the great north part 2

on the way back from Canada, we stopped in Sault Ste Marie to spend the last of our Canadian money on lunch. then we drove down to St. Ignace, which is the northern point of the Mackinac Bridge (in the U.P.). we hopped on a ferry boat and minutes later arrived on Mackinac Island. we didn’t have a place to stay because i’d tried to find something affordable and could find nothing for the 4 of us for under $250/night. we checked into the Inn where we stayed 2 years ago and they had a room with 2 queens available that night for $140. we took it. we then rented bikes and rode around the 8 mile island. keep in mind, only bikes, horses, and walking are allowed on this island.

the kids were loving it. they both got bigger bikes than they have at home and they both also got bikes with 21 gears (neither have gears at home). this opened up a whole new world to the kids and they now both want a new gear bike quite badly. we spent that first day biking and shopping. the second day we again rented bikes and first headed over to play real miniature golf (not on a course like putt-putt, but on greens like real putting).

we had fun then exploring the interior of Mackinac Island using our bikes. beautiful place:

after a nice long second day on Mackinac Island we hopped on the boat and then headed to Petoskey in time to eat a late dinner with Paula’s parents who had driven up to meet us in Petoskey. we also explored the lake shore looking for Petoskey Stones.

the next morning we headed over to play actual miniature golf (i ended up two over par, fwiw and JD had a hole-in-one). and then we enjoyed the lake and a picnic and the sunset.

Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan

the next morning we headed of to Charlevoix, Michigan. what a pretty place. and the main road through town is a draw bridge. we arrived just in time to go over it and then see it open up for the parade of yachts.

we had lunch in Traverse City along the Grand Traverse Bay and then took the leisurely route home. a wonderful little get away for just over a week.

The Great North

we took off for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Friday, July 31st early in the morning. 5 hours later and we were pulling into Paradise, Michigan where we’d stay. we had lunch and then ventured off to see the Tahquamenon Falls. the upper falls are huge and the water looks like root beer because of the underlying soil. we hiked a bit and even rented a rowboat to explore an island between the two lower falls.

we had a great dinner of fresh fish from Lake Superior and then headed to our cabin. our cabin was rented when we arrived so we got upgraded to a big house right on Lake Superior. IT. WAS. GORGEOUS! we had a fire pit so we made S’mores and enjoyed the sound of waves crashing into the shore. very pleasant.

the next morning we woke up early and headed off to Canada, specifically Wawa, Ontario. this was our home base for the next many days. however, on the way we had to drive through the Lake Superior Provincial Park (we were there just two years ago, fwiw). we hiked down to see the ancient wall paintings. the hike was fairly difficult for the kids, particularly after having been in the car for the past 5 hours. but they did swell.

it was about a 20 minute drive to our next hiking trail this day. on the way, the rain starting coming down and boy did it ever pour. we had to pull over because i couldn’t see the road and many other vehicles were doing the same thing. however, the rain lasted for only 15 minutes and then it stopped. when we started down the next hiking trail, it was completely soaked and we had the trail completely to ourselves. did i note how wet it was? but it didn’t rain on us during this 2 hour hike so that was nice.

we had a nice dinner back in Wawa and got all checked into our room for the night. early to rise the next morning for a day filled with fun. we rented a canoe and canoed in the largest lake in the interior of the Provincial Park — Lake .

it looked like rain much of the cold morning (started at 49 degrees before getting into the high 50s). but we stayed dry and canoed and explored around bays and islands . . . we even found a private little island for our lunch spot, which the kids thought was really neat (as bears couldn’t get us out on the island).

we decided to do our big hike that afternoon around Orphan Lake. this is a 4 – 5 hour hike and it’s not easy. the trial takes you way up high over Lake Superior and Orphan Lake:

and then it drops down all the way to Lake Superior with some neat waterfall area along the way:

everyone was a trooper and we managed to complete the hike in about 4 hours even though we took an extended break to relax and play on a waterfall (or the huge boulders that made the waterfall).

the next day we set out to enjoy Wawa in the morning. the kids mined for precious stones and gems (and found some):

we then ate lunch and then rented a canoe from a place right on Lake Superior and headed up river to our own private waterfall.

after that, we decided to head back for another decent hike. and that’s when we saw this guy, who was fortunately more scared of us:

the hike we were on was the toughest yet as it was going up a HUGE incline to cliffs towering above Lake Superior. but the views made it worth it and the clouds were coming in low to make the view even better.

the next post will be about part 2 of our trip.