Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Day 1

Our first day here in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is coming to a very fine end. Sure some of us only got a handful of hours of sleep as we did not arrive at the Seeney Township Park campground until well after 01:00 but everyone was up at at 'em in plenty of time to leave the campground around 07:00 to drive into Munising for an early breakfast at Sydneys. Joni would catch up to us a bit later as she had stayed at a nice hotel in Munising and since Gail lives in nearby Marquette she just met us at the visitor center for the park in Munising around 09:00. The morning was already shaping up to be a pleasant one with a warming sun rising into a clear blue sky. It appeared the weather forecasters were going to get it right for the day which was certainly quite cheering for all of us from down below The Bridge where it had been pouring rain in buckets the last couple of days. After a quick detour to gaze at Munising Falls, Alger County has so many water falls, we piled into the shuttle bus for the hour ride along the now completely paved H58 to Grand Marais at the start of our hike.

By now it was edging past 11:00 and even though we took a couple side trips to get a better appreciation of the dunes by Sable Falls along with the falls themselves we were soon striding down the Lakeshore Trail proper (also a portion of the North Country Trail). In this area the trtail rises and falls a little bit but none of the hills is anything more than a mere blip As we walked through the forest of beech, white pine (red probably too), and I expect oak what began to catch our attention were the wildflowers. It was not unusual to see a large patch of tall blossoming white trillium next to a swath of blue-purple Forget-me-nots. Sometimes the flowers seemed to be taking over hillsides bathing them in white and purple blossoms. I do not think I have ever seen so many flowers.

Our first glimpse of Lake Superior at the Grand Sable dunes.

Wildflowers were everywhere on this first day. I do not think I have ever seen so many before. The Trillims were sometimes quite large.
Our winding path took us past Sable Lake (with a bit of road walk, sigh) and continued leading us over hillocks through areas of wildflowers. Not until we reached the Log Slide, some 7 miles in, did we again get view of Lake Superior. The Log Slide once was a giant flume for sliding red and white pines down into Lake Superior where they wer sent to wherever those great logs would go to be processed. The logging industry has been gone for over 100 years but the Log Slide remains as do, I am sure, numerous stories about it. I wish I could recount some of them but I cannot.

A last glance back at the Log Slide. Superior has shaded from the rich deep blue at noon to these green hues of later afternoon (a bit before17:00).
We are camped at the group site at Au Sable East and it is a decent site if a tad far from the Lake. Someone got a nice little fire going and that seemed the best way to end the day. Some folks hit their beds early, others chatted around the fire, and at least one took a sunset stroll on the beach. We were all finding our niches in the group and it was good.

I'll close this out with the roar of Lake Superior hopefully soothing me to sleep. I can hear something chirping or peeping in the distance. With any kind of luck no Whiporwills live nearby to disturb our slumber. Last night one went off for what seemed an age around 04:00 and I'd rather not have that happen again.

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