Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Munising, Michigan, and the Pictured Rocks

We arrived in Munising, Michigan, which is on the the Lake Superior coastline.  Did I mention it was raining?

Our reason for stopping in Munising was to view the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore which derives its name from 15 miles of colorful sandstone cliffs. The U.S. Congress made Pictured Rocks the first officially designated National Lakeshore in the United States in 1966.

We lucked out on a sunny day and took a sunset cruise to see the rock formations. 

Streaks on the face of the cliffs come from groundwater leeching out of the rock.

The colors in the rock are created by large amounts of mineral deposits formed millions of years ago.

As the water evaporates, these minerals leave streaks of color.  The red is iron, manganese is black-white, limonite creates yellow-brown, and copper leaves the pink-green tones.  

The colors were stunning.

The cliffs are up to 200 feet above lake level.  They have been naturally sculpted into shallow caves, arches, and formations that resemble castle turrets and human profiles.

A nice spot to anchor your boat.

If you look at the rock you start to see images.  I thought this one looked like Garfield, the dog. Okay, you have to look real close.....

This formation reminded me of a ghost ship.

This tree was exceptional, sitting on a rock formation that had eroded from the side of the cliff.

It has survived because its roots are still attached to the shoreline.

Many other trees have a very precarious perch.

Coming back to the harbor we took these pictures of the setting sun.  There was some cloud action which enhanced the beauty of the sky.

The sunset reminded me of Halloween.

That pretty much took care of Munising but we still had a few days remaining so we decided to take a drive to Marquette, Michigan.   Along the way we stopped at Lakenenland  Sculpture Park which is a controversial junk art gallery in Chocolay Township.

The gallery was created by one man and the town fathers of Chocolay have been trying to close it for years.

This sign meets you at the entrance to his property.  There is no charge to drive or walk through so we decided to check it out.  He continues to make junk art and we thought he was quite good at it.

He has turned the junkyard into a land trust so the township cannot close the facility. 

He built this covered pavilion for visitors.  The woodwork shows his many talents.

Even the table and benches were unique.

We continued our day trip to Marquette, home of Northern Michigan University.

The downtown area was interesting and the skies were starting to clear.  

This structure is called a lower harbor ore dock.  It was built in 1931 and is 85 feet high and 67 feet wide with 150 separate pockets.  The ore came by rail car to the top of the structure for storage and to await incoming ships.  A wooden chute would dispense the ore from the the pockets into the hold of the ship.  The loading took 92 minutes.  

After a nice lunch and clearing skies, we decided to take a walk on the breakwater that protects the town.

A lighthouse can be seen in the distance.
And then it got ugly again, very quickly.  A big gust of wind took the Captain's Tilly hat off and flung it into the water.  Well, he decided he wasn't gonna lose his favorite hat so he jumped down off the cement walkway, climbed over the huge protruding rocks, and reached into Lake Superior just as the waves started to pull his hat away.  I thought surely he would fall in but the Captain was successful.  Too bad he had the camera with him so I can't share the drama.

Looking for a little more to do, we took the pups on a hike through a local state park.

The park was known for an impressive waterfall so we made sure we would take it in.

The Captain wasn't happy with the distance shots from the overlook so he decided to get a little closer.

Climbing over the railing, he maneuvered across the rocks into the river to get his shot.

But then he had to climb back up. Lucy was beside herself with concern.

As he returned to safely he suggested I snap his best side..........

butt, of course  :)

Time to move on.  Our last stop in the great state of Michigan will be a little town called Ontonagon, a harbor town on the edge of Lake Superior.  Peace!

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