Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tahquamenon Falls, Shipwreck Museum, and Sault Ste. Marie


The last few days of our trip to the Upper Peninsula were just as busy as the first few days.  We went to Tahquamenon Falls State Park on my birthday.  There are hiking trails all around to access different vantage points and viewing decks of the upper and lower falls.  We had such lovely weather that day!

upper falls

upper falls

lower falls from a distance

lower falls

After the state park, we headed to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point.  Whitefish Point is along a treacherous stretch of Lake Superior.  That area of the lake is a shipwreck graveyard.  The Edmund Fitzgerald sank near there.

Lighthouse at Whitefish Point


A few years ago divers removed the bell from the ship and put it in the museum.  A replica of the bell, engraved with the names of all the lost crew members, was installed on the sunken ship in place of the original bell.

 Someone built a replica of the Edmund Fitzgerald out of Lego!  I was impressed.  I wonder how many bricks that took?



The last place we visited in the U.P. was Sault Ste. Marie, to see the Soo Locks.  This is where Lake Superior flows into the St. Marys River, and eventually on to Lake Huron.  There are rapids in the river, and the water level drops between the two lakes.  The locks were built to accommodate freighters navigating the Great Lakes.  The river is an international border here, separating the U.S. and Canada.  The locks are on the U.S. side, and there is an observation platform to watch the locks in action.  

Here is a coast guard ship, on its way in from Lake Superior.  You can see it takes up just a little portion of the lock.


Later we saw a freighter come through, and that was quite interesting.  

Here it is, entering the lock as it heads downstream from Lake Superior:
 It took up pretty much the whole lock.  As you stand on the observation deck, you can watch all the crew hands running around on board, doing what needs to be done.
After the water in the lock dropped, the freighter moved into the river, engines thrumming steadily, churning up the water behind it.  A flock of seagulls followed closely  behind, swooping and diving to catch the fish tossed up in the wake of the ship.
That was my favorite part of the whole process!

I'd like to make another trip to the U.P. in September sometime when the autumn colors are at their peak.  Maybe someday, when my kids are done with school.  Before we had children, my husband and I liked to vacation in October.  It was just us and the retirees, out seeing the sights.  We felt so young and carefree!  When the time comes that we can vacation in autumn again, we'll be closer to being retirees than to being young and carefree.  Funny how raising a family takes you from being young to being old without you realizing that is what is happening!