This is another reason why I love the U.P. so much. Towards the end of September, beginning of October (yeah, this post is long overdue), my Dad and I took three days to hike the the Pictured Rocks trail. The trail goes from Grand Marais to Munising (around 45 miles). As you can probably see from the pictures, we were, at times, right on the Lake Superior beach, and other times we were peering over cliffs some 1,500 feet above Lake Superior.
We left early on a Friday morning. Lucky for us, Stacey was headed back to Grand Rapids and was able to drop us off in Grand Marais. We averaged 15 miles a day, and landed in Munising on Sunday. Again, Stacey was on her way home from Grand Rapids and was able to pick us up. Though we expected (hoped) to see quite the variety of wildlife (bear, dear, etc), it turned out to be more of a bird-watching tour than anything. A hawk, a pair of falcons, an owl, a blue heron, and a Bald Eagle. Finally, while filling up our water bottles from a creek one morning, we did notice an unexpected visitor spying on us. A Marten. For a while, I couldn't figure out what the heck it was, as it was the first I've seen in the woods. If you haven't seen one, it looks like a cross between a fox and a weasel. I actually thought it was a fox at first (it was about as large as one) but then I saw it tear up a tree across the creek from us and peek its head around to watch us.) From its tufted ears, square face, and long body, my dad knew it was a Marten. Pretty cool. Another odd thing we saw was this old (1930's perhaps) Plymouth car abandoned in the woods. We just walked around a bend and it was there.
At times, the lakeshore was so isolated and deserted that you could walk on the beach, look for miles, and see nothing but the large green expanse of Superior and the reddish rock of the coastline. It was unbelievable. In some more remote areas, on the beach, their were actually remnants of old shipwrecks that had been washed up.
So, as I am nearing the end of my degree, only one more semester, you can probably see why I am so concerned with location. Stacey and I both really hope to stay where we are. But, it depends on whether or not I can get accepted into Northern's M.F.A. program. Other schools I have been checking out are either in Oregon or Montana or Wyoming. I don't think I could go south. I love the North Country. For now, though, I am not hiking as much. Instead, I am working on my applications, and writing samples, a letters and all the other fun stuff that goes along with applying to college. Hopefully, by doing this, I can stay here for another few years and enjoy the northern portion of our beautiful state.
So, next hike on the agenda: Isle Royale. I graduate on May 3rd (or somewhere near there), and Kevin and Teague (some of my friends that will also be graduating) and my dad and I plan on taking a week to do it shortly after graduation. For those that didn't know Michigan had a National park, Isle Royale is a National Park in the middle of Lake Superior, accessible only by boat or sea plane, and native to Timber Wolves and Moose. Stacey is going to Europe around May 17, so we're planning on going around that time.
I'll keep you posted (though, as you probably know, it may not be very timely).