Every time we talked with someone in OH or MI about where we were going they said "You have to go to Pictured Rocks." I looked it up on the map and the problem was it was 2 hours from the two closest places we'd be. But then I realized that it was actually half way between Tahquamennon Falls and Van Riper so we made plans to stop on our way. Reservations made for midday (not the best for picture taking but the best for our schedule) we got going at our normal 10am time and immediately ran into traffic. Not a lot but enough that we began to worry about time so I called ahead and they graciously moved us to an hour later. It wouldn't make that much of a difference for our arrival at Van Riper because it was still light until quite late. The tour would be two hours and Phoenix could not come but the tour company provided kennels and she was scheduled to spend the time there. Cadbury would, as usual stay in the MoHo.
Pictured Rocks are along the shoreline of Lake Superior at Munising, MI.
We arrived then with plenty of time to walk both animals, pick up our tickets, settle Phoenix in the kennel full of barking dogs and then go wait in line. We were at the end of the line and I was sure we'd have to sit below but there were 2 seats available still on the top deck when we got in so we settled in next to a family that had grown up in the area, now lived in AL and were visiting their father and taking the trip for the first time.
The day had started out very cloudy and we wondered if i would rain but the clouds remained so, while not a beautiful day, it would be better for picture taking. We steamed out of the bay past Grand Isle onto Lake Superior and started down the coast. The rock formations were interesting and varied and cameras were a-clickin'... and then we started seeing the rocks with the stains that led to the name. Unbelievable. The minerals leach out and create stains which create patterns- manganese black; iron reddish brown; calcium white and copper blues and greens. None were the same combinations and all were stunning. And there were the rock formations them selves-towering pillars; caves-large and small; jagged edges-recalling Battleship Row; squat based pillars called Indian Drums; a ledge and cave called Lover's Leap. Even the trees were magnificent with one lone pine tree that extended its roots across a crevice to find nutrients in the soil that was not on the spot where the trunk grew. We continued along for about an hour, at one point pulling into a very high cave and being surrounded by rock and then turned around for the return voyage. By then the clouds had mostly cleared and the sky was a beautiful blue so the light had changed slightly, a bit of a wind had come up and we saw many of the formations from a new perspective. There were very few people on board who were not gobsmacked by the awesomeness of nature that day.
|The lighthouse on Grand Isle which is maintained by the residents|
After collecting Phoenix we got back on the road for the rest of the trip and away from the lakes to Van Riper State Park.