We have been pronouncing Munising wrong all this time. It is like Moo-nis-sing. We still can't say it really well. The drive from Duluth to Munising was nice. Most of it was on 2 lane county roads. the town is very small. Our campground is nice, lots of trees between campsites so it's very private.
Most of the land around here is either national park land or state forest. There is a large island (Grand Island) in Lake Superior right by the town which makes a large safe harbor. During storms waves can be 30 feet. Safe harbors are important on Lake Superior. The only way to get to the island is by boat and no cars allowed. It is a national recreation area and part state park.
Pictured Rocks is a National Lakeshore and has no entrance fee. It is about 40 or 50 miles long. There is a long section that is the pictured rocks. These are cliffs that rise 50 to 200 feet above the water. Glaciers, and then wind and water, have carved the sandstone. Then you have water that oozes out of the rock and that leaves mineral deposits on the rock-painting it-thus Pictured rocks. There is another section of the park called 12 mile beach-which is a 12 mile beach. And then there is a section that is tall dunes-500 feet tall. There is also a large wilderness area in the middle of the park.
The first thing we did was to go to the log slide overlook. Logging companies bought the land, logged it off, and then left it-defaulting on property taxes. The State and Federal Government took it over and made the parks. The log slide is where they slid logs on a chute down the dune to load on boats. There is a story that one of the trees skipped on the lake when it hit (like skipping stones) and flew 200 feet hitting and crushing 2 men building a boat or raft. So here is the crazy part. The chute left a groove in the dune and people go (slide?) down it to the water. There are warnings everywhere about how you can get hurt-several ways, how help is about 2 hours away, and how it's a short trip down but can be a hour, or two, or three to get back up. It also warns that the slope is very steep and a shear drop in many places. Lots of people were going down. We were at the top of the dune and didn't go to the very edge-too scary and too dangerous. It is a shear drop-or almost a shear drop!!! I have pictures. (The warning signs didn't mention the biting sand flies.)
The second thing we did was visit 12 mile beach. Dale went in the water up to his knees. You have to understand-water temp averages 40 degrees in Lake Superior. In the summer you can expect the water to be between 50 to 65 degrees. The ranger told us that the day before they took readings in several places. One location was 48, one was 53, and one was 62-but that was at the mouth of a creek and mainly the creek water, not the lake water. Dale was not by a creek when he went in. He actually managed to stay in the water about 5 minutes.
We drove thru the park and saw lots of trees and lots of little lakes (when is it a lake and when is it a pond? lots of the lakes out here look like ponds to me-but whatever). So the only other thing we did in Pictured rocks (other than driving around) was to take a boat ride along the shore to see the pictured rocks. You really can't see them from the land. The cruise was almost 3 hours and gorgeous. I took lots of pictures.
The second full day in Munising we took off from touristing. We did laundry, went to lunch, read books in the woods, and watched a Nascar race.
We leave tomorrow for the Mackinac Straits.