Pictured Rocks is Picture Perfect
After our official UP rite of passage we continued to Pictured Rock National Lake Shore, and stopped in at the visitor center on the east side of the park. They don't take reservations for camping but we figured that since it was a Tuesday we would luck out with a campsite; that however, was not the case. All of the campsites were full... goo! (Ben's proof-reading interjection: goo is Katie's new word for "eww".) We signed up for two back-country passes near the Twelve Mile Beach campground that we had originally picked out. Our "hike in" was less than a half a mile and took only about five minutes to get to. We took what we deemed most important and set up camp. After that, we headed to check out Sable Falls and took the path out to the beach. The dune area was closed due to erosion but they were still beautiful.
|Log Slide - it drops straight down.|
|Katie at Hurricane Beach|
|Ben at Hurricane Beach|
The next morning we slept slightly longer then we had at other places we camped - like until 8:30, which is nearly unheard of while camping. When we arrived, our park ranger Judy, who had set us up with our camp site, had suggested that we do the Chapel Beach loop as our hike. She confidently said it was the best part of the park. So after a slightly later than anticipated start we packed our day packs and headed to the parking lot down a five mile dirt road. Apparently people in Michigan are not familiar with dirt roads - they were all driving 8 MPH *insert crazy emoji face here. Regardless, we arrived at the same time that all of the philistines arrived and decided that while everyone is going the way that Judy suggested we should head the opposite way and do the last part first. And it was quiet and wonderful. We went around to Mosquito River and Mosquito Falls, then through an area of ferns that looked like we were going through Middle Earth.
|Through Middle Earth|
|Beautiful Coastline, does it get any prettier? We'll see.|
We felt like we should come across a hobbit home any moment, but instead we came across Mosquito Beach with the most beautiful blue green water. It looked like it should have been in the Caribbean somewhere. We were in awe. There were a ton of people kayaking down in the lake and we both said that viewing Pictured Rocks from the water would be something we would want to do should we ever come back. We had lunch on a cliff and then continued our hike to Grand Portal Point and Chapel Rock. By this point we had already hiked 6.9 miles, but there were some falls a little way down that we decide eh, we've come this far let's go a little further. That idea was silly - much like in Maine the weather changes pretty quickly, and while we had a beautiful day so far as soon as we headed up to Spray Falls the fog set in. We hiked to the falls only to find out that they fall off the cliff into the water and it's an attraction best viewed from the water, not from the trail. We probably should have gathered that since the trail was not very well worn. At that point we were 10.1 miles in on the day with 4.9 left to get back to the parking lot. Luckily for us the path back to the parking lot was the I-75 of hiking paths, mostly flat and well maintained. We jogged some of it because we wanted to get back that badly and rest our weary feet. We made it back to the Forester, ate the rest of the cookies that Momma Lyons had sent with us and headed back to camp to make dinner and be in bed at 8:30 and asleep long before the sun went down.
|At Mosquito River outlet.|
|Ben at our lunch stop with kayakers in the background.|
|Our new friends along the coast.|
|The top of Chapel Rock|
|Chapel Rock in it's entirety|
|Home Sweet Home, Big Red.|
|Still very light out.|
|Katie and gear.|
|Ben and gear.|