Monday, October 31, 2011

Lake Leelanau, MI (north of Traverse City)

After Petoskey, I headed to Lake Leelanau, MI.  This city is about 22 miles North of Traverse City.  There were several places I wanted to go in Traverse City and I wanted to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

I had visited Sleeping Bear Dunes a couple of times before, but the only hiking I had done was the Dunes Trail.  I wanted to do other trails this time (and hopefully not as difficult as 3.5 miles on sand dunes).  I ended up hiking 2 smaller trails and walking a couple of miles around their scenic overlooks.

Above is the Dunes Climb!    It is the start of the Dunes Trail.  I didn’t walk up it this time, but had to stop to get a picture.

Some people walk up and slide down, others jump down like this kid!

lake_lee_sleeping_bear_dune1It’s a long way down this dune to Lake Michigan.  Some people do walk down.  In this area, there were several signs warning people that it could take a long time to walk back up and also that if they need help coming up (as in a rescue) it will cost $$$$. 

I stayed at Lake Leelanau RV Park, which is right on Lake Leelanau.  Early one morning, I kept hearing a lot of boats and I later found out there was a fishing tournament that day.  Next time I would probably stay at one of the state or national parks. 

One day, I drove to and up Old Mission Peninsula to Old Mission Lighthouse.  It was a nice drive that led to a nice hike – until the sleet started!!

The lighthouse was built in 1870.   I had just started down one of the trails when it started raining and then I realized it was mixed with sleet.  I didn’t hike very long, I headed back to the car!!

I visited Traverse City a few times.  One day I went to Gallery 55.  This is a “art and fine crafts”  gallery/store.  It is a great store.  I’m not much of a shopper, but I would visit it again when in the area.  I found out that the building it is in was originally a 19th century insane asylum.  One of the items I was interested in looking at was the Fordite Jewelry.  (Gallery 55 info on Fordite)  I like jewelry that isn’t common and really liked the idea of this recycled item! 

While in Traverse City, one day I saw this -

A cruise ship!  I didn’t think this was a common site, so I asked while at the Farmer’s Market and I was told that this was the first time in 4 years that one had been in this area.

From here, I headed down to Grand Haven, MI.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Petoskey, Michigan

After leaving the Upper Peninsula, I went to Petoskey State Park in Petoskey, MI.  This area is known for the Petoskey Stone. This is a fossil of a coral that lived 350 million years ago.  I found a few small ones.  Below is a picture of 4 small Petoskey Stones, 2 Horn corals and one rock with some type of coral fossil.

There is a great bike path that goes through Petoskey.  One day I went on a 22 mile ride and on another a 16 mile ride.  For part of the trip, it is right beside Lake Michigan and goes past the marina. 



An interesting sign along the bike trail close to Harbor Springs -

I’ve seen signs saying caution low planes, but never – Caution Jet Plane.  The bike trail went right beside the end of the runway.  I would hate to be on the path when a jet landed or took off!!

While in Wisconsin and Michigan, I have been intrigued by the black squirrels.  I saw them for the first time years ago, but they still amaze me.  They are fairly common in this area, but I am used to the gray squirrel.  I never got a good picture of one, but they look just like a gray squirrel, but are solid black. ( Wikipedia Black squirrel info)

One day, I drove to Charlevoix.  One of the reasons was to look at some homes.  I had read about the “mushroom” homes and I was curious about them.  Earl Young designed and built these homes starting in 1918.  These homes have become a tourist attraction in the area.  The first one I saw is called Half House.  I expected to see a hobbit or munchkin come out the door.  Some people call these “Fairy Tale” homes.

Mushroom house is below.  I read that some of the walls inside the house are 3 feet thick! 

Another of the homes was built with huge boulders.  I really liked this home. While it didn’t have a wavy roof like the others, I loved the use of the huge rocks.

Front view -


Rear View – (note the view of Lake Michigan)


This home is for sale, so if anyone has 1.25 million they want to give me I would gladly let you visit when you are in town!!!

On the way out of Charlevoix, I saw this -

At first I thought it was a building, but then I realized it was the Draw Bridge that was raised.  According to the locals, I was “bridged” (had to wait on the bridge).

Every morning I would walk in the park about 3.5 miles. A couple of mornings it was cool and there was dew on the plants on this sand dune. 


When driving or biking through Petoskey, I would pass the Bay View Association.  This area is a National Historic Landmark and is associated with the United Methodist Church.  Apparently in the late 1800’s this was started as a “camp meeting”. (Info on Bay View) All of the homes are Victorian and I enjoyed driving/riding around the area.  One of my favorites was this green home on a hill off the main street.

Some homes were small, some big, some white, some a bit more colorful -


Some sunset pictures taken from the beach, just a few sites down from my campsite.


Next I head to Lake Leelanlu, Mi, which is just North of Traverse City. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grand Marais, MI

As mentioned in a previous blog, I visited Grand Marais while staying in Munising and liked the area.  So I decided to go back for a few days.  I stayed at Woodland Park, which is right on Lake Superior.  This beach is known for it’s rocks – especially agates.  I found plenty of interesting rocks, but no agates! 

Another busy day!!!  Sitting at the beach, looking for rocks!  - Note the tan-line.  The “Z” comes from my Chaco Sandals, which I wear a lot!   Just up the beach from the campground is a huge white sand beach. 

An interesting RV pulled into the campground the day before I left.  I have never seen anything like this--


Just up the beach was Sable Dunes and Sable Waterfall (pictures posted in my Munising – part 1 Blog).   The hike to the waterfall from the campground was nice, since part of it was on the beach and part in the woods. 

While in Grand Marais,  I went on another hike in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  This time to White Pine Trail.  I enjoyed the hike and the destination was one of the prettiest beaches that I have seen. 

Beautiful white sand, with rocks (and shade) on one end of the beach. 

I also did the short hike to Au Sable Lighthouse.  While walking around the lighthouse and buildings, I meet a couple that had lived very close to where I grew up.  Small World!!


On the hike, there were several side trips to the lake.  There have been several shipwrecks in this area. 


One of the big reasons for the wrecks is the rocks that go for quite a distance from the shore. 

The campground is a very short distance from the town.  I rode my bike to town, around town and to the Coast Guard Station several times.  It was less than 10 miles to do all of that.  On the ride I passed an interesting Winnebago. 

This was my last stop in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  So one last picture of the rocks at the beach!

Curtis, MI

My next stop was Curtis, MI.  I stayed at Log Cabin Resort and campground on Manistique Lake.   When staying at campgrounds you never know what type of laundry room they may have (if they have one).  Some are like mini laundromats, while others just have a few machines in a small room.  Sometimes the machines are a bit old, sometimes new.  In this case, the machine is a Maytag, but was a bit old - 

Looking on-line, it appears that this is a 1940’s wringer washer.  Ok, I admit this was actually just outside the laundry room!!

My main reason for coming here was I wanted to visit Seney National Wildlife Refuge.  While I finally saw some Loons a few weeks ago, I wanted to see and hear more.  I visited Seney NWR 4 times during the week I was in Curtis and saw Loons each trip.  I also saw Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, an eagles nest and other wildlife.

Seney in the morning -


Loon -

Trumpeter Swans -

Swans and Loon -

On an early morning visit to the wildlife refuge, many spider webs were dew covered. 

An American Bittern (I think!) -


I took a day trip up to Tahquamenon Falls state park (rhymes with phenomenon). 

Tahquamenon Falls -

While in Curtis, I drove back up to Picture Rocks and hiked the same part of Lakeshore Trail. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Munising, MI - part 3 - Pictured Rocks Lakeshore Trail

While in Munising, I decided to hike part of the Lakeshore/North Country Trail.  I hiked from Miner’s Beach to Mosquito Beach, I think it is 6 – 7 miles round trip.  It is a fairly easy hike.  Basically level on the cliffs overlooking Lake Superior.  The only non-level sections were climbing up the cliff and back down to Mosquito Beach and then back up and down when headed back to Miner’s Beach. 

The trail starts off with rocks, trees and ferns.  Then the trail gets closer to the Lake.  This part of the trail has several side trails that lead to good views of the Picture Rocks Cliffs.



After going down the cliff to Mosquito Beach, I spotted this driftwood hut.    The next 3 pictures were taken from my lunch spot at Mosquito Beach. 




The above is me being lazy.  I’m sitting on a rock at Mosquito Beach eating lunch, enjoying the great view!!


The stairs/ladder leading back up the sand dune to get back to the trail looked strange, but was a big help in climbing up!

I enjoyed this 6 – 7 mile hike (round-trip) so much that I went twice!

My next stop was Curtis, MI which is only a little over 50 miles from Munising.