Great Lakes 2005 – The 12th Day


Today I continued my trip eastwards.

Before leaving Munising, a name which comes from the American-Indian word ”Mewnising“ which means something like ”place of the island“, I wanted to visit the Munising Range Lights.

Unfortunately, I only managed to see the Front Range.

Munising Light

Moreover I had read very promising things about Munising Falls. In the end, the falls are comparatively moderate especially the quantity of water, but the water does fall from a considerable height. The visit is worthwhile in any case because the walk through the woods is very easy due to the boardwalk and the surroundings are very beautiful.

The walk to Munising Falls....

Walk to Munising Falls

... the waterfall...

Munising Falls

... and the stream in the morning sunlight.

The stream

After that, I embarked on the most serious adventure of my trip, especially in hindsight. Everything started out quite harmlessly as I drove along Country Road H58 through the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore State Park. At first the road was impeccably paved. But then the fun stopped and I learnt what the term:- ”unassisted dirt and gravel road“ translates to in reality. On the picture you can see an example of a ”dirt and gravel road“ although the H58 is admittedly much wider.

Dirt and Gravel Road

But where is the adventure you might ask. Quite simple: With my town car (do any Chevrolets have front-wheel drive?) I would have got stuck for sure even if there had been only a few drops of rain. And I didn’t have any signal on my cell phone up there either. Perhaps some friendly American guy in one of these giant trucks (which in most cases seem to be rather exaggerated to a European eye) would have come to my rescue. As it was, they could happily content themselves with uncomprehending shakes of the head at what the stupid townie wanted out there in the Wild (?) West in her tin can on 4 wheels.

So I crawled along at ca. 10 miles per hour and sent some fervent prayers up into the sky at regular intervals. "Please, please don’t break down little blue town car.” And suddenly I thought, “Boy that guy there does have large, projecting ears!“… and just braked in time for a deer! That animal looked at me without much sympathy as it toddled off into the brush-wood. Obviously, it warned its friends to stay clear of the road for which I was seriously grateful! ;-)

In any case, I was very happy when I finally reached Hurricane River Campground. There you will find the start of a short walk to the most remote lighthouse I have ever visited: Au Sable Lighthouse.

Au Sable Lighthouse

As expected, the view from the lighthouse was absolutely terrific. Even my next stop could be seen from here: the Sable Dunes Falls and the Grand Sable Dunes.

View from Lighthouse

Both the waterfall and the dunes can be explored by following a path which is in part a boardwalk.

Grand Sable

The dunes are of the wandering type which becomes obvious from the dead trees which have been covered at some time but have reappeared as dead wood, years later.

Grand Sable Dunes

After so much excitement, fresh air and exercise, I was very hungry and would have been satisfied with everything and anything on offer in the next village called Grand Marais. Luckily, Grand Marais had much to offer on the culinary front: By coincidence I found a really old fashioned diner which is vintage through and through. From the outside, it looks as if somebody has taken a bus from the 1960s and glued it to one side of a house. The entire interior is vintage, too. The food was excellent and for the first time in my life I was served homemade lemonade. With those temperatures, a truly heavenly experience!

Grand Marais Diner

My waitress who was also the cook as it turned out was very, very kind and readily answered all my curious questions  Although not many people live in this area, there are still lots of houses and I had been asking myself how everyone earned a living. The lady in the diner confirmed that there aren’t many jobs but tourism has become more and more important and many residents are retired. Many houses are used only during summer which is understandable considering the very harsh winters.

Grand Marais Bay

For the remaining part of today’s journey, I remained very staidly on the highway. After all, you shouldn’t challenge your fate more than once a day!

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