Thursday, July 11, 2013


I live in Michigan, a place that is instantly recognizable and easy to find on a map or globe.  I was born here, and I've lived here most of my life.  Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes, and is comprised of two peninsulas: the Lower Peninsula, shaped like a mitten (something I was very proud of when I was a child!), and the Upper Peninsula.  The Upper Peninsula is always referred to as the U.P.  That's not pronounced as the word "up", but as two separate letters.  The Lower Peninsula is not commonly referred to as the Lower Peninsula, at least not by those of us who live here.  We just say we live in Michigan, or sometimes the Mitten, but the residents of the U.P.  (also known as "Yoopers") are proud to distinguish their part of the state as being the U.P.  I think they refer to the rest of the state as "downstate", and they might even call the residents of the Mitten "trolls", because we live under the bridge (the bridge being the Mackinac Bridge).

The Upper Peninsula is a world of its own, much less populated and developed than the Lower Peninsula, and full of natural wonder. Even though I've lived in Michigan all these years, I never traveled in the U.P., and my husband, also a life-long Michigander, hadn't either.   We decided we needed to remedy that this year, and so we did.

Going to the U.P.  means driving over the Straits of Mackinac on the beautiful Mackinac Bridge

with views of Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east.  You can see Mackinac Island there in Lake Huron:

We headed west immediately after crossing the bridge, towards Manistique.  Our route took us over the Cut River Bridge, which looks ordinary from the top, but is quite beautiful if you get out and inspect the underside:

You can walk under the bridge through this charming tunnel:

And in the tunnel under the bridge you will find this door:

The name on the door says "T. Troll."
After a LOT of stairs going down, you can walk out to Lake Michigan:

When we were done admiring the lake and throwing rocks into it, we continued west to our destination that day--Palms Book State Park:

home of Kitch-iti-kipi, a 45-foot-deep freshwater spring:

There is a self-operated glass-bottom raft:

that goes back and forth across the spring when you turn the wheel:

and you can gaze in wonder at the beauty of the depths below:

The billowing sand in the photo directly above shows where water enters the spring.  The early people in this area called this spring Mirror of Heaven.  It truly is a wonder to behold.

Our journey continues...stay tuned!

1 comment:

Tricia said...

Maybe we're called trolls because we're the only ones who will stop and look under Cut River Bridge? :^)

We went to the UP for a long weekend trip with my parents, not long after we moved to Michigan (so early 90s). I wish we'd known about Kitch-iti-kipi and the Cut River Bridge!

It was very early October and we were surprised at how many things were already closed for the season! We mostly stuck to the eastern end [Tahquamenon Falls was the furthest west we went].