Trip report: Northern Minnesota & Michigan - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-30-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,142
Trip report: Northern Minnesota & Michigan

I escaped the heat for a while, but now I'm back in it! It was great while it lasted, cooling off along the Lake Superior shoreline in 70s and 80s while it was over 100 degrees back home. But all good things must end, and now I will have to content myself with the memories and the pictures.

I set out on July 15 from Okla. and spent the first night at Slip Bluff CG, a quiet county park off I-35 just north of the MO-IA state line. This was my third time there, and it was the most crowded I've ever seen it: there were 3 other campers! Electric included, just $14 per night. It's a nice, shady CG with a short walk to a bluff overlooking a valley where you can see for 3 or 4 miles.

The second night I drove north of St. Paul to Moose Lake SP. My campsite had the most heavenly fragrance from all the flowers and plants growing nearby. Sleeping with the windows open, I was treated to the fabulous, sweet scents all night long. It was like sleeping in a flower garden.

The third day's drive was a short one, since I was by then so close to my destination area. I had plenty of time to enjoy the sights, including Gooseberry Falls:
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN Gooseberry Falls.jpg
Views:	36
Size:	354.8 KB
ID:	49428

A bit farther north is Palisade Head, a popular destination for rappellers. I saw a couple here the last time I visited (5 years ago), and this time there was a group of young guys. You can see why they like this spot so well:
Click image for larger version

Name:	Palisade Head cliff.jpg
Views:	37
Size:	310.9 KB
ID:	49430

The next campsite I chose was a state forest CG called Eckbeck, near Finland MN, about 3-4 miles up the hill from the shoreline. It rarely fills completely, unlike the state park CGs along the shore, but it was very pleasant with lots of tall, fragrant evergreens (spruce perhaps, as the needles were short... definitely not pines) and a nearby river burbling over rocks. This became my base for 2 nights as I spent some time enjoying the nearby state parks.

The following day I hiked around Tettegouche SP. Surprisingly, I ran into the same climbers here that I met at Palisade Head the previous day! In the photo you can actually see Palisade Head in the distance. It's the cliff with the big tower on it.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN Tettegouche climbers.jpg
Views:	35
Size:	335.8 KB
ID:	49429

Another park nearby, Temperance River SP, has a nice swimming hole just before the river reaches the big lake. The river cuts through the bedrock and people like to jump off the rock banks into the channel below.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN Temperance Jumpers.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	380.7 KB
ID:	49427

More to follow..........
__________________

__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2012, 11:30 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,142
While at Tettegouche, I wanted to see the arch again. You just don't see many natural stone arches in the midwest, and it was a pretty one. Unfortunately the arch had fallen in about 2 or 3 years ago and only the stack remains.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN arch fallen 2012.jpg
Views:	28
Size:	255.2 KB
ID:	49432

Here is a photo of the arch that I took in 2007. You can see the difference.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN Arch from beach 2007.jpg
Views:	30
Size:	265.3 KB
ID:	49431

I also made it back to the Split Rock Lighthouse SP. Even though I had purchased an annual MN state parks pass for this trip, they charge an extra $9 entrance fee to get into the lighthouse grounds. But oh well, it's a nice place. Not only can you walk around, into, and up the lighthouse, you also gain access to the path down to the beach... and that path is the best place to get a picture.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Split Rock Lighthouse.jpg
Views:	27
Size:	390.2 KB
ID:	49433

It's late, so I'll post some more tomorrow. I hope you enjoy seeing the sights as much as I did. Unfortunately I can't reproduce the scents for you. You'll just have to go camping yourself!
__________________

__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 05:54 AM   #3
Raz
Senior Member
 
Raz's Avatar
 
Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,056
I really enjoy these types of posts. We plan to visit the Great Lakes soon so I am taking notes . Thanks for sharing, Raz
__________________
Raz is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 07:40 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Bob Ruggles
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 2012 Chevy Silverado
Michigan
Posts: 1,305
Nice photos. Especially enjoyed the conversion to b & w.
__________________
rgrugg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 11:36 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,142
Thanks. Next move was farther north. I stopped at Grand Marais for a tasty pizza at Sven and Ole's, and to get another picture of the Beaver House.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN Beaver House.jpg
Views:	23
Size:	311.0 KB
ID:	49458

There's a spacious parking lot on a spit of land sticking out into the lake, where people with trailers can park. It's only a block back to the main shopping area of Grand Marais (plenty of tourist shops to look into). When I walked back to the trailer, I decided to get a pic of the coast guard station at the other end of the lot, and to explore the far end of that spit of land beyond the station. Lo and behold, it's a place called Artist's Point. A bit of wooded area with trails running through it, and beyond that a solid rock shoreline. It's very picturesque and worth spending an hour or more enjoying the beauty of the spot.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN Artists Point.jpg
Views:	24
Size:	374.3 KB
ID:	49459

Here's an interesting sailing ship coming south past the point to head into the harbor.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN sailing ship.jpg
Views:	23
Size:	361.4 KB
ID:	49460

After walking all over Artist's Point and out to the marker light at the end of the breakwall, I turned inland on the Gunflint Trail and made my way to the next campsite, 2 nights at East Bearskin Lake. I spent some time on the water here with my kayak, did some fishing, listened to the loons calling at night, and enjoying the absence of traffic noise. Here is what most of these lakes look like:
Click image for larger version

Name:	MN 091 2007 lake.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	334.9 KB
ID:	49461
__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 01:10 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
cpaharley2008's Avatar
 
Name: jim
Trailer: 2016 2ndGen Escape19 Prairie Schooner pulled by 2014 Dodge Ram Hemi Sport
Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,398
Registry
very nice trip report
__________________
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 02:32 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
ScampBum's Avatar
 
Name: Al
Trailer: 1982 13 foot Scamp
Wisconsin
Posts: 123
My Bucket List trip...The Gunflint Trail to Trail's End.
__________________
ScampBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 03:33 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,142
The second night at Bearskin, it clouded over and rained a bit. But oddly, it did not cool off! I woke in the wee hours feeling too warm, and it was tough sleeping from there on. So the next day I drove back to Grand Marais. By then, about 10:30 am, it was already feeling pretty warm. And I started thinking that it might get hot.

Well, this was a Saturday morning and the campgrounds along Superior are packed. Electric sites? Forget about it! So on the spur of the moment, I decided to head south to Duluth and then east to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

There's a place in Iron River WI called White Winter Winery, and I stopped in to taste their wares. They make mead, actually, not wine (unless you count the cyser). The blueberry mead tasted delicious and I picked up 3 bottles to take home, along with 1 raspberry mead for my daughter.

Reaching 'da U.P.', I swung north to Porcupine Mountains SP. Their main CG (called Union) is typical of many MI SP CGs, with sites close together on good grass and no greenbelt barriers between most of them. It is a different feel, and since your neighbors are so close, you all get to talking more readily. MI state park CGs are good for the social campers. In comparison, East Bearskin NF CG and Minnesota's Moose Lake SP CG contained much growth between sites, so each one felt private and isolated. (Eckbeck was sort of 'in-between'... you're close to your neighbors, but all the big trees make it feel a bit more secluded.) The Porkies is a good weekend destination, I think; even at 7:30 pm on a Saturday night, Union CG had 5 sites left and the plentiful, more primitive CGs within the park probably had even more vacancies. This is a big park, both campsite- and acreage-wise, with tons of trails for the hikers.

In the morning I drove toward the west end of the park (which takes over a half hour at 40 mph, it's that far!) with a stop for one of the shorter trails on the way. At the west end is the Presque Isle River, with 3 waterfalls in a little over a mile and some nice woodsy trails along both banks. One can hike up one side of the river and down the other side, and see Lake Superior in the bargain. I believe this is called Manabezho Falls:
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI falls 221.jpg
Views:	22
Size:	372.7 KB
ID:	49496

And I think the next one is Manido Falls. There are lots of other rapids and rocky shelves along this stretch, and I love walking and photographing here. This particular photo was a 3-picture HDR group combined with Photomatix software. The underexposed shot had the water about right, but everything else was nearly black. The properly exposed shot blew out all the water to pure white nothing. The overexposed shot picked up all the detail in the deep shadows. Put 'em all together, and voila.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI falls8 tm tpz sm.jpg
Views:	22
Size:	383.2 KB
ID:	49497

After wearing my legs out along the riverbanks and then a picnic lunch in my Escape, I drove back to the east side of the park and to the high Lake of the Clouds escarpment. By now the light was coming from the correct direction for this picture:
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI Lk of Clouds.jpg
Views:	32
Size:	310.8 KB
ID:	49498

About 4 pm I left the Porkies and headed NE toward the Keweenaw Peninsula.
__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 04:26 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,142
Even though I had lived in Michigan for my first 30+ years, I never had been north of Houghton. So I was glad to finally see the Keweenaw Peninsula. I arrived F. J. McLain SP around 7 pm on Sunday night and got lucky... due to a late cancellation, they had an open campsite on the lake shore! I snapped it up, of course. My site for the night was just yards from the beach. Here is my rig in site 82.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI McLain campsite 1.jpg
Views:	40
Size:	394.9 KB
ID:	49500

And shifting the camera angle a bit, here's the view of the lake from here.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI McLain campsite 2.jpg
Views:	38
Size:	315.0 KB
ID:	49501

This turned out to be my favorite campground for the whole trip. Although I only could stay on the water side for one night, I ended up staying a total of three nights. Each evening I walked or bicycled to the shoreline and sat in one of these chairs to watch the sun set.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI Sunset 2.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	399.2 KB
ID:	49499

What a nice place! The warmest high was 82 degrees, and the lows were moderate too (which isn't always true along Superior). The paved roadway lent itself to bikers, and a great many campers were out with their bikes and meandering around the CG. As you enter the park the CG is to the right, but if you go to the left the pavement continues about a half mile to another beach area and a little CG store selling t-shirts, ice cream, hot dogs and nachos. (This far beach also had about the only cell phone reception.) And between the road and the shoreline, there's a patch of forest with trails. The beach beyond the forest is stony (great for rock picking), but the other beach areas are sandy.

About 1/3 of the CG is the close, intimate type similar to Union CG at the Porkies. The other 2/3 is spaced out more, with many of the sites divided by swaths of trees and bushes.

The wild raspberrys and thimbleberries were growing in many spots throughout the park, so I got some fresh fruit.
__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 05:18 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,142
During the next couple of days, I sat around a lot and enjoyed the cool breezes, sights, fresh scents, and quiet activity of McLain SP. Sometimes I sat at my campsite. Sometimes along the lake. Sometimes I'd spend time riding around on my bicycle. The word "paradise" kept coming to mind.

One day the camp hosts had a sign up announcing that there would be a sing-along and campfire fudge at 8:00 pm. Then he had a couple volunteer to play for us! It was very pleasant; the man played a guitar/harmonica combo, while the woman played a viola. Later the man traded the guitar for a banjo. They played several tunes for us and sounded good. Meanwhile the hosts filled a gallon plastic ziplock bag with ingredients, then we passed the bag around to take turns kneading it. When the mixture stopped sticking to the sides of the bag, it was mixed enough and she dumped it out, flattened it, and started dividing up chunks of this easy-to-make fudge. The camp hosts and I thought it was better than Mackinaw Island fudge. It was a big hit, especially with the kids, and we ended up making a second batch. Oh, and we roasted marshmallows, too.

I also spent half a day on a driving tour of the peninsula, farther north of McLain. The drive along the western shoreline was pretty, with some more small waterfalls and plenty of parks and scenic turnouts. Big freighter ships could sometimes be seen well out on the lake. There were ample spots for a picnic lunch.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI picnic table.jpg
Views:	29
Size:	376.6 KB
ID:	49507

I also came across this beautiful monastery. I'd read about it some years ago, then had forgotten it. Seeing it again reminded me that I had wanted to take a picture or two of it. Thought I'd try something new....
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI monastery spheric.jpg
Views:	25
Size:	335.3 KB
ID:	49508

At the norther tip of Keweenaw is another state park, Fort Wilkins. They have reconstructed the old fort here and one can tour the buildings and learn what life was like in the 1800s in this remote location. My favorite building was the general store:
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI Ft Wilkins store.jpg
Views:	26
Size:	347.6 KB
ID:	49509

Well, all good things must end. After 3 nights at McLain SP a rain front moved in, and it seemed like it was time to head to my sister's house in Stephenson for a visit and then to head home. I'll leave you with one more sunset over Lake Superior, for good measure.
Click image for larger version

Name:	MI sunset1.jpg
Views:	21
Size:	281.2 KB
ID:	49510
__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 05:35 PM   #11
Commercial Member
 
brian m.'s Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: 17 ft Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 457
Registry
GREAT trip report Mike!
Thanks for sharing it with us.
__________________
brian
2003 Casita SD 17'
http://www.coolcampcreations.com/
brian m. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 05:59 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
Posts: 944
Mike,

What a wonderful journey you took us on. We have never been to McLain and look forward to going there after your report.

Of course we all want that fudge recipe. Did you get it? Please post under the food area if you know it.

Your Split Rock picture is pretty, but you have it in the Michigan area. If you ever go back there is a really neat beach next to where you took your picture. You can get to those places without paying the extra money, but you still need a park pass. When the birds are not nesting one can go out on the little island for another great Light House shot.

Thanks for the nice pictures. Artist Point is another of our favorite places, I am ready for a drive up the shore.

Nancy
__________________
Nancy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 06:32 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 2005 13 ft Scamp / 2004 Honda Odyssey
Posts: 944
OK, Think I found the fudge recipe. The Boy Scouts call it Armpit Fudge and the Girl Scouts call it Pass Around Fudge.

Nancy
__________________
Nancy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2012, 07:51 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,142
Yes, I have posted the recipe now. It certainly is easy, but you do have to plan ahead and have the ingredients. I don't usually carry powdered sugar or marshmallow cream on my camping trips.
__________________

__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Camp Report - Michigan UP National Forest Thomas G. Camping, Campout Reports 14 07-14-2012 06:27 AM
trip photos: northern Michigan Mike Magee Camping, Campout Reports 5 07-03-2012 05:02 PM
Hi From Northern Minnesota Mark Saiger Hi, I am.... 11 03-22-2012 08:39 AM
Hi, from Northern Minnesota Mary Ann in MN Hi, I am.... 20 02-24-2011 06:59 PM
Michigan UP/Northern Wisconsin recommendations? Aaron Cohen Camping, Campout Reports 5 02-01-2006 05:59 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.