Great Lakes 2005 – The 13th Day

Tahquamenon Falls

I hadn’t quite finished with the southern shore of Lake Superior and the highlights of the Upper Peninsula. Sault Ste Marie marked the turning point of my trip. From here I would drive south the following day and begin my return trip to Chicago.

Therefore I wanted to do some sitting in the plentiful sun and some staring out into the lake. So I drove west and stopped at Iroquois Point Lighthouse. Both the museum and the lighthouse itself are very well worth a visit.

On the beach

In the picture you can see the Canadian side of the lake at the horizon.

The Iroquois point Lighthouse in all its glory:

Iroquois Lighthouse

So close to the great locks of Sault Ste Marie, I occasionally watched one of the giant freighters which still run across the Great Lakes.

Freightship

The Whitefish Bay Point Lighthouse is very peculiar and seemingly very modern architecturally. In addition to the obligatory visit an extended walk was also called for. After which I stopped to recuperate on a strategically placed wooden bench.

Whitefish Point Lighthouse

Whitefish Point Lighthouse

In the end, the lazing around destroyed all my work ethic for the day and I wasn’t very keen anymore to visit the famous Shipwreck Museum. Perhaps I hadn’t been keen in the first place because I am not a fan of catastrophes staged like a Hollywood movie. Lake Superior is one of the most dangerous bodies of water on earth and the passage around Whitefish Bay Point seems to have taken a huge toll of human lives. The November storms are notorious and during such a storm in 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald, a so-called super freighter, fell victim to a particularly mighty breaker and sank with all hands. In almost every guide book you can read about the Edmund Fitzgerald and the horrible fate of her crew. In every museum and lighthouse, you can buy numerous books about this and the many other wrecked ships lying on the lake’s bed.

Another spectacle nature has on offer on the Upper Peninsula was next on my itinerary: The Tahquamenon Falls. The falls consist of Upper and Lower Falls and are among the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi (Niagara Falls obviously being much, much bigger ;-).

Tahquamenon Falls

The Tahquamenon Upper Falls are 20 meters high and over 60 meters wide. Ca. 50,000 gallons,( 200,000 litres)– of water rush over the edge in the rock every second.

Tahquamenon Lower Falls

To my very great chagrin, I had to give up on the hike from the Lower to the Upper Falls. There is in fact a trail of ca. 4 miles, i.e. a little over 6 km, but it is not in any way a boardwalk and such escapades are a little too reckless when you are on your own and don’t have a signal on your cell phone.

Tahquamenon Upper Falls

So I took the car to drive to the Upper Falls which are very impressive. The many fine, cool water droplets eddying through the air directly beside the falls were a welcome refreshment on top of the visual enjoyment.

The pictures show that the water is quite brown and that there is a lot of foam floating on the water at the base of the falls. This is not due to pollution, but to a high percentage of tannin in the water.

Tannin in the Water

With so many beaches, lighthouses and waterfalls on my schedule for the day, I had forgotten to find lunch in the heat of the many beautiful moments. Which actually happened quite often. So I had to get back to Sault Ste Marie as quickly as possible to tame the wild bear which had begun to growl quite distinctly in my stomach.

Lock

I got lucky directly beside the locks and was able to watch one or two freighters passing through. But more about this tomorrow – today I was so tired that I only wanted to hit my pillow as soon as possible.


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