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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lessons Learned at Twelvemile Beach

I'm back home now, hiding inside in the air conditioning to escape the July heat and humidity.  But I still have pictures to share from my long weekend getaway to the Upper Peninsula.

The size of the campsites at Twelvemile Beach were generous, and I really like when campgrounds have tent pad areas so I don't have to hunt around for a flat spot not infested with ants to set up.

I kept hoping I'd see some wildlife, a deer or maybe at least hear or see sign of bear.  But the only visitor I had was a rabbit.  I solved the no shower thing by taking a freezing dip in Lake Superior in my running shorts and washed my hair with cold water from the faucet.  It was worth it after not washing it for three days!  But I learned that shower facilities are maybe more important than I thought they were.

The campground is above the beach, but there is a stairway going down for easy access.  The sites on the beach side are $16, but I set up on the other side for $14 because the beach ones were all gone.

campground hiding behind the trees from the beach

The campground is not set up for larger units, the road is kind of narrow and the sites aren't very deep.  If you want to come just for the beach or to access the North Country Trail there is a separate parking lot and it's definitely more easily accessed from the main highway than Beaver Lake was.

Lake Superior is not really a swimming lake, the water is COLD.  Remember the severe winter we had in 2014 that led to there still being ice floes in the lake in Munising when we visited before?  Well, that meant that the temperature of the water didn't get above 40F until August last year.  This year the water is about 4 degrees warmer.  It was great after hiking, like using an icepack while still being able to walk.

When I went down to the beach on my last night to watch sunset I had to wrap up in a blanket.  Not because it was cold, but because the biting flies were still after me.  Some other folks were wearing bug net stuff.  When I saw folks buying those at the visitor center my thought was if things were that bad my plan is just to go home.  As it was I left a day early because I couldn't take it anymore, and the NPS got to keep $14 dollars and hopefully still rent my site out to someone else.

At sunset I wasn't the only photographer.  People were out goofing around trying to get those shots where the sun looks like it's balanced on the palm of their hand.

One young lady had her parents get out in a canoe and paddle around with the sun setting behind them.  I assume she had the right set-up of lenses and whatever else she needed to get the look she had planned out.  This is all I got with my 40mm lens, I didn't think to bring my zoom, which I really should have done.

When I walked along the beach earlier in the day some little girls were busy digging a hole.  When I asked what it was for their mom said they wanted to "plant a tree".  They succeeded and a huge piece of driftwood stood proudly where the family sat watching the sunset.

When I left the next morning I headed to Escanaba on Lake Michigan and was relieved to find it free from biting flies.  If you're heading to the U.P. in the summer I guess the lesson learned here is stick to Lake Michigan and save lovely Lake Superior for spring and fall.


  1. We were in and around Superior in June and had no bug problems at all. The only bugs we had anywhere in the Great Lakes were at the Tequamenon Falls SP. Horrible mosquitoes. We too left early. They were even in the RV by the hundreds. Love your sunset with the canoe shot and the one of you wrapped up in the blanket. That will be a memory for sure. You are quite a trooper!

  2. Nice evening light capture on your third pic. And great sunset shots too. They were worth getting all wrapped up in that blanket.

  3. Heck, that's the one horrible thing about summer ... the biting insects that will not leave us alone! I recall kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico with my husband a few summers ago, and my brother along to take pictures of us with St Marks Lighthouse in the background. Just as we got situated in the water, the biting flies descended! REALLY hard to sit still in a kayak when you're slapping yourself silly from the flies biting the crap out of us! None of us lasted long. Like you, we had to give it up. Sigh ...

    You're brave to dip into the lake! But I understand how good it must've felt after working up a sweat!