Exploring Part 1: The UP

Since Aaron and I had a week of time to kill between finishing up diving in Munising and getting on the boat for Isle Royale in Grand Portage, we decided to spend some time in the UP doing things that we never got around to doing (or had the time to do) while we were attending Michigan Tech.  Fair warning, we've done a lot of exploring already so this post is going to be long and picture heavy.  We started our adventure spending some time at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Marais, Michigan.

Neither Aaron nor I had ever been to the lake shore and we were blown away by it!  From dramatic cliffs, hundreds of feet above the lake, to sand dunes that rival Sleep Bear Sand Dunes, and too many waterfalls to count -all of it was amazing.  The main road that runs through the National Park was only paved a few years ago, making the whole park much more accessible.  I could try to describe the beauty of the park, but it would be in vain.  Even pictures can't give it the justice it deserves.  I think one of my favorite parts of the park was going to see Au Sable waterfall and walking along the beach.  I even climbed a small portion of the dune there - which is way harder than it looks - and then ran down.  It was a blast!

We spent some time in Grand Marais that day visiting the lightkeepers museum and walking along Agate Beach looking for agates (spoiler, we didn't find any).  We stopped into the Great Lakes Brewing Company for some beverages and food - both were excellent!  If you're in the area, I highly recommend that you take a watering break here.

 Stannard Lighthouse glass from Marquette, MI

Stannard Lighthouse glass from Marquette, MI

After spending a (really) cold night camping in Munising, we were off to Houghton the next day.  We made a couple of stops in Marquette along the way: the Maritime Museum and Presque Isle Park.  They even had an old dive suit in the museum!  I can't imagine how cumbersome those suits must have been.  Also on exhibit were lights of various sizes from lighthouses along the shores of Lake Superior.  Those things are seriously impressive; both a work of art and an engineering marvel.  The one pictured on the left is one of the larger ones found on the lakes (please excuse the lack of make-up and day-old hair).  All the prisms were cut by hand in France and carefully assembled by expert craftsmen.  After the museum, we headed to Presque Isle park.  Unfortunately, the weather was cold, overcast, drizzly and windy, so we didn't spend a lot of time at Presque Isle.  If we have the time next time we are in Marquette, that is one place I'd like to explore more.

Finally after taking 8 hours to make the 3 hour drive to Houghton, we arrived.  Our time started off right with a fishbowl and dinner at the Ambassador Restaurant (Ambo to Tech grads and locals) and was followed by some quality time at the Downtowner Lounge.  On Wednesday, we wandered around town and then did the Quincy Mine Tour.  Aaron was in desperate need of new shoes and we found the ones he wanted in town.  Extra bonus: I found a pair on sale that rocked.  Anywho, back to the mine tour.  I had done it a number of years ago, but Aaron had never seen it so, of course we had to do it!  On the way back, we took the long way and stopped by the dredger in Torch Lake.  It's technically a shipwreck, but really looks more or less like abandoned ruins, which Aaron was able to get some great pictures of.

 Quincy Dredge #2 laying slightly askew in Torch Lake.

Quincy Dredge #2 laying slightly askew in Torch Lake.

The next day, we headed to the Porcupine Mountains and did some more exploring along the way.  Since we are boarding the boat for Isle Royale in a few days, posting for the next week or so may be slow, but rest assured that there will be lots of posts once we get back.  We have to fill you all in the how it was diving these historic wrecks!  In the meantime, check out the pictures below from some our adventures so far.

- Meghan -