´¯`•. May 29, 2015

Vacation Time!

((day four: Up the Lakeshore))

I woke up to a message from Gregg, my Munising friend.  I’d written on FB and told him we were in town.  He replied that we picked the perfect time to come – as it was SNOWING outside.  I opened the hotel curtains… and it was, indeed, snowing.  Oh, crap.  We had a full day of hiking planned, and it was snowing.  Oi…  well…!  Let’s go!

It actually didn’t start that smoothly.  While I was making/packing our picnic lunch, Isaac picked on Lydia, and she swung around to smack him, and got Ethan in the eye with a finger.  ALL. DAY. LONG, Ethan’s eye wept.  So did the rest of him.  He was not a happy little guy.  We were miserable before we even set off… into the snow.  SNOW.  But this was our ONE opportunity, the only week we had, here.  We couldn’t let a watering eye or snowflakes deter us.  We pulled out the winter coats and Ibuprofen and hit the road.

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We started out heading up H-58, and went to Miner’s Falls.  Ethan cried.  Owen cried.  It was a two-mile round trip hike, and we were already crying.  Grumbling.  Freezing.  Snowing.  Homigosh, this was not gonna be good.  But being still slightly survivalist (leftover from the mid 2000’s), I had extra gloves in the car, and Ethan didn’t have a hood, but I had a thick navy bath towel that I always carry (just in case), and we wrapped him shawl-like inside his coat and it worked great as a hood (and double layering) all day.

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There were an elderly couple at  Miner’s Falls that hiked realllllllly slowwwwwly, and they showed up at our next stop – Miner’s Castle.  It was nothing like when I was there as a kid – apparently in 2006, half of the Castle broke off and plunged into the lake.  That’s too bad.  And as a result, they’ve closed it off – no more climbing out on the castle (which scared me as a kid, truth be told).  But anyhow, we talked to another younger hiker couple – the type with fluorescent sport shoes, 50-pound backpacks the size of their entire bodies.  WHY do they need that much gear to climb an observation deck?  Am I missing something?  Not sure…

Our next stop was Castle Falls/Mosquito Falls.  They start at the same trailhead, but are in different directions from each other.  Since it was lunchtime (and still snowing), we unpacked our picnic and ate it in the car.  The elderly couple did the same.  The hiker couple arrived and did the same thing in their vehicle.  And then the hikers left first, and the elderly people left at the same time as us, only they headed to Castle Falls, while we (not wanting to be stuck behind them) went to Mosquito Falls.

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HO. MI. GOSH!!!  Mosquito Falls was 2.5 miles round trip, but it wasn’t just a gravel trail – it was steep climbing, through mud, bog, up roots, down hills… it was rough.  And snowing, did I mention that?  And we just kept going, and going, and going, and going… and FINALLY found the falls.  SO worth it, but wOw.  It was a crazy hike… and my kids’ favorites.  Owen was in a much better mood, after napping from Miner’s area to Chapel’s area and having lunch.  In fact, the little guy talked non-stop the ENTIRE hike.  I’ve never heard him so chatty in my life.  He didn’t hardly stop for air, the ENTIRE two and a half mile hike.

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If you hike this, be aware, that the above fall is marked ‘Mosquito Falls’.
So a lot of people stop there and figure that’s it.  It’s mismarked.
IMG_5990 (777x583) About 300 ft further are the REAL Mosquito Falls.
This picture makes them look small – they’re not.  They’re gorgeous.

By the time we were nearly back to the car, the elderly couple were starting our trail.  I promised everyone that we’d take a half hour break in the car (we ALL needed it!), but that if they were done with the other trail in the time we hiked ours (being slow as they were), the other trail HAD to be easier… even if it was longer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALydia took a pic of the snow.
I thought I’d use it as my cameo picture.
You always make me post one of me.
Yes, why yes, this is cheating.  LoL!!!!

So we had a break, pried ourselves from the car, and took off on the 3-mile round trip to Castle Falls.  Passed a scruffy old couple coming out.  Hooo, baby, it was SO much easier!
IMG_6010 (583x777)More like a ‘walk’ than a hike!

IMG_6016 (583x777)Castle Falls… very impressive!

IMG_6022 (583x777)From above the falls… family picture!

But after the Mosquito hike put the hurt to us, we… were struggling.  We managed it, but wha.  I ended up carrying Owen piggy-back the last leg.  And people were begging to be done.  Ironically?  The minute we hit the car and turned on the heat?  They were enthusiastically saying how awesome it was, how it wasn’t so bad, how they loved doing this… and how tasty their suckers were.  Heat and sugar apparently made all the difference?

We checked out the parking lot, and the car of the elderly people we’d been traveling along with all day were gone – that means they never made it to Mosquito Falls – they’d turned back, likely early into the mud/bog/climbing.  The scruffy couple were just leaving, which means that they didn’t make it, either.  But the young hiker couple were still back in there, somewhere.  They probably were going all the way down to the beach… another 3 miles, one-way.  We obviously didn’t make that, but we did better than the two other couples!

Oh, you thought we were done?  Oh, no.  We had one day to see stuff on the Pictured Rocks lakeshore.  I didn’t want to waste any opportunity.  But we were a little pooped from the hiking.

So I compromised:  We passed on the Au Sable Light (which would’ve been another 3-mile round trip… NO way), and we counted the drive from Munising to Grand Marais as an adventure.  And it was – I’ve never been on such a crazily winding road.  It was fun.  Good music, warm heater, bodies taking a break?  It was good.   We did get out to look at the breakers at a lookout – the water on Superior was BRUTAL – huge, huge waves just bashing into the shore, churning up the bottom as it went.  Crazy cold/windy/snowing.

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In Grand Marais, we went to see Sable Falls (and the Grand Marais dunes)… They were gorgeous and so worth it.  But man, dragging ourselves back up all that ways?  We were SO done.  By now we’d hiked over seven miles, IN SNOW, with five children ranging in age down to five years old.  Hey, that’s not bad!

IMG_6038 (777x389)Grand Marais Dunes.

IMG_6040 (583x777)Sable Falls.  Aren’t they amazing?!

We enjoyed the ride back, and had pasties at the Bear Trap Inn.  You can’t go to the U.P. and not have pasties (pronounced ‘PAST-ies’, not ‘PASTE-ies’) and the kids loved the (stuffed) live animals in the restaurant.  It was such a kewl place – apparently you can buy a beer mug and keep it on-hand, there.  They have numbered mugs for the patrons!  Anyhow, the food was great, and we watched five male grosbeaks at their feeder, so that was special, too – they only pass through down at our house.

Then went back to our hotel room to melt into the beds for a while… before allowing the kids to coax us to the pool (in our case, hot tub).   When we got in there?  The office lady was kind enough to turn on the waterslide for the kids (there was a 100′ waterslide, there).  I don’t know HOW they had the energy to climb those stairs, over and over again to ride that thing.  I just soaked in the hot tub and gave thumbs up to people at the top when the person in front of them was down.  But they had a ball.

A very full day!  But SEVEN miles of hiking – three of them very steep/rough climbing?  Our sleep was well earned, that night!


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

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1 Comment

  1. Beautiful falls 🙂 All that hiking reminds me of the adventures I had. And pasties to boot?! What I wouldn’t give for a pastie. Are they like the ones at Greggs UK?


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