__________ June 03, 2015 __________

Vacation Time!

((day seven: Let’s go to L’anse))

I don’t know, but… I’m starting to get a little pooped.

This was the day we were slated to leave Marquette.  What we ended up doing was leaving Marquette… and going back to Marquette.  Because we’re weird and do a lot of back-tracking.  Don’t ask.

IMG_6327 (500x666)Our first stop was the Black River Falls in Ishpeming.  I was excited, because it’s a bottleneck fall… that means the water is squeezed through a skinny opening between two massive rocks, and so it shoots out with a LOT of pressure.  They were extremely kewl falls.

IMG_6331 (666x593)But we never made it to Jilbert’s dairy (and they close at 6pm, which is a pain for us), so we drove back to Marquette for ice cream.  Everyone up here says Jilbert’s is THE bomb.  And I remember from my childhood going to see them make ice cream in their observation room, then have some at the little store, so it was kind of a thing to go back.  But honestly?  Hudsonville’s ice cream from downstate has them beat, hands down.  But shhh… I didn’t say that out loud.

Anyhow, they had cedar postcards (seriously – made of wood!), so we got some as souvenirs… Brian bought me a mug that says ‘I Yoosta be a Yooper’, and were back to heading west.

IMG_6332 (555x278)It’s cute and you know it.  We don’t put stuff on our cars, mostly, tho.

We also made a tiny detour to fill jars with iron ore pellets from the train tracks.

IMG_6335 (666x654)

It was a nice drive, out to the Keewenaw Penninsula, truth be told.  It was really pretty, and the rocky outcroppings that are everywhere up here (all the way up the sides of the roads!) turned into MOUNTAINS.  Specifically, the Huron Mountains.   Did you know there are two – mountain ranges in Michigan?  The Porcupine Mountains, and the Huron Mountains.

IMG_6336 (666x483)Forest Fire on our way to L’anse.
Is it me, or is in the shape of Michigan?!

IMG_6338 (666x596)We actually spent most of the day in L’anse, which is right at the bottom of the Keewenaw bay.  We started with the Canyon River Falls, where we had our picnic lunch.  It was funny – there were these two uber-kewl guys with tatts on their calves and big muscles and they were all dat… and they got halfway down the trail, saw a small cascade, called it the falls, and turned around and left!  Which… they have NO idea what they missed.  It’s called CANYON river falls for a reason.  It was breathtaking, and that water was just gushing down between the rocks into this amazing area…  Yeah.  It was awesome.

IMG_6343 (666x333)The two guys looked at this, took a picture, and left!

IMG_6341 (666x500)Have I mentioned the U.P. has amazing ROCK?!

IMG_6350 (500x666)There was a LOT of trail left, hello!!IMG_6355 (403x666)The REAL Canyon River falls.IMG_6356 (500x666)There’s a canyon that they fall into.  Hence the name.
Can’t believe those uber-awesome dudes missed this!!

Then we drove to L’anse.  A guy on-line said that there was a waterfall map you could get at the info center there, so that’s where I went, and that’s what I got.  And trust me on this – you REALLY want that map.  It has a whole list, where they are, how much hiking… it was invaluable.  Then we followed the map, starting with the Powerhouse Falls – named for the power house (!) on the side of the waterfall.  It was really nice, back there.

IMG_6377 (500x666)Powerhouse Falls.

Then we went to the Lower and Middle falls, which were along the CertainTeed factory right in town – almost down to the bay.  We got small pieces of shale from the trail, there, and then let the kids play at the lakeside park on the bay.

IMG_6384 (666x500)Middle Falls, L’anse

IMG_6381 (500x666)And the L’anse Light, of course!  Within view of Middle Falls parking!

Then we drove to the Lower Silver Falls…

IMG_6397 (416x555)In case you wondered what ‘hiking’ entails!IMG_6402 (416x555)Lower Silver FallsIMG_6403 (416x555)Brian, giving us some perspective on the size/power of these!

The Silver Falls were down this forestry road, where there was this amazing logging contraption.  We got to watch how they log the forest – I even made a video!

Then we went to the Black Slate falls, where Ethan picked up a second tick and another was found in the car (?!).

IMG_6421 (555x416)Black Slate Falls.  A very nice little hike.

I read about a place called Little Mountain, where you can go up and see the Huron Mountains.  So I dragged the whole family up this mountain… and it wasn’t really an incredible view, but at least I got to see the mountains.  Hills.  Whatever.

IMG_6436 (416x555)Honestly?  NOT worth the climb.  We were seriously wiped.

The family was grumbling pretty heavy, by then, so when we headed out of L’anse and I wanted to see the Mitten Falls, I left them in the car and went to see them, myself.

IMG_6444 (468x555)On the side of the road, right at the fork in L’anse.

The drive up into the Keewenaw peninsula was pretty, right along the bay, and we got to see Mt. Arvon from there – the highest point in Michigan.  It definitely stood out, but was so far away, I won’t bother with a picture.  Then we went to Houghton, past Michigan Tech (“geek school”, to my ‘Big Hero 6’ loving kids), and went across the Houghton-Hancock bridge, just to say that we did.

03953Houghton-Hancock bridge.  A stock photo, since mine didn’t turn out.
We thought… now this is weird…03954But the whole middle section LIFTS to let boats through!

Then we found a place to have supper, got a hotel…
and crashed.  Because we’re getting tired.

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

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