Earlier this week I highlighted our fourth of July adventure in Wawa, Ontario and the Lake Superior Provincial Park. This travel post will be my last detailing this specific trip where Luke and I concluded our road trip by heading back Michigan whereupon we detoured to some iconic spots in the eastern portion of the Upper Peninsula. Luke and I both had taken family vacations to Tahquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point when we were kids and held fond memories of both locations. So with these locations in mind, we started our journey back from Wawa, through the Lake Superior Provincial Park to Michigan.
As we crossed the border back into Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie, we were excited to stop at one of our very favorite breweries, the Soo Brewing Company. They do not have food on hand so we ordered a pizza as soon as we got through the border agent, picking it up along the way. We’d visited this brewery several times now, each time thoroughly enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and the tasty beverage choices.
Following our late lunch we took a stroll across the street to view the impressive Soo Locks. Unfortunately there were no boats traversing between Lake Superior and the Lower Great Lakes while we were visiting, however last time we were here we were able to view a massive freighter in the Locks. As a civil engineer, Luke of course, geeks out over the Locks every time we are here.
After visiting the Locks, Luke and I jumped in our car to continue our road trip around Lake Superior to Whitefish Point. Both of our families had taken family trips up to this remote peninsula in the eastern UP where we each had fond memories of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. I’m not quite sure what it is about shipwrecks that captivates a kid’s imagination, however Luke and I recollected a similar fascination with this museum. Arguably the most famous shipwreck, due to being immortalized in Gordon Lightfoot’s iconic ballad, the Edmund Fitzgerald was shipwrecked a mere 17 miles off shore in 1975. As all ships in Lake Superior have to pass through this region to reach the Locks, the area off Whitefish Point is also known as the graveyard of the Great Lakes due to the amount of ships that have perished over time. Alas, Luke and I arrived too late to explore the museum as adults. so we entertained ourselves with a stroll on the rocky beach, which is littered with driftwood. Most of the rocks here are worn smooth, perfect for skipping rocks. Luke attempted to teach me, however my old softball muscle memory proved to be adverse to skipping rocks. There were people out swimming, which I couldn’t bring myself to do as the water (always cold in Lake Superior) was quite icy.
When we called my parents and told them we were headed to Whitefish Point, they sent us the photo below of them during our family trip back in the early 1990’s. I couldn’t resist having Luke and I attempt to recreate their photo. Other than the wood breakers being significantly more worn down and the quantity of driftwood, the picture wasn’t quite complete as I forgot to grab my massive camcorder. It is hard to believe my parents are probably our age, if not a few years older than us in this photo!
Our last stop of the trip was a detour to the breathtaking Tahquamenon Falls. Inland from Whitefish Point, we couldn’t help but comment on the temperature differences. Lake Superior had kept Wawa and Whitefish Point chilly, however emerging from the car at the falls proved a shock at how hot and humid the outside temperature was. As such, we were both uncomfortably sweaty by the time we reached the falls. There are two options regarding falls with the Upper Falls being by far the more impressive of the two. At the Upper Falls you have the option of viewing them from above or below the gorge. The view from above is well worth the hundred plus steps down to the boardwalk, with the walk back up being winding to say the least. The second hike that takes you to see the falls from a distance down river contains almost the same number of steps, but at the time of day we were at the viewing platform the sun was blinding, thereby obscuring the falls. The second of the hikes was a lot less crowded, but didn’t afford as stunning of a view. Can you see the rainbow in the mist from the top view?
Tired and overly sweaty, we jumped back in the car for our final drive home. We love visiting the UP and I’m sure we will be back either this winter or next summer! We have grand aspirations of visiting Michigan’s only National Park, Isle Royale or exploring Copper Harbor. Also, I’ve never been to Grand Island where Luke swears is the most beautiful beach in the world on the remote far side of the island. So many places to go in my favorite state!