Tag: road trip (Page 1 of 3)
When planning our trip to Door County, I kept hearing that we HAD to check out Cana Island Lighthouse. The Cana Island Lighthouse is the most iconic lighthouse in the area and is a popular tourist attraction even during Social Distancing in 2020.
The name Cana Island Lighthouse implies that it is not on the mainland. You can’t drive to it and you don’t take a boat to it. Instead, you leave your car at a parking lot in Bailey’s Harbor and ride a haywagon pulled by a tractor over the water to the island. Obviously, this practice was started before the Great Lakes water levels were as high as they are today. Our driver told us the deepest spot she droves us through was three feet deep this summer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never ridden a wagon over water before so I thought this was super cool.
You can also walk/wade out to the lighthouse. If we had more time in Door County and proper footwear, we probably would’ve done that. As we were leaving, we watched a family wade across the water to the visitor’s center with the children splashing the way.
Being 2020, we were not able to go inside the lighthouse and maybe that is why the lighthouse was not as impressive as everything I had read in advance said it would be. Maybe I’ve been to too many Great Lakes lighthouses. But, that was my first time riding a tractor across Lake Michigan and that was super fun!
If I was in Door County again, I would definitely visit Cana Island again. I will have to go back when the lighthouse is open for climbing. I have heard that the view from the top is unbeatable. Maybe we will be brave and walk across the water. If the water levels keep rising, they are going to have to trade that tractor in for a boat.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Great Lakes Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Door County, Wisconsin has been on my list of places to visit since I first discovered it when I was in college. I quickly realized that from Michigan, its not the easiest place to get to and it got pushed to the back burner. But, this summer when we were planning to visit the far western end of the U.P., it finally made sense to visit Wisconsin’s peninsula in Lake Michigan.
The Door Peninsula is the easternmost part of Wisconsin and separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan. This is a very popular vacation destination for people from the Chicago area as well as other parts of Wisconsin. This area is home to several lighthouses, several historic sights, and plenty of freshwater for water sports.
When planning to camp in Door County, there are five state parks to choose from: Newport State Park, Peninsula State Park, Potawatomi State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park, and Rock Island State Park. Rock Island State Park was closed this year due to high water levels. We were late to the game planning this trip and there was one spot open at Peninsula State Park so that made the decision pretty easy.
Peninsula State Park, located north of Fish Creek, is the most popular park in the Wisconsin State Park system. This is a huge park with over 460 campsites, a golf course, beach, lighthouse, and miles of trails to explore. This is a popular sunset viewing location. I loved watched the go down each night over Green Bay. I felt like the two nights we had to explore here where nowhere near enough.
The rustic campsites in the Tennison Bay campground were some of the nicest we have seen. The sites were wooded and very private and for the most part it was a quiet and calm campground. Even though 2020 was a big camping summer and the campground was full, it felt like we were the only people there.
The way the Wisconsin State Park service handled COVID left something to be desired. A few days before we arrived we received an email saying the bathrooms may or may not be open; showers may or may not be available. And the kicker, we had to buy an annual state park pass even though we were only going to be there two days (day passes are not sold this year). We were already several days into our trip at this point and considered completely changing our plans because of this. We are tent campers, we need bathrooms and I have no interest in carrying around a portable toilet. Luckily, when we got to the park, the bathrooms were open and clean, but there was not a single ranger to be found. So, I’m really glad I bought that annual pass that no one even looked at.
Overall, I would return to Peninsula State Park. There is still a lot of that park left to be explored. I just wish they I didn’t have to buy an expensive, out of state, annual park pass that I used for two days.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out our Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Bond Falls is one of the most popular and iconic waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula. Located East of Paulding, the falls, located on the middle branch of the Ontonogan River, are definitely off the beaten path, but people still flock to see them. At 50 feet high and over one hundred feet wide, this is one of the largest waterfalls in Michigan. Many Yoopers consider Bond Falls better than the mighty Tahquamenon. The water level is controlled by a dam, so the volume of water is pretty consistent throughout the year.
With wooden boardwalks around the falls, this waterfall is one of the most accessible I’ve been to. While Agate Falls involved a strenuous hike, the trails around Bond Falls are only half a mile long. Additional trails go off the boardwalk if you are looking for a more rugged experience.
Bond Falls is one of those places that I have wanted to visit since I first saw a picture of it and it did not disappoint. It is in the perfect spot going from Porcupine Mountains to Wisconsin. We visited pretty early in the morning, so we pretty much had the place to themselves, which at an outdoor site in 2020, that is pretty special.
With the high water levels of the great lakes, the water level at Bond Falls is high too. Some of the boardwalks were wet and others were beginning to be under water. Now, if you plan to visit at a warm time, just make sure to wear shoes you wouldn’t mind getting wet. If you are going to visit when it is cold, keep an eye on the trail and watch out for ice.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, visit my Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
The observation tower atop Summit Peak is the highest point in Michigan at close to 2,000 feet above sea level. The hike is less than a mile round trip but with a 223 ft elevation gain, the half a mile hike to the tower is nothing to sneeze at. The hike to the tower is uphill the whole way, and let me tell you, my legs felt it. Luckily, there is a bench at the top to rest before climbing the stairs to the observation tower.
From the top of the tower, you can see the many hills of the Porkies as well as the crystal clear Lake Superior waters. On a clear day, you can see Isle Royale and the Apostle Islands from up there. It really is a beautiful place to stop and take in the magestic beauty that is the Upper Peninsula.
Once you make it to the top of the tower, the hard part is over. You can breathe easy as you hike almost a half-mile back to the parking lot, waving to the out of breath hikers you pass. While one of the shortest hikes in the park, Summit Peak is not for the faint of heart. We passed a few people contemplating whether or not they would be able to make it to the top.
As I mentioned in a previous Porcupine Mountains post, if you are not an avid hiker, you are going to want to train for your trip to The Porkies. The Lake of the Clouds Overlook and the Preque Isle trails are fairly easy, but some pretty intense hiking is required to see the rest of the park. Almost all of the trails in Porcupine Mountains are rated either moderate or difficult, according to All Trails. A backcountry hiking trip is really the best way to fully see the park, but of course, backpacking is not for the faint of heart.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our summer road trip, check out my Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Located 25 miles from the Union Bay area, the Presque Isle area of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is like a whole different park. This section of the park is home to three waterfalls: Manabezho Falls, Manido Falls, and Nawadaha Falls. A moderate hike of about two and a quarter miles will take you to these three falls.
These picturesque falls are all on the Presque Isle River and the water flows from up in the Porcupine Mountains and it wears down the rocky bedrock as it travels into Lake Superior. As in the case of what is known as “the potholes”, the swirling water has cut half circles out of the rock and is really interesting to watch from above on the rope bridge.
My one complaint about the area is that with all the foliage, the various falls can be difficult to see from the observation areas. You can’t even really see Nawadaha Falls on the parking lot side of the river. There are signs all over telling you to stay on the path and if they really want people to do that, they should trim the trees that block the views from the platforms (see the large leaf in the above photo of Manido Falls). If people see the falls from the viewing areas, they are much less likely to go off the path and do something unsafe to get that photo.
When you get to the Presque Isle section of the park, there are a few different parking areas so you don’t have to hike the full 2.3 miles to see these waterfalls. There are three different parking areas and the one closest to the ranger station allows for ADA accessible viewing of Nawadaha falls. The rest of the falls do require some stair climbing to get to view. This is one of the most accessible parts of the Porcupine Mountains because you don’t have to climb any mountains to see these waterfalls!
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out our Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Located in Greenland, Michigan about half an hour from Porcupine Mountains is the Adventure Mining Company. Visiting Adventure Mine is, well, an adventure! With no electric lights or modern conveniences, a tour through the mine is like stepping back in time and experiencing what it was like to work as a copper miner in the 19th century.
The Western upper peninsula is known as Copper Country because from the mid-1840s through the 1960s, the area was the world’s largest copper producer. The copper found in this region is known as “native copper” because it is found in a metal form where it is found as copper oxide or sulfide in other copper mining regions and has to be chemically separated to be used.
Our tour guide pointed out how to spot the copper in the rock walls and demonstrated how 19th-century miners would have excised it from the surrounding rock. Removing the copper from the rock was a time-consuming process and with copper being less valuable than gold, most mines in the copper country actually operated at a loss. The metal is right there and on this tour, we were able to touch it, but there are no operating copper mines left in the area. The chemical means of mining that I mentioned earlier are much cheaper.
I should mention that the symbols painted on the wall of the mine on the top photo are not historic or important in any way. At one time, the mine was rented out to film a movie and that was added by the film crew. During our tour, our guide pointed out many relics that were left behind from the film. I don’t remember what the movie is called, but it is for sale in the gift shop, although our guide described it as terrible.
Interestingly, even when it was an operating copper mine, the mine we visited was known as Adventure Mine. Seems like a strange name for a mine, but it is a great name for what it is now. Adventure Mine offers a tour known as the miner’s tour that allows daring guests to rappel down a mine shaft and cross a swinging rope bridge. Chris really wanted to do this tour, but with only a few days in the Porkies, we didn’t have the three hours to spare. Instead, we did the hour and a half long Prospector’s tour. If you are in the Ontonogan area, I highly recommend you check it out and if you’re up for it, do the Miner’s Tour!
Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.