NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Moseying and Munching in Munising

Hiking is a bit different in Munising than other destinations I tend to prefer.  Mostly you're looking at the fairly flat North Country Trail which I took part of the way from Miners Castle to Sand Point.

This section is carpeted with spring wildflowers in May, but at the end of July it's full of ferns and this other bloom I'm not familiar with.

A little less than 1/2 mile in there was an overlook.  Watch your step, you don't want to be famous for falling off the cliff into that turquoise water.

A very careful look around at the rock edge revealed lots of orange lichen enjoying the views too.

While I was standing there munching on raspberries from the bushes on the sunny exposed ledge I noticed someone else enjoying the view.

Also on the trail were a couple of does and a couple of these fliers who were better at posing for pictures than the ladies were.

 The next evening I went to the other end and headed from Sand Point to points east.  The spur trail to the North Country Trail is about 8/10 mile long.

lichens love the sandy soil

This is the section of trail where the mosquitoes were hanging out because even though there was lots of sand to the north there was nothing but bog to the south of the path.  It should be named the Berry Country Trail instead, blueberry bushes ran the length of it for at least 1/2 mile, but they'll take another week to mature.  Also making an appearance were a few early Bunchberries (Crackerberries to you Newfies!) which I crunched into just to say I did and some Wild Sarsaparilla berries.

Tempting as they were to the eye, my research tells me that while they are technically edible they are astringent and can cause sickness in some instances.  However the leaves apparently make a nice tea but I didn't bring a kettle in my fanny pack so I'll have to trust the internet on that one.

Since so much of the trails here are flat I took the presented opportunity after 3/4 mile to climb the stairs up to the clifftop and the junction with the North Country Trail.  Mosquitoes chased me and I was not up to the task of staying ahead of them for 99 steps that were awkwardly placed as if for someone 7 feet tall.  Or maybe for a Wendigo?

I love the colored sand at Sand Point!

The NCT looked the same as it had where I left off the other day so I just scampered back down to the beach and splashed the cool water of Lake Superior on my arms and face to wash away the heat and sweat that were attracting the pesky mosquitoes.

Back at the campground I was at a loss for what to do so I pulled out my colored pencils and coloring book.  Turns out I bought the watercolor pencils instead of the waxy ones which isn't very productive when the paper is too thin to get wet.  Guess I'll be buying some more pencils, and maybe some watercolor paper?  Who knows.

I don't talk about what a gal does about feeding herself when she's scooting around with her tent in the back of her car.  Mostly my meals consist of some combination of items shown above with the occasional chocolate or cupcakes thrown in to keep me at menopausal weight.

But since I'm on Lake Superior I couldn't resist buying some fresh whitefish which meant I had to go to Shopko and buy a one burner propane stove and a small frying pan.  Not a bad deal for under $40 including the two bottles of propane.

And so today I got to eat something freshly cooked for lunch, and I'm wondering if I can make that pan work for toast?  I do have jam in the cooler after all.....

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Big-Sea-Water - Miners Castle to Miners Beach

Here's a map of the area I'm in right now, mostly I plan to stick to this section while I'm here.  Munising Tourist Park and the town of Christmas are pictured at the bottom left.  I plan to try to get to Grand Island on Monday if the weather looks good.

Before heading back to my crowded overflow tent site the other day I drove out to Miners Castle for the obligatory sunset view.  It's a pleasant half hour drive from Munising Tourist Park to the site, and since I was a few hours early I took the path to Miners Beach.

Walking along the North Country Trail is always fairly easy going but there is a hill to navigate down to the beach.  If you're wearing sneakers like I was just take your time.  Flip flops not recommended!

The birch bark lit the path, the breeze occasionally stirred past their trunks, the sandy path muffled my footsteps and for a while I felt like I had the woods and the Big-Sea-Water beyond them all to myself.

Miners River makes its way along the path as you get closer to the beach and is a good place to catch Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass.

Where the river meets Lake Superior I ducked through a tunnel of bushes that were just starting to bloom, enjoying their sweet fragrance and thankful they weren't attracting any bees...

As I emerged onto the sand I saw blueberry bushes lining the top of the dune!  The ones in the woods weren't even starting to make berries yet but the sun makes a difference and I stopped every few steps to grab another 5 or 6 ripe ones as I made my way along.

I skipped the beach for the time being and continued along the North Country Trail, seeing great views ahead down Miners Beach.

Once I finally made my way down there I soaked up the sun and sounds of the water hitting shore.

Heading back I passed families splashing in the waves and strong young men hauling kayaks out of the water.

Once I got caught too close to the water I gave it up as a lost cause and just walked in the water where the sand was firmer.  Before heading back up to Miners Castle I had to stop and empty the sand out of my drenched shoes though.

Even with my dallying I was still a bit too early for that late day light at Miners Castle but after all that walking in the sand I was ready to call it a day.  For comparison, here's a shot with my iPhone:

And here's one I took from the same spot in 2014 with my DSLR:

I sure miss my camera.  At first it was nice not carrying around the extra weight, but I'm starting to appreciate that it's worth the sacrifice to get the shots I want!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

From Oconto to Munising

I stayed at my usual stop at Oconto City Park in northern Wisconsin thursday night for only $10.  No showers but a flush toilet and sink are across the street down by the beach.  And the waters of Green Bay were a good substitute to get cleaner and to get cooler at the end of a hot day.

There were a few kids swimming but I walked through the waters, getting pretty good resistance between the water and the squishy sand.  I paced back and forth as the sun set, wearing out my muscles before bedtime and only giving the bay back to nature when the pink disappeared and the Canada Geese came in for a landing.

The next morning I was up just after sunrise and back on my way up to Munising, Michigan where I was hoping to get a weekend campsite without a reservation.  I tried Bay Furnace USFS campground first, but they were full, so I settled for an overflow site at Munising Tourist Park instead.

Now that I was all set up the question was what to do before it got too hot?  A short hike to two lesser known falls instead of braving the crowd at Munising Falls sounded like a plan.

There are a lot of falls in the area thanks to exposed bedrock in the ravines and along the shore here.  Walking in the shade of the woods instead of under the direct midday sun doesn't suck either.

Tannery Falls, or also called Memorial Falls, took me a whole 3 minutes to hike to.  Can't beat that.  It can be accessed by parking just off the road where it splits to go down to Munising Falls.  Then cross the highway and you'll see the trailhead at the edge of the woods.

The falls is a charming one with a 40 foot drop.  I got better photos with my iPhone than with my Canon SX50, which I've been finding true of just about every shot I've taken the past few weeks.  I really liked shooting the young girl enjoying the spray!

Thinking about what I'm going to do about a replacement camera to get better shots, I walked underneath the falls and continued on to the next one.

They have gotten lots more rain than we have up here and the forest understory is looking healthy.  I know when Nickie and Jimmy were up here the roads were washed out there were detours in the area, but things are cleaned up and tourists will have no problem getting around now.

Little Twin Falls is a short walk from Tannery Falls but doesn't usually see much flow.  Still it was a nice stop and nice and cool under the ledge.

While it is still plenty warm here today in the mid 80's it's not as hot or humid as it is in Wisconsin so I am happy to be enjoying my time in the shade on the beach with the latest adventures of Lisbeth Salander to read.  No sunblock needed and the biting flies seem to have gone on vacation too!

I  stayed out all day in order to avoid the crowded overflow site until dark, and then was back to Bay furnace by 8:00 AM after stopping for a bagel by the beach.

Lucky me, there were three sites open and I snagged one right away!

 I don't have to return to work until Thursday due to a change in our doctor schedule...I wonder how long I will stay?  Anyone else up in the region be sure to let me know, I'm willing to drive a bit to meet up!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

My Favorite Stop

Wisconsin is in the grip of a heat wave so after work this afternoon I headed north. I was looking for a place to stop to break up the drive and it was no surprise  when I finally settled on Sheboygan.

I headed straight for the John Michael Kohler Center for the arts, my favorite art museum ever.

Imagine my delight when I discovered the coolest lunch truck ever at the back of their parking lot.

And right beside it an obelisk which has probably always been there but that I have never noticed.

My favorite panel was the one showing the farm at the bottom.

I scurried inside before I melted and headed right for the best bathroom in Wisconsin.

Admission is free but donations are encouraged at this ever-changing art museum.

This visit I was especially drawn to David R.  Harper's exhibit.

They have a lovely garden which also contains works of art.

Though this time I did not spend much time outside I felt the temperature dropping as the clouds and the cold front rolled in.

As I listened to the Seagulls squawking from the top of the old Carnegie library doorway I was thankful that I had made this stop, and I'm sure that I will be making it again and again and again.