___________ May 28, 2015 ___________

Vacation Time!

((day three: Munising Blessings))

NoTe:  My apologies.  WordPress has formatting issues.  It’s centered portions of my writing.  I can’t un-center them.  My anal misses Xanga, at times like these.  Grit your teeth and look past it, please?

We woke up to a beautiful, sunny day.  Packing up our things, we headed out, stopping at a rest area to get a picture of the Manistique Breakwater Light, and then at my first St. Vinnie’s in 22 years.  (They were SO funny, there.  The St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Manistique has a guest book – the cashier was SO excited to have people from Grand Rapids in her store – she couldn’t wait to show the Chamber of Commerce our entry, the next week!!)space
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Then we headed north, in search of the ‘red shack’.  Brian’s grandpa owns a huntin’ shack in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest, and he’s gone a handful of times with his grandpa up north to spend long weekends there.  He wanted to show us.  I’d seen pictures, but had no idea where it was, so we Google mapped it…  the 2-track going back to it is actually given as ‘red shack road’ on Google!  Too funny.
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Holy COW was that back in the middle of nowhere!  We had a terrible time trying to get back to it – everything was grown over.  And when we stepped out of the car, every mosquito on earth zeroed in on us, and it was a total bloodbath.  Worse?  Whoever had used the shack to hunt last?  Hadn’t returned the key to the hiding place.  We dug around, but couldn’t find it anywhere.  We even called Grandpa (who was SHOCKED that we were calling him from the huntin’ shack!) … he didn’t know where it was.  Ah, well.  We got to peek in the windows, anyhow.
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Alger Falls, on the side of the road, M28/M94

IMG_5824 (583x777)Wagner Falls, also at the M28/M94 Junction.
This one required a small hike, but nothing strenuous.
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Still going north, we found Alger Falls, Wagner Falls, and Horseshoe Falls.  Fun story, first, though – we had to PAY to see Horseshoe Falls… but it’s only $12/car, and for a couple with no kids that would be a rip, but for the SEVEN of us, it was like a $1.75/ea.  And then we were going to get postcards, but they didn’t have any… BUT their (((free!))) brochures were printed AS postcards!  AND… because the kids found all the gnomes on the scavenger hunt, they each got a free prize, and they all picked arrowheads, so we got free souvenirs.  So we paid what we would’ve for postcards/souvenirs in the admission.  It all worked out!

IMG_5848 (583x777)Horseshoe Falls… the LONG version

IMG_5850 (777x583)… and up closer without children.
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Finding gnomes = arrowhead prizes

Then we went to Munising, and had a drive around to look over the town.  It was WAY prettier and nicer than Mantistique – everything is on the waterfront.  Even the high school is on the water!  I love the town… probably would hate the tourist season, though.  We had lunch at Subway, and headed for the boat.
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IMG_5931 (777x558)Munising High School… right on Lake Superior!

Our reservations were at 2pm to go out on the Pictured Rocks boat tour.  My family never wanted to fork out the $$ for it – said there wasn’t anything out there we couldn’t see from the land.  THEY. WERE. WRONG.  It was absolutely astounding.  It was like what I imagine the Grand Canyon would look like if it were flooded.  It was sheer cliffs of colored, layered rock, with caves and cut-outs, with ‘castles’ and loops.  There were waterfalls plunging down into Lake Superior.  It was BREATHTAKING.

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Bridal Veil Falls – tallest in Michigan
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IMG_5879 (583x777)Constantly changing face of the rock
space IMG_5881 (777x583)Mineral seepage ‘paints’ the rock faces.

IMG_5887 (583x777)It’s the colors that got me.  So amazing.

IMG_5892 (602x777)Indian Head Rock.  Can you see it?

IMG_5894 (777x575)Absolutely breathtaking!IMG_5886 (777x583)

These are called ‘Elephant Legs’.  Can you see why?

IMG_5899 (777x564)Miner’s beach FallsIMG_5900 (583x777)Chapel Rock

IMG_5905 (583x777)Spray Falls

IMG_5914 (777x576)Lover’s Leap

IMG_5927 (777x583)East Channel Lighthouse (on Grand Island)

But when we’d reached the boat launch the weather had turned, and a north wind blew in, and it was C-c-c-c-cold!  I was adamant about NOT sitting inside the boat – I wanted to be up on the observation deck, because you get a glare thru the windows, and have to try to see around people’s heads inside.  Homigawsh, was it cold!!!!  I got windburn all over my face, my hair was absolute knots/curls, and the kids were huddled down in their winter coats, facing backwards, with their hoods up and hands pulled in.  They watched the rocks backwards, LOL!!space

IMG_5916 (583x777)We told the kids that when the boat turned around to go back, we’d go in.  I didn’t really want to, but everyone was frozen.  So we went inside, and… couldn’t see over people or through the glare on the windows… so when Lydia said she was getting sick to her stomach and needed to go back up, I gladly went with her.  It was a LOT better on the way back – facing with the wind.

And imagine my surprise when my name was drawn to receive a photography book of the beautiful rocks!  We were thrilled!!space
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Did I mention about this time it SNOWED?!  In case you wondered how cold it was on the boat tour?  It was on the verge of SNOWING, and I was perched on top of the boat out on the open water!!  LoL!!!  Oi… I swear they let us win the cruise prize just because we were so crazy, all those kids up there, like that!

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IMG_5947 (583x777)Tannery Falls.  Sorry for the fuzzy picture.
My batteries were dying, now…

We weren’t done, though.  After three hours of sitting on a boat, we were ready to stretch our legs, so we hiked back to Tannery Falls and Monument Falls (where my kids got to stand UNDER a waterfall!)  We passed on Olson Falls, because it was just too mucky to get through the trail… and honestly, we were getting to be done.

Monument Falls.  (I borrowed Lydia’s camera.)

I thought of my college friend, Gregg, the ENTIRE day long… because he’s from/in Munising.  Gregg and I met at NMU, in a running class.  Running is the only sport I’m good at, out of the water… and I needed a health credit.  Gregg and I struck up an unusual friendship on the very first day of class – having nothing in common except for running.  But we actually got along really, really well.  If I remember correctly, he was a tour guide for the Pictured Rocks boat company back in high school, and his dad was the high school librarian.  I can’t hear ‘Two Princes’ or Gordon Lightfoot without thinking of Gregg.  Weird, the things that stick with you, isn’t it…?

And I was in his town.  Seeing the high school his dad worked at, riding the boat he worked on.  And homigosh, we really loved being there, too.  If there’s a place in Michigan I recommend going to?  It’s Munising, hands down.  The waterfalls, the lighthouses, the beaches, the cliffs, the trails… it’s just amazing.  Gregg is so blessed.  And so were we – we had an amazing day… and by the end of it, we were starting to feel wiped.

So we found our hotel, went to Shop-Ko (*geeks* Shop-Ko!!) for a few things (conditioner for girl showers, camera batteries, etc), then had supper (*geeks* Hardees!!), and then went back to the hotel to play in the pool… which was no deeper than 3.5ft, and had a frog slide for the littles, with a hot tub for Brian and I to warm up in while watching them all play.

After all of that, we had to get showers…
so we called it a night and headed back to our room.

Tomorrow is another FULL, full day!!

day oneday twoday threeday four
day fiveday six aday six bday sevenday eight

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1 Comment

  1. Lovely stuff 🙂

    Reply

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