves that you could view along the way were the best pa of this waterfall hike. They were quite amazing and made for a cool view along the way.

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This was not my favorite waterfall but more because of the people than because of the scenery. However, it is not one to pass up either, so give it a try you may get lucky and have a better crowd than we did when we visited.

 

Wagner Falls-Michigans U.P.

Wagner Falls in Michigans U.P. is easy to miss since you come upon it right on the side of MI-94. Parking is very limited and many people we found later in the day parking along the actual highway itself. We lucked out and actually got an actual parking space since we arrived early in the morning hours.

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There are no restrooms here, no fee is charged, and most of the hike is on a wooden platform path.

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Again, as at most Michigan waterfalls, you will come to the end of the path and have to climb stairs to the viewing platform. Although, here there are not many at all and the falls can be seen a bit from the end of the path without climbing the steps.

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Our son and his friend even braved past the viewing platform since it was early and no one was here yet to try and capture a closer photo of this waterfall. Being a mom who believes rules are meant to be broken I told them to go for it…..mom fail…. I know but it is what it is.

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The falls were beautiful in the morning hours, the walkway was slippery due to the morning dew that had covered it, and the actual walk in was short and easy.

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