As I sit and reminisce of our week long trip to the UP of Michigan, I think of all the things we saw and did. As I said in the last post I believed all I was going to see was a ribbon of asphalt cutting thru an endless forest of trees. The endless trees were nowhere to be found. Is it because I am older or that I was the driver? But I found plenty of things to see as we headed to Au Train, Michigan. The first four hours we traveled from home to Green Bay. We needed to make two short stops, first at our daughter’s home to get a few things and the second stop at a friends place to drop off our camper because on our way home we will stop by his place for a party he calls Russfest. After a short stop in Green Bay, we met up with our daughter Beth and her husband Paul. We filled our vehicles with gas we headed north to Au Train.
The first two hours we hugged the western shore of Green Bay. Every so often we would get glimpse of the open water and Door County lying in the distance. We made a stop in Gladstone, Michigan. There was a small lighthouse in the distance that called us to take a break from all the driving. We took advantage of the views and the cool breeze coming off the bay. We talked about dinner and how long of a drive to Au Train remained. My GPS said we were 56 minutes from Au Train. My daughter’s GPS said we would get to Au Train at 7 pm and by our watches that was 2 hours away. How could that be? That was an hour difference. There it hit me, when we crossed the Wisconsin- Michigan state line we changed time zones. So we made the decision to eat in Gladstone. We drove to the downtown area and found a little pizza joint and ordered a pizza and enjoyed the taste of Gladstone.
Back to the cars for our finale hour of travel. We were going to be cutting across the UP from Gladstone to Au Train. We wound our we thru the Hiawatha National Forest and came to our resort for our weeks stay. We got ourselves checked in and headed across the road to our cabin where we would call home for the next week. We unpacked our cars and went down to Laurel’s cousins cabin and said our greetings. Laurel’s cousin and her family traveled from Vermont to the family reunion via the Canadian route. Laurel’s one sister was also there. They were all sitting down to dinner, but they welcomed us to stay and we all started talking about our travels and how everybody was doing. Then we started talking about our game plan for seeing the area and what was on everybody’s must see list. So off to bed and we got a good nights sleep so we could hit the ground running.
Sunday morning Beth and Paul went for a morning walk up the road. The road lead them to Lake Superior which was only a mile and a half away. On their way back there was a small store selling pasties. (pasties is with a short “a”) They stepped in to find out what a pasty was. Pasties are a old fashioned “hot pocket”. The pasties are filled with meat, potatoes, carrots, rutabagas and onions. Most people make their pasties with a pie crust but this place made their with filo dough. Pasties were made many years ago by the wives of mines as a hot lunch meal that was equally filling. They bought one and headed back to the resort so we could head out to explore the waterfalls of Alger county.
We pulled out the waterfall map and plotted a course of action. First stop would be Scott Falls located just off Highway 28. So we made our we down the road bank to Scott Falls. It was located just a few yards off the busy highway. I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures for a week. FYI- at the end of the week I had taken over 800 photos. It’s a good thing they are digital or I would need a small loan to develop all the photos. Scott Falls was a small trickle of water falling 15 feet into a pool of water below. I took photos of the falls by its self then several photos of us posing and goofing around the falls. After 10 minutes we loaded back up in the car and off to our second waterfalls Au Train Falls.
Above is a picture of Laurel at Au Train Falls. This is the upper falls and you have to “Billygoat” your way to the falls. It was a steep drop to the bottom and wet feet to the vista of the falls. It was worth every step! After a few minutes and several photos we made our way back to the top and headed to the lower portion of the falls. This was a much easier walk and still worth our time. We took in the sights of the lower falls and took some more photos. We headed off to the third falls of the day.
Onward to Rock River Falls. We pulled out the map and headed down the back roads of Alger County. As we drove down the county road we reread the directions and saw it said to turn down a fire road and drive three and a half miles. The fire road is two dirt ruts carved out of the forest. I started asking myself what would happen if we met another vehicle coming the other way. There was no room to pull over, but we pushed on. We were all joking about how far from civilization we were. We all said we could hear banjos in the distant, so keep driving. All the sudden we spotted a vehicle in our rear view mirror. Not a car but an UTV 4-wheeler out for a afternoon cruise. Then came our worse fear, a car in the opposite direction. I told Beth to pull car over as far as possible so the two of you could pass one another. As she did the wheels of her vehicle dropped off the edge of the road. Now we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere! The UTV pulled around us and stopped. A big guy with a big white beard out jumped to give us a hand. I got behind the wheel of the car and put it in reverse and punched the gas. As the car picked up speed I turned the wheel slightly and jumped the car back on the road. We were back on our way to the falls. We found our next fire road and turned down that road and traveled another three quarters of a mile. We found the parking area and now it was time to hike. Another couple arrived at the same time and joined us on our hike to the falls. The hike was three quarters of mile on a downward grade. I over heard the other couple comment ” If it was only us, I think we would of turn back.” I’m sure many people never see Rock River Falls, but only in photos. The travels and hike were worth the effort. After more photos and exploring of the falls we were back on the trail to our car and took the long drive on fire roads back out of the forest.
We got back to our resort and met up with the other family members and shared our stories of the day. We also planned out the next day and asked each other if they wanted to join in our activities.
I will post more stories and photos in part II.