The goal, Spray Falls.
I am now a weekend warrior… The type of person I have been trying to avoid becoming for a long time. Well, it happened. And it is not something I am use to or like. Having to plan what I am doing for a weekend and only a weekend is not fun. The typical trip, the kind I have become accustomed to, has had a firm start date, soft end date, and an itinerary that was roughly broken up into weeks instead of hours. Now, with the whole cube, 7 day vacation, salary, and no window thing, time is more important, and thus, more planned. Weekends are short. So more planning has to be done to maximize the adventure. The short-lived adventure. Last weekend involved getting out of work a half hour after closing time (typical) followed by a 4 hour drive with a few stops on the way up to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. A hidden gem in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Or maybe not so hidden jugging by the number of Asian tourists running around with selfie sticks!
Made it to a trailhead by a little after midnight and crashed there for the night in my amazing comfortable camper suburban. Rolled out of the suburban to a beautifully crisp fall morning. Drove down to the campsites and prepared the camera gear for the hike. Preparing is still not easy even thought you would think I’d have it down by now. 1 Tripod, 2 Camera Bodies, 3 Lenses, 1 Microphone for video, a Polarizing Filter, Extra Batteries, Extra Cards, Cleaning Cloths and a half a Nalgene of Water. Just enough for 6 miles but not overkill.
The trail passes exposed layers of limestone rock in a beautiful mixed forest of cedar and massive white pine. The trail was a mix of sand and hard soil where a newly laid wolf track was just inside the Wilderness border within the park. I have been around wildlife enough where I was not all that worried about it but it is still an uneasy feeling in the back of your mind hiking alone without any protection! The three mile walk to the falls in not for the faint of heart. Especially for those who are afraid of heights as there are many sections where your feet are inches from a massive drop into Lake Superior.
Eventually I made it to Spray Falls which is a roughly 70 foot waterfall emptying into Lake Superior.
I also make my way to Minors Falls which was a easy 1.2 mile round trip hike on a trail that is like a tourist highway. A gorgeous stand of equally spaced trees line both sides of the tourist highway which was very parkesque. The falls were really pretty but to get the shot involved following the dozens of other tourists over the walls viewing platform and down to the base of the falls. Good thing there were no rangers there because I didn’t want a ticket!
Other notable falls were Munising Falls and Wagner Falls. The trip was a waterfall success but the Northern lights were a big fail. They were out but the cloud cover prevented the spectacular view I was hoping for. Just a reason to go back I guess.