August 25, 2011
Today, we started exploring Picture Rocks National Lakeshore. We are at the eastern end where the high dunes are. You have to climb down steep steps to get to the beaches but they are incredible sweeps of sand sprinkled with surf-rounded rocks. Apparently, there are agates aplenty on the shore among the rocks but we have not been able to find any that we know of. In any event, we went to the Log Slide area where they used to slide the lumber down the dunes to waiting boats. You can see the Au Sable lighthouse from the area. The wind was blowing about 35 miles per hour steadily all day and the waves were incredible; wild and frothy and relentless.
Then, we went to Twelve Mile Beach where we walked (not 12 miles though) and had lunch. The Hurricane River empties into Lake Superior here and though the river is not large, it is a fast-rushing stream seemingly eager to meet its Gitche Gumee father. We also scoped out some of the lakes in the area and plan to kayak if the wind dies down tomorrow.
The forests here are beech, firs and birch. The understory is covered by ferns whose fronds have been kissed by the first whisper of autumn’s frosts. The ferns shelter the seedlings of the hardwoods and evergreens. But there is not a lot of other scrubby growth. We have not seen any wildlife to speak of such as bears or beavers or otters nor have we seen any moose. However, yesterday, we were greeted by a flock of cedar waxwings (birds) as we arrived at the campground.
Today was Leila’s 3rd birthday so we skyped with her. She had her princess crown on and Colleen tells us that she has been wearing the princess “tattoos” we sent her for her birthday. We also went to the Grand Marais farmer’s market which consisted of three small tables with potatos, a few other vegetables and rocks (supposedly agates). We did buy some wonderful red potatoes which I roasted with a chicken tonight. Also got some cukes and home-baked wheat bread. In addition, we bought some home made “pasties” (pronounced “paaaasties” as opposed to the ornaments I understand strippers use) Last time we had this type of meat pies, we were in England. They serve them here at many of the restaurants. It is apparently a Michigan delicacy.
We took several walks along the shoreline here in Grand Marais when we returned from the National Lakeshore. The wind has died down and at sunset, the waves were golden tipped as they rolled onto the shore. They were highlighted gold and pink as they crested and the stones on the shore gleamed. It was an incredible sight and thankfully, I got some nice pictures of the beauty of the scene. The sky after the sun set was a brilliant red-gold. Better still, if that is possible, the stars were bright white in a moonless sky with the milky way clearly visible. First time we have actually seen a star-filled sky on this trip. It is also quite cold and expected to go into the 40’s overnight. The beauty of the stars and the sound of the surf crashing below us is the best nightcap to a nice day.