Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dead River Falls

Day two of the UP trip started just like the one last year. I got up early only to find that it was heavily cloudy and rainy. I ended up leaving the hotel and driving to the Marquette downtown area for breakfast and a stroll through the streets. I took the opportunity to start my Christmas shopping in some of the unique stores.

Around 11:00 AM the clouds started breaking so I drove out to the Dead River. I had been to this location last year looking for the waterfalls but ended up in the wrong place. This time I came prepare with better directions. The book indicated that the hike to the waterfalls was extraneous (9 out of 10). I don't know that it was that hard but it certainly had a lot of ups and downs on a narrow trail.

The first waterfall I encountered along the river had a 25 foot drop (tallest of the waterfalls). Seeing it from a distance, it certainly didn't look that tall but standing on top of it and looking down, it felt huge.
There are certainly plenty of waterfalls/cascades concentrated in a short span of the river. It drops 90 feet in about half a mile. The river runs/drops in between these large boulders and rocks which seem extraneous in this forest. Fall color was spotty but whatever was there did make a nice accent.
If you look carefully at the image above you see a fallen tree over the waterfall on the right. In order to capture the image below, I walked across the log. Darwin was watching me.
The waterfalls were beautiful but the rapids were mesmerizing. Don't know why this very short portion of river was so captivating. I ended up sitting down for a while and enjoyed the view while I drank my bottle of water which was already warm but it didn't matter at this point...
Looking upstream from the rapids, I saw no sign of additional waterfalls. It was still early in the day so I decided to hike a little farther along the river. The river eventually narrowed into a 20 foot high gorge. Although I could not see a waterfall ahead I could hear the water flowing. Once you hike to the top of the gorge the waterfall can be seen tucked into a small pocket on the side. I found this waterfall the second most scenic of my hike.
I debated whether to continue hiking but decided to go back. It was getting late and I though this was the last of the waterfalls. I was wrong. Google maps shows at least one more waterfalls further upstream. Next time in town, I will all the way to the lake. Maybe I can convince my wife to come hike with me...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day One in the UP 2014

Just returned from a short trip to the UP. Most days were heavily cloudy, rainy, windy or a combination of the above which made it challenging to capture some of the images. On the first day I traveled to Marquette Michigan. On the way there, I stopped at Whitefish Falls.

Whitefish Falls is located outside Trenary right next to a small campground that sits on a dirt road next to the main road. I have driven many times past this road and had no idea that this beautiful waterfall was there. Once I got out of the car, I could hear the roaring water and imagined camping at this site and listening to the calming sound of the falling water at night or early in the morning while sipping a warm cup of tea or coffee.
I walked up and down the creek looking for the shallower spot to cross. With the amount of water flowing on this river, there really wasn't any that was below the heights of my boots so it was a "refreshing" adventure.

I left Whitefish Falls and continue on my way to Marquette. The second stop was the overlook of the old 510 bridge. The view down into the Dead River is fantastic, probably one of the most scenic spots I've seen from a road in the UP. Color was spotty as Marquette had already experience a frost and some trees had already lost the leafs. If you notice, there are ripples in the river. It was very very windy, and this was a cold wind. Having just arrived at the UP, I really wasn't prepared for the chilly temperature.
I still had one more stop I wanted to make prior to sunset. When I did the planning at home, it seemed that Yellow Dog River Falls was not too far up the road from the bridge. However, GPS didn't think so. I spent over 40 minutes driving on a dirt road passing every so often a logging truck. Every so often the GPS tried to send me down a one lane off shoot which I decided was not on my best interest. Once it the GPS said "arriving at destination" I was relieve but unsure if this was the right spot. I parked the car next to a bridge just as described on the book but I couldn't see any signs of a waterfall.

I took the trail right next to the parking lot but the farther I walked, the further it seemed to be moving from the river. After walking a quarter of a mile and not hearing any rushing water, I decided to turn back to the car and review the book description of how to get to the fall. I probably should have done this earlier...
First instruction was to park on the south side of the bridge and take the trail. Was I parked next to the right bridge over the correct river? I hope I was. Which way was south? I remember that the iPhone had a compass and after consulting it, I verified that indeed I was park in the south side of the bridge. Second instruction: take the trail downstream. So I went back on the trail and every so often veered off it looking for the river.

The trail was fairly easy to follow except in some spots where it disappeared under the fallen leafs. Eventually the trail parallel the bank of the river and in the distance I could hear the soft roar of the water. A few more steps and out in the middle of this forest I ran into giant boulders through which the river was cascading.
The afternoon was heavily cloudy and windy but being down between the massive boulders protected me from the wind (only occasional wind gusts blew through). I walked back to the car mostly in the dark (always bring a flashlight!); and drove out on the same dirt road, just not in the same direction I came from. It had been a long day of driving...time for dinner and some rest.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Roads of Peninsula State Park

Weather in Door County wasn't the best during our last trip. The first morning I got up before sunrise, looked out the window and saw pouring rain. Needless to say, I went back to bed. A  couple of hours later I got up and the sky had cleared and no cloud was in sight. I got dressed and took a short drive to Peninsula State Park which was a few minutes from where we were staying. It had been a few years since I last visited so I thought I would just drive around and do a little hiking. To my surprise, there was a light fog lingering in the park around the more wooded areas. For the next hour, I just went up and down all the roads in the park admiring the last vestiges of summer.
Shore Road
Skyline Road
Highland Road
Middle Road