A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

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Tag: Michigan State Park

Kayaking to Turnip Rock

Turnip Rock from the Water

After our three weeks out west, we took the month of July off travel, but the first weekend in August, we headed out again! Five years ago, we took a trip to Michigan’s “thumb” with the hope to kayak to Turnip Rock. Well, the weather had other ideas for us, as it thunderstormed the entire weekend. Our camping set up at the time was inadequate, especially for that weather and overall, it was a miserable weekend.

Well, years passed and I still wanted to experience Turnip Rock, so I booked a weekend camping at Sleeper State Park. Our last time in the area, we stayed at Port Crescent, so this was a new campground for us. Sleeper is a big campground with a beautiful beach on the other side of the road. The campground is like most in the Michigan State Park system, with decent-sized, fairly wooded sites, but Sleeper is definitely missing that waterfront charm that Port Crescent has. If you are planning on camping in the area, I would recommend Port Crescent over Sleeper.

Kayak at Turnip RockWell, we woke up early on Saturday morning and headed to Bird Creek Park and inflated the kayak. It is a three-and-a-half-mile paddle along the shores of Lake Huron to get to Turnip Rock. The wind was at our back and we made great time getting to the rock formation. The way back was much more difficult. We were paddling into the wind and I swear the waves were bigger. The funny thing is when paddling on calmer bodies of water, my arms get tired and I need to take breaks. My adrenaline kept me going and I didn’t even feel tired until we got back to the car. I am very glad we didn’t try this five years ago because it was not an easy paddle and we didn’t have the experience back then that we have now.

The rock itself was smaller than I imagined it to be. It was very cool to see it, I’m glad we made the trek out there, but it looks so much bigger in pictures. As you can see below, there were already quite a few people when we got there. I can only imagine how busy it must get later in the day.

Turnip Rock

Something to note, Turnip Rock is located on Private Property. The only way to see it is by water. You are allowed to beach your boat and get out as long as you stay below the high water line. It is illegal to climb the rocks and the Point Aux Barques community that owns the land does prosecute for trespassing.

Turnip Rock is a very unique spot in Michigan and everyone should check it out, if you are able. If you are interested in Kayaking Turnip Rock, you can rent from Port Austin Kayak. It is a good idea to follow them on Twitter because they share the daily weather conditions. Even if you have your own kayak it is good to check with them because if PAK is not renting, it’s probably not safe to make the trek.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Snail Shell Harbor

Fayette Historic State Park

Old Fayette Hotel

Fayette Historic State Park has been on my radar for a while. Located on the Garden Peninsula, between Manistique and Escanaba on the northern shores of Lake Michigan, Fayette is an out of the way, under the radar, Michigan state park.

From 1867-1891, the town of Fayette was home to a bustling iron smelting operation. Big Bay de Noc has a naturally deep harbor making Fayette the perfect place for iron smelting. During its heyday, nearly 500 people called Fayette home. When all the lumber in the area was used up, the Jackson Iron Company shut its doors and the workers were forced to look for employment elsewhere.

Nowadays, visitors can tour the historic buildings and compare the living conditions of the laborers versus the superintendent. Check out the hotel with a door on the second floor that went to a two-story outhouse. Have lunch at one of the picnic tables in the old furnace complex.

Townsite from the Overlook Trail

Fayette also has a modern campground. We were in a site in the outside loop which was good sized and we discovered had a path out to the lake. The water level is high this year so there wasn’t much of a beach, but it was a beautiful place to take sunset photos. As I mentioned above, this park is off the beaten path, and in normal years, its pretty easy to get a site most weekends. Of course, it was full when we were there. The park is also home to 5 miles of hiking trails with beautiful views from the limestone cliffs overlooking Lake Michigan.

If you like history and beautiful Great Lakes waterfront, definitely add Fayette Historic State Park to your list. Be aware, the Garden Peninsula is mostly a farming community so there is not much else around except a couple of restaurants and a gas station. If you were looking for a hotel to stay at near Fayette, I would recommend staying in Manistique and driving down for the day.

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.

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