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.

IMG_9159

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

IMG_9160

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.

IMG_9168

IMG_9161

IMG_9162

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

IMG_9164

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

IMG_9172

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.

IMG_9171

Advertisements

Some Of The Best Places Are Ones We Stumble Upon

While we were in Wallace, Michigan visiting the De Young Family Zoo(read about it here if you missed it) we were hoping to stumble upon a park nearby that we could enjoy a quiet picnic lunch together at. So we drove down a nearby highway thinking we were headed toward lake Michigan and were surprised when we realized we had turned the wrong direction. Which we then turned around and passed a sign that said public boat landing on a flowage.

IMG_8914

Now, if you know anything about my husband, he knows just about every boat launch in our area. However, in Michigan, he knows very little but said that the ones in WI sponsored by WPS are usually pretty nice so why not check this one out in Michigan. I had no reason to complain since I know very little about any of them and plus, I was hungry and wanted to eat lunch. So we ventured down this gravel road and came upon this.

IMG_8886

Wow, gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!! A big lake, with a nice gravel lot, and a porta potty. And the best part….not another vehicle in the entire lot except for us. We both used the bathroom facilities and then ate our picnic lunch of chicken salad on pitas, fresh apricots, prickly pears, and Larabar caramel seal salt bites.

IMG_8884

Oh, I must mention, if you have not tried this flavor if Larabar bites yet, you must….they are fabulous. Good luck eating only one serving…..the two of us finished the whole bag!

IMG_8784

After lunch he knew I spotted the grassy trail we passed off the gravel road that seemed to lead around the lake and suggested we go check it out.

IMG_8902

Now, keep in mind, we were not in any way prepared to hike today since I was suppose to be taking it easy and letting my abdominal muscle heal. However, I saw the trail, he saw that I saw the trail, and my hiking boots are always in my SUV just in case….you never know when I will come across a trail I must explore. So after lunch we both sprayed down with more sunscreen and bug spray which also never leaves my SUV and we headed out for a look where this trail led to.

IMG_8907

It quickly got much more wooded and the trail turned from grass to dirt. And soon we found ourselves surrounded by big tall trees as far as we could see.

IMG_8912

IMG_8910

I asked my husband if he felt we could possibly see a bear here…and he said it was very possible which made me stop and look around. One of my bucket list things to do is to see a bear in the wild while hiking someday. Although, today was not the day since we soon found ourselves swatting at numerous bugs. Plus, not having any hiking supplies, backpack, bug nets, water or bear spray we decided it was probably best if we turned around and head back to the parking lot where we left our vehicle.

We walked probably about 1.5 miles on this trail with no end in sight. You all know what that means…..we will return and come better prepared next time for sure. I never start a trail I can’t finish. And next time maybe we will stumble upon a bear…who knows.

All in all it was a very beautiful place to share a lunch and explore. Never be afraid to stop and take that turn if you not sure what’s down that road. You never know what you may miss by passing it by.

IMG_8891

IMG_8899

IMG_8888

IMG_8895

Chapel Loop Trail- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

If you are searching for a wonderful day hike I would highly recommend the Chapel Loop Hike- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. This is a 10 mile loop with breathtaking views along the gorgeous lakeshore bluffs of Lake Michigan.

This was our first time hiking this trail and I am extremely thrilled to say #1 we made the entire 10 miles and #2 it will be repeated again! Here is what we did, where we stayed, and advice for anyone thinking about attempted this hike.

We drove from our home in WI and stayed the night in Munising, MI which is about 20 minutes from the trail head. Before leaving home, I contacted the park ranger and we discussed the black fly problem and bear precautions. He informed me that the black flies are normally gone by September but could linger depending on the weather. We purchased headnets to wear in the instance that these were still lingering although we never needed them. The only place we encounter them was when we were on the beach and they were not too horrible. As for bear precautions, as much as I hated spending $50 on a can of bear spray, I did it anyhow. My husband wore this the entire hike on the outside of his pack for easy access if needed. Thankfully, the only bear we saw was in the backyard of our hotel and I was safely inside our room looking out at this fine creature. I will say, however, that along the trail we did run into a few other hikers and backcountry campers whom all had their bear spray visible and ready also, so I felt a little safer knowing that we had ours too. Now, as for the trail….we arrived just before 8am Saturday morning and the parking lot only had a few cars in it. We used the bathroom facility, took a look at the maps, warnings, and such on the board and decided to head the direction of Chapel Falls.

IMG_2489

IMG_2492

The first part of this trail was wide and went through big, beautiful forest.

IMG_2512

Not far in we heard Chapel Falls.

IMG_2497

Then we headed further towards Chapel Rock. This was really amazing.

IMG_2530

IMG_2533After Chapel Rock you will continue down the trail to Chapel Beach. This is also the location of the first campsite area for back country campers.  IMG_2547

IMG_2545

And an area that had restrooms. I was very thankful for this and I must say, this was one of the nicest signs I saw along the trail.

IMG_2551

When I came out I found my husband had stripped of his pack, shoes, and socks and was enjoying the cool waters of the lake.

IMG_2562 IMG_2559 After a nice break here we headed up further to Grand Portal Point. These few miles went by so quickly because the views we saw as we hiked the bluffs edge were just spectacular.  IMG_2568  IMG_2594

IMG_2589As you round the back side of Grand Portal Point you come to a very nice area for a break. At this point you are about half way finished.  IMG_2631

If you decide to sit and have a snack, watch your packs, critters are very friendly on this trail. We met this little fella begging for one of our almonds.

IMG_2637

IMG_2587

As you make your way further you will see beautiful blue water, rock ledges, and what is known as Lover’s Leap Arch.  IMG_2522

IMG_2520This is all while hiking along the lakeshore on, at times, a very narrow path near the edge, caution is needed.Your next big stop will be at Mosquito Beach/Camp which is also camp area #2 for campers.We found this much more busy with tourists and moved pretty quickly through this area toward Mosquito Falls.  IMG_2650

IMG_2660

By this time we were getting pretty tired. The trail had turned from packed dirt, to sand, and these last few miles were loose rocks and tree roots causing huge tripping hazards it seemed. We slowed our pace to not injure ourselves and upon arriving at the falls my husband actually took his shoe off again to soak his foot for a bit. (Remember, he is recovering from a herniated disc that has left him with nerve damage in that leg/foot and ice cold water helps)  IMG_2661

While he did this I explored the area.

IMG_2665 IMG_2663

IMG_2628All that was left after this was the parking lot. Which seemed to be miles from where we were but was actually only about another mile. When we arrived back at the parking lot I was completely speechless……….there were so many cars that they had started parking up both sides of the dirt road for almost an entire mile. My advice is if you plan to do any part of this hike arrive early. Very early.

We accomplished this 10 mile hike is just over 6 hrs, with two breaks for a snack and two rest periods in the water. After finishing for the day we returned to our hotel, ate dinner, and were both in bed by 7pm exhausted but extremely grateful for accomplishing this hike. It was wonderful!

My personal thoughts: I loved this hike, however, I am one that loves rock, bluffs, and waterfalls. If you are the same, then you should also enjoy this hike. There is a lot of different terrain here, nothing severe, but different throughout. Roots and rocks can be detrimental to toes so sandals would not be your best choice of footwear here. I thought the trails were very well marked until the last few miles. From Mosquito Campground until the parking lot they can be somewhat confusing so remember your trail map. And one last thing, because I know every female will appreciate this, yes you will find restrooms at the start, at Chapel Beach Campground, and at Mosquito Beach Campground HOWEVER bring your own TP!

NOTE: We did run into one trail hazard along the route and it was well marked and a detour has been made by the park dept. It only brings you off trail a few yards at most. Be careful.  IMG_2626

IMG_2627

Weekend Happenings….

This is the first weekend all summer we have not had preplanned plans. Which left us wondering, what should we do? We have so many upcoming adventures, that laying low and close to home sounded quite nice to me.

Saturday morning we started by sleeping in until 6am.(Yes, normal wake up time for us is 4am, so 6:00am was very nice.) I did a few chores, worked out, ran a few errands, hubby did some of his “honey do” list, and then we thought it was too beautiful to just sit and waste a sunny day. We checked out the Algoma/ Lake Michigan web cam to see what the big lake looked like, and it was sunny, with a little ripple. Exactly what I have been waiting for all summer. We loaded up the paddle board, packed a quick lunch and we were off to the big lake.

My boys brought kayaks to goof around and practice rolling with and I had my board, who could ask for anything more perfect.

IMG_2326

I was so happy to finally have my moment with beautiful blue water, sunny skies and my board.

IMG_2380

Meanwhile, my boys were testing out my kayak, to see who could roll it the best. Doesn’t my husband look so concerned standing there with his arms crossed and our son is upside down in my kayak?

IMG_2369

No need to fret though, we have all come to know how long each one of us is comfortable being upside down. He was up in seconds. My kayak is the easiest to roll of all of them, so each one was over and back up with no problem.

IMG_2370

It was a spectacular day at the beach. Sun, sand and paddling:) Pure Happiness!

Sunday brought a day of tasks we have been wanting to do for some time. With the help of my brother, my husband trimmed dead and hanging branches from our huge tree in the backyard.

IMG_2387

We made a visit to the veggie market in Black Creek.

IMG_2402

IMG_2394

IMG_2396

I bought $16.00 worth of veggie happiness!

IMG_2405

We came home and immediately lit the grill and started roasting veggies for homemade salsa. Recipe will be posted this week.

IMG_2411

What a terrific weekend. A lot of chores were accomplished with a little added fun in between.