We are camped on the shore of Lake Superior in Munising, the western end of Pictured Rocks National Seashore. We didn't know too much about this park, but experience has taught us that if something is part of the national park system, it's worth seeing. The pictured rocks are not manmade art, but art made by Mother Nature. Cliffs 300 feet tall are colored by mineral deposits as rain water seeps through them and deposits vivid colors and distinctive patterns. These are best seen from a boat and wouldn't you know it, there are boat tours available. The colored rock formations are divided by long sandy beaches. We had no idea there are so many great beaches are on Lake Superior. When we arrived the temperature was 90º and they were full of swimmers enjoying the almost warm water. Boats take tourists out all day long, but we opted for the sunset cruise, and the low angle of the sunshine made the colors on the rock eye poppingly bright.
We drove to Grand Marais, the eastern end of the park to see what is behind those brightly colored dunes. After a hike to the Au Sable light house and we took a great tour from a park ranger. This light house complex also included a fog horn building. The ranger described how the keeper's assistant would work to keep the boilers fired up so they could power the ship style horn that blared the fog warning every fifteen seconds, sometimes for many days in a row. It's hard to imagine how the keeper and his family could hang on to their sanity as they experienced this loud sound so often for so many hours or days in a row. Keeping the fog horn and light going required up to three families on the site, living in close proximity to one another sharing a house. There were no roads; supplies were brought in three months a year. The keeper was given foodstuff for one man. If he had a family, it was up to him to figure out how to feed them. One of the keepers had twelve children. Guess there wasn't much distracting fog near his site! Grand Marais was an eight hour walk from Au Sable. If you wanted to go shopping, you have to stay overnight and walk back, weather permitting.
This area boasts many waterfalls and light houses both in and out of the park. The tourist bureau gave us a brochure with the GPS coordinates of those near town, making it easy to get from one to another. Perhaps ten foot tall waterfalls would be more impressive in the spring, but travelers like us that have been to Victoria, Angel, Iguasso and Niagara Falls, were underwhelmed. Some light houses were little more than a white rod with a light on top. Despite all the little light houses, over 100 ships lay beneath the waves off the coast here. The high dunes gather the warmth of the sunshine and generate more fog than usual when this heat encounters the cold water. Lake Superior is known for wild weather year round. It is the largest fresh water lake in the world, the size of Austria. The water from all the other Great Lakes wouldn't come close to filling it. You could make a five foot swimming pool that covers the whole US with its waters. Fun facts...
A line of thunderstorms marched through this area overnight, clearing the area of the heat and humidity. Now that we are no longer parked under the trees as we were in the state park, the satellite dish made a connection and the DVR remembered all the recordings stored on it. And the jacks worked once again. All is well with the world.