Michigan Upper Peninsula: Day #3

Our last day in the Upper Peninsula started out with breakfast and checking out of our motel.  We had a big day planned.

First, we visited Presque Isle Park which is located on the northern edge of Marquette, MI, just north of Northern Michigan University (“presque-isle” is from the French meaning almost an island).  This is a lovely park right on Lake Superior.  There’s a 1,216 foot breakwater with a lighthouse at the end.


There is also an iron ore dock exactly like the one in downtown Marquette that is no longer in use. This dock was completed in 1912 by the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railway and is still in use today.


The dock is built of steel-reinforced concrete and is 1,250 feet long.  It is 75 feet tall above the water, 60 feet wide, and has 200 ore pockets with a storage capacity of 50,000 tons.  After the ore is mined, it is crushed and put through a process that results in it being rolled into small balls and fired in a kiln.

These balls are known as taconite pellets which are shipped by rail to this dock next to Presque Isle Park where rail cars dump them into bins within the dock.  Once a freighter is ready to be loaded, chutes from the ore dock bins are lowered into the cargo hatches, and a door at the bottom of the bin is raised. This permits the pellets to roll into the ship.  This would have been interesting to watch, but, unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to be there on a day that a ship was being loaded.

Next we followed a road through the park and stopped several times to enjoy the view.


Then we headed a few miles north of Marquette to Sugarloaf Mountain.  My teacher friend who grew up in this area, recommended hiking to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain to enjoy the stunning views.  It took us about 30-40 minutes to hike to the 1,060 ft. summit.  There were 311 stair steps to get to the top (on the “easy” path, of course!), but it was worth it.  Look at these spectacular views!


At the beginning of the hike, and all eager to go.


The trail gets steeper.


First view of Lake Superior.


GORGEOUS views all around us!


Top of the final set of stairs!



In the distance is Presque Isle Park. You can see the two smoke stacks that are close to the iron ore loading dock.


The lake is such a BEAUTIFUL color blue! Can you see that tiny island out there?



These two guys did NOT take the “easy” path that we took. I’m pretty sure they took the “more difficult” path. In this picture is one of the three platforms at the summit.


The main overlook platform.


I’m not sure Zoey enjoyed the beauty as much as we did.


I zoomed in so you could really see the smoke stacks.


Another one of the three platforms.


Ready to hike back DOWN the mountain. This should be easier.


Walking in the forest here is just GORGEOUS!


“Hurry up, Mom! We are almost to the car and I’m tired, hot, and thirsty.” Which one of these two do you think said that? 😆😂

After Sugarloaf Mountain, we returned to Marquette for some lunch.  We had planned to drive up to Copper Harbor.  After putting Copper Harbor in my GPS and seeing how long it would take to drive there, we decided it was too late in the day to do that much driving.  It would put us back at the RV too late at night, so we headed home.

All in all, we had a wonderful time in the Upper Peninsula and can’t wait to go back some day.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


Michigan Upper Peninsula: Day #2

Day two in the U.P. started out bright and early.  We took Highway 28 out of Marquette, MI, and headed east towards the town of Munising (pronounced:  moo-née-sing).  This highway was right along the shoreline of Lake Superior for quite a few miles.  It was a sunny, beautiful morning.  The temperature was perfect for exploring the coastline of Lake Superior and several waterfalls in the area.


We arrived at the town of Munising around 10:00 a.m. and made a quick stop at a gas station.  We talked to a nice man inside and asked a few questions about the area.  We took his advice and headed to Munising Falls first.  You walk a short trail with some bridges that cross the Munising Falls Creek several times.  There were several viewing areas and each provided a different angle from which to view the falls.


We left Munising Falls and drove about 30 minutes to Miners Falls.  The path to the falls was wide, fairly smooth, and very nice, but it was a little longer hike to get to the falls – like a half mile ONE WAY!  We couldn’t take Zoey (our dog) with us on this path ( didn’t understand why, but oh, well), so I hiked to the falls first while Jack and Zoey sat on a bench in the shade at the beginning of the trail.  He hiked to the falls while I RESTED with Zoey!  😆

The hike to Miners Falls was not too bad, and everyone I met who had been there and were going back to the parking lot said it was well worth the effort to get to the falls.  There were two platforms from which to view the falls.  Before I got there, I began to wonder if it was worth it, however, I think the pictures will prove how “worth it” it actually was!


Next, we drove about another 30 minutes to Miners Castle Overlook in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  It is America’s first National Lakeshore, and it’s located between Munising and Grand Marais, MI.  This National Lakeshore extends for 42 miles along the shores of Lake Superior and covers 73,236 acres.  Needless to say, we only saw a very small portion of this beautiful national treasure on our short visit.

Pictured Rocks gets its name from the 15 miles of colorful sandstone cliffs which reach up to 200 feet above the lake.  Years of erosion and weather have naturally sculpted a variety of shallow caves, arches, and formations, some of which resemble castle turrets and human profiles.

I really wanted to take one of the 2 hour Pictured Rocks cruises that boarded at the marina in Munising, however, they did not allow small dogs on the boats.  😞  I do understand why, but our Zoey is SO well behaved, not to mention so darn cute!  Oh, well.  Therefore, our view of the sandstone formations was limited to what we could see from Miners Castle Overlook and the areas we could hike to along the trails there.  It was beautiful, and I can only imagine how spectacular the views from the boat would have been.  Oh, well …. maybe another time.


This is from the main overlook platform at Miners Castle.



There is one of the Pictured Rocks Cruise boats.


This is from a different platform.


Can you see the two kayaks?


The water is such a beautiful color of blue!



That is the main platform at Miners Castle; the first one we stood on.


Can you find that main platform in this picture? We were on that WAAAAAY up high on that cliff!


Next we stopped at two smaller falls that were basically right along the road side.  Algers Falls WAS literally by the side of the road.  Wagner Falls was a very short walk from the road.  Both were very enjoyable.


Algers Falls.


Algers Falls.


Wagner Falls.


Wagner Falls.


Wagner Falls.


Look how the roots to these trees have grown even though this area is nearly all rock.


Wagner Falls.


Wagner Falls. See…isn’t Zoey cute?

After all that hiking, we were tired and hungry.  We headed back to Munising and decided to look for a place to eat that had outside tables because Zoey was with us.  That’s when we saw this sign.


I was told by a friend who grew up in the Upper Peninsula, that we needed to try a pasty (pronounced:  pass-tee).  It’s a folded pastry crust with a savory filling, typically of seasoned meat and vegetables.  We tried the beef pasty which had beef, potatoes, onions, rutabagas, and various seasonings.  It kind of reminded me of a pot pie, only without the gravy.  They were delicious!



Look at how flaky that crust is!

Now we were full, somewhat rested, and ready to make the drive back to Marquette. However, before we left Munising, we “stumbled” upon this little gem near Muldoon’s.


On the way back to Marquette, we stopped at this very unusual sculpture park called Lakenenland.  It is FREE and open 24/7, but I would advise you to go during daylight hours.  You can either walk or drive your vehicle through this place.  There are HUNDREDS of very unique, interesting, patriotic, and sometimes quite strange sculptures!  Here are just a few.  If you are up in this area, you HAVE to stop by and see this place!  Jack and I were VERY impressed by the creative ideas of this sculptor.


Sign you see from the road.



This is right after you drive through the entrance.


See the legs of the lady who fell in the pond?



This guy is close to the entrance.


You can see him from the road also.

Later that evening while watching a little television in our motel room, I looked at my Apple Watch.  It said we had walked a little over 5.5 miles!  Just knowing that made me ready to go to bed! 😂

All in all, we had a wonderful day exploring that area of the Upper Peninsula.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”


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