Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waterfalls of Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks Nat'l Lakeshore is one of those parks that offers a wide variety of things for folks to do. There's the boat tour, of course, but one can also kayak the 35 mile-long Lake Superior shoreline. Canoeing, hunting, fishing, hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing are among the others. It's a great place for day hikes, and many people come to the park to view the waterfalls. There are seven within the park, and while it was not a specific goal of ours to see them, we did manage to visit four.

The first falls we saw was Spray Falls, seen at the end of the boat tour. Somewhere near the falls is a shipwreck, but we couldn't see it. All of the waterfalls are more impressive in the spring, of course, and Bridalveil Falls, which is at the beginning of the tour, was completely dried up.

The following morning, on our way to the trailhead, we stopped to see two more waterfalls. Above is Munising Falls, which is actually inside Munising city limits. This 50 foot waterfall I thought was the most picturesque of the ones we saw, falling into a semi-circle sandstone basin covered with mosses and ferns.

Our next stop was Miners Falls, in the Miners Rock area. This was a slightly longer hike (1.2 miles round trip) and the woods we passed through were just waking up to a foggy morning.

Miners Falls features another 50 foot drop but these falls have substantially more water. We could feel the mists from the falls up on the viewing platform, and it seems the heavier spray keeps vegetation from growing very close to the falls.

The last falls we stopped to see were on the trail to the first campground. Chapel Falls has better viewing points but I was already struggling with my load by the time we came to the falls area (I was also having problems with back spasms that had started a few days before). I shot this from above the falls, looking down into the basin. It's too bad that scale can be so difficult to show in a photo as this was pretty impressive looking in person. Below is a pic from the National Parks website showing what the falls look like from below.

The hike back to the car had a side loop that offered views of Mosquito Falls, but we were pretty much done in at that point and didn't make the trip. Maybe next time!
Coming next: Chapel Beach and the amazing Chapel Rock.

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