Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore-Grand Island

Aug 31, 2012

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located between Munising and Grand Marais in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It sits on the shore of Lake Superior. About 40 miles long with hiking trails along the lake, some shore side and some 200 feet above on the sandstone cliffs. About a 5 hour drive from Sturgeon Bay,  the weather was great for Labor Day weekend. It is probably not a good time to visit if you want seclusion, as everyone has a 3-day weekend and are either on the trails or in the water. I was lucky and found a carry in tent site Friday afternoon at the Munising Tourist Park Campground…a nice place and a wonderful site on a sand beach, the tent was 50 feet from the water with a view into Grand Harbor.

I could have launched and paddled from there, but I set up the tent and then drove a few miles to

Sand Point Beach.
I had wanted to see cliffs and Grand Island has a few on the shore side…facing the mainland. There were small craft advisories Friday with a wind from the NW…banging waves into the mainland shore where had I really wanted to go, Sand Point was protected, being in the lee of Grand Island.

I headed to the old lighthouse,
 which is in private hands and now maintained in a rustic way. No waves, little wind, swells surging in and out on the rocky shore. The lighthouse was clean and neat, but in good shape, much better than the last time I was here??, 20 years ago?
There is a sand beach near the lighthouse and an old metal skiff onshore, rusting away and lonely. Paddling NE from the lighthouse, the shore is rocky sandstone, gradually rising up to about 50/60’ where I turned back several miles away.
It is interesting to look at the different layers so obvious in the sandstone. One layer is a mixture of small rocks imbedded in the sand and you can follow it around the island. An interesting book about geology and time dating rocks and fossils is “The Map that Changed the World” by Simon Winchester

There were many small wave formed caves and a few larger ones.

The last one I visited had a ceiling 20 feet high and it was 60 feet across…cool!
(The last picture from the GoPro mounted on the kayaks tail before I bumped into the rock at the back of the cave and pushed the mount down)

If I had kept going around Grand Island the cliffs get higher and more colorful.
Heading back to the mainland, as the sun would be setting soon, I went by the old Coast Guard Station on Sand Point, which is now a museum.

There was an old 30’ wooden boat half-sunk and upside down on the shore. Strip built, once powered, it had a steel protected cutwater. The keel had a nicely fitted and obvious scarf near the propeller shaft.
I landed at Sand Point just before sunset. A couple walked up to me while I was packing up and wanted their photo taken, so I did, then she offered to send a photo she had taken of me paddling in, backlit by the setting sun…I don’t have many photos of myself paddling. Arriving back at the campground after dark, I watched the twilight fade and the full moon rise…took a snooze until morning….
Boatmans Wake from Sand Point

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