Page 5 of MisterParks Travel Blog Posts

Middle of Lake Superior, Michigan We are moving along a nearly glass surface at about 15 mph. There is a split of land behind us, but absolutely nothing but wide horizon in front. You can kind of see where the lakewater meets the cloudy sky, but the colors are close to being the same. Water temperature out here is about 38 degrees. That’s according to the captain - I personally didn’t measure it. The air temp, especially with a 16 mph wind chill, is only around 40 degrees. People go outside to the bow of the boat to see the smooth lake, but they don’t stay very long. We’re on the Queen IV, a passenger ferry. It is one of three different boats that ferry passengers over to Isle Royale. Isle Royale, as the name implies, ... read more

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, Copper Harbor, Michigan We did indeed drive west and north, a total of about 180 miles. We took 28 west to around Marquette and then caught 41 and followed it all the way up to the very end of the road. We are at Copper Harbor, a small town at the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Lake Superior is less than a half-mile away. If you look at a map, the Keweenaw Peninsula is a fairly large peninsula that juts north off of the main Upper Peninsula. It is historically famous as a center for copper mining. It isn’t clear to me how much of that remains here, but I suspect we will find out more when we explore this peninsula next week. It is definitely still a logging area ... read more

Pictured Rock National Lakeshore, Munising, Michigan The only way to really see the Pictured Rocks is by boat. Whether a big cruise vessel or a small kayak, the breathtaking forms and colors are best seen from below looking out and up. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things to see on top of those bluffs and around the various beaches that make up the Lakeshore. Like all Lakeshores and Seashores we’ve been to so far, they are complex parks with both natural and cultural resources. (There is even a lighthouse in this park.). Of course all we can ever do is sample what a park has to offer, but we learned that there are great experiences here off the boat. At the far eastern end of the park is Great Sable Dunes, a sand dune ... read more

North America June 19th 2018

Munising Tourist Park Campground, Munising, Michigan As we approach the longest day of the year, it is very difficult not to notice how much longer they are at these latitudes. On the way up here we passed the 45th meridian, which means we are in the northern-most quarter of the globe. The sun seems to rise well before 5:00 AM, and set after 10:00 PM. Officially that isn’t true, but my body seems to want to wake up around 5:00 anyway. There seems to be more light for longer periods than further south. So things are kind of strange with our body clocks now for some reason. It didn’t help that day we took the sunset cruise. We were hungry after the boat ride, and so ordered a pizza to-go and took it back to the ... read more

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising, Michigan We began our exploration of this park yesterday with a bang - the Sunset Cruise, offered by Pictured Rock Cruises out of Munising, Michigan will be one of the all-time highlights of this trip. We knew this was highly touted as a good way to see this park, but we had no idea just how good it would be. Even though it was overcast the entire trip, the colors in the rocks came through just fine and the thrill of being next to, and in one case, right in them, was an invigorating experience. Yes, there are hikes through this park, but you won’t be able to see the majesty of these bluffs from on top of them - you have to be on the lake itself. (For more rugged ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Munising June 16th 2018

Tourist Park Campground, Munising, Michigan We made it to our fourth, and last, Great Lake. (We aren’t going to see Lake Ontario on this trip.) We spent some time on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Then we kind of drove around the edge of Lake Erie when we drove west from Cleveland and up into Michigan. After that we spent another week on the northeastern side of Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Yesterday we drove a little less than 300 miles up to what they call the Upper Peninsula - the part of Michigan that kind of looks like an accent mark above the glove. We first drove west to Traverse City and did some shopping. We were told that we were definitely going to need heavy ... read more

Platte River Campground, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Honor, Michigan When I think of a ‘Seashore’ or a ‘Lakeshore’ what immediately comes to mind is a sandy beach. We’ve been fortunate in our travels to see lots of them in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and California. On this trip, we’ve been on another beach on Lake Michigan, at Indiana Dunes down at the southern tip of the lake. But here we were on the last day of our stay at Sleeping Bear Dunes, and we had yet to actually walk the sands of the beach. So that’s what we did yesterday. We also realized that we hadn’t been able to spend much time with the girls, so decided to take them with us. There was a small, maybe half-mile section of the beach just down the ... read more

South Manitou Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Leland, Michigan I mentioned in an earlier post, how the two bear cubs drowned as they tried to swim across Lake Michigan with their Mother. After dying, their bodies bobbed to the surface to form what we know today as North and South Manitou Islands. These islands are an integral part of the park and to understand the park, and view it from a different perspective, a visitor needs to spend at least a day out here. Possibly you can get there by seaplane, but the usual method is by ferry boats which all leave from Leland, Michigan, a small fishing/tourist village north of the park boundaries. It isn’t a big ferry boat, but it seems that it is usually full up so reservations are a must. And, ... read more

North America » United States » Michigan » Glen Arbor June 14th 2018

The Villages, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire, Michigan If Monday was a day with Nature, yesterday we absorbed Culture. There are two ‘settlement’ villages in the park that are restorations of communities that existed starting in the 1800s. They are in the northern section of the park and we had to drive about a half-hour to get there. Our first stop was at the Maritime Museum at Glen Haven. This is a setting of a couple of buildings from the days of the U.S.L.S.S., one of the organizations that preceded the Coast Guard. The United States Life Saving Service was the organization responsible for responding to shipwrecks and attempting to save people. This is the organization that coined the motto, supposedly to promote bravery, ‘You have to go out, but you don’t have to come ... read more

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire, Michigan We’ve already been to several parks that focus on sand dunes, and each one has a unique twist. White Sands, in New Mexico, is made up of small grains of gypsum giving it the white color and keeping it from getting hot even in triple digit temperatures. Great Sand Dunes, in Colorado, has huge sand dunes nestled into the corner of a Rocky Mountain. Indiana Dunes, at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, serves as special place for the urban citizens of Chicago, Gary, and other industrial cities of the area. Here at Sleeping Bear Dunes, far from mountains and big cities, the dunes are unique because of how and where they were created - on the tops of glacial moraines. When the last glaciers began their retreat, 12,000 ... read more

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