Grand Portal facing west. Before there was a boat tour, a small craft was the only way to view them up close.
It seems that Pictured Rocks has always been an attraction throughout recorded history. The magnificent rock formations drew comment and admiration from the earliest explorers. People ventured into them braving Lake Superior for a just a look. Recently I found a few old stereoview pictures that were privately made. Many photographers at the time created stereoview prints for commercial reproduction. Those are most of what are found today. Occassionally, the more wealthy travellers would get personal stereoviews done as a vacation record. In other words early vacation photos.
Grand Portal facing east. This is a companion photo to the one above, both taken inside the Portal.
All of these pictures came dated 1892. Unfortunately I do not have the names of who these originally belonged to. Looking at the picture it can be seen that they had an exceptionally calm day for their sight-seeing. Unusual water for Lake Superior.
Chapel Rock and River, 1892. This is one of the major destinations of early sight-seers. It sill is to this day.
In the early days travellers would set out from William’s Landing on Grand Island for their Pictured Rocks expeditions. Often these were multi-day affairs with traditional campsites at Chapel Beach. There are campsites still there for modern-day hikers. Now it only takes a couple of hours to see the rocks. Back in 1892 it was much more of an adventure and took serious committment to arrive at the legendary Pictured Rocks.
Spray Falls in Pictured Rocks, 1892. This picture could be taken today. Very little has changed with Spray Falls over the years.
Journey on the Tahquamenon River – An adventure in Paradise we can all share
A Point North
Paradise, Michigan is mostly known for being the home of Tahquamenon Falls and the gateway to Whitefish Point and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Most visitors check these two major attractions out and then head off to other parts of the U.P. The one thing that is overlooked is the mighty Tahquamenon River itself.
The Tahquamenon cuts through the woods and rock defining the Paradise region. Millions of gallons of water pass along its shores and it was used extensively for logging during the lumber boom. Now it is ideal for a days adventure on the water.
At the mouth of the Tahquamenon River there is a state park that is mostly overlooked. Nestled on the banks of the Tahquamenon, this campground has excellent access to the river. Located 3 miles south of Paradise, this place can be the base to an adventure you will never forget.
The marina and dock at the Tahquamenon River Mouth Campground. Lake Superior can be seen on the horizon.
There is approximately 11 miles of river between the lower Tahquamenon Falls and the mouth of the river at Lake Superior. There are campgrounds at both ends of this stretch, besides the Tahquamenon Mouth campground, there is the Lower Falls Campground. The river is all big and wide water and the Public Access Marina at the mouth can accomodate small to medium craft with motors. My personal preference is paddling but I will admit when I did it, I was not alone and we had a small motor on a canoe for going upstream against the current.
Morning on the Tahquamenon River. It doesn’t get more perfect than this.
Around the mouth of the river, the river is wide and moves slow. There is large regions of wetlands and marshes. Wildlife abounds here and opportunities for photographers are frequent all year. There is also great fishing through here though anywhere on the river is good for that sport.
I shot a picture of this merganzer as it swam past our canoe.
The trip upstream can take some time against the current. Which is why I suggest having a campsite at both parks. The other option is that there is a paddlers launch at the Lower Falls Campground. This only works for kayaks and canoes. There is no launch here for larger craft. But from here you will be paddling with the current. Drop in here, paddle to the mouth and your waiting campsite in just a few hours.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls – North Fall – The lower falls are split by a small island and fall in two separate falls
It must be noted that when near the falls the water is turbulent and can be unpredictable. This can also be said if you choose to launch from here, be aware the water is swift and deep.
Lower Tahquamenon Falls – South Fall – Though these falls don’t have the size of the famous Upper Falls, they have their own unique beauty.
Though both of these campgrounds are public along with many acres along the river, but, there are many places along the river that is private and should be respected. I truly enjoyed my trip up and down the river. Many parts of the river have the look and feel of the deep primordial wilderness that once dominated the Upper Peninsula. It is easy to picture the Natives and the Voyageurs paddling the river when the lands were still undisturbed. There was a small trading post and settlement at the mouth of the river long ago. The Native Americans used the Tahquamenon as a main route for trading and travel. They portaged the falls.
Fishing the Tahquamenon offshore from the Mouth Campground
The Tahquamenon River is a nice low key adventure that most ages can enjoy. It should be mentioned that there are rental cabins at the Tahquamenon Mouth Campground and at the Lower Falls. I’ve rented these cabins and they are nice, worth every penny after a long day on the river. For more information on the area: http://www.paradisemichigan.org/
The Black Range Mountains are part of the Gila National Forest. The road above, New Mexico 152, runs between Caballo and Silver City through the heart of the Black Range Mountains crossing the Continental Divide. The drive is amazing and dangerous. Tight hairpin curves and sheer drop cliffs where ditches should be makes this an exciting drive.
The Emory Pass reaches and altitude of nearly 9000 feet and is breathtaking. It is named after William Henry Emory who crossed the Black Range in 1846 on the way with the Army of the West which marched from New Mexico to California to liberate the Californians from the Spanish. For the record many of the Californians did not want to be liberated and rose up and nearly defeated the American intruders.
There are over 3 million acres in the Gila National Forest. It encompasses the entire Black Range and is as rugged of a mountain range as any. Part of the national forest is known as the Leopold Aldo Wilderness Area. It comprises nerly 300k acres and includes much of the Continental Divide in this region.
Leopold Aldo was born in 1887 and fell in love with the outdoors at an early age. He eventually went to Yale Forest School and joined the U.S. Forest Service which had just been established in Arizona and New Mexico. In 1922 he developed a plan to manage the Gila National Forest as a wilderness area, the first of its kind. A few years later he wrote the first textbook on wildlife management. He became the first wildlife manager in the nation. He died from a heart attack fighting a neighbor’s grass wildfire in 1948.
At the top of the pass is the Continental Divide. A hiking path runs the ridge that makes up the divide for 30 miles. The hike meanders through the depths of the Black Range where legends of lost gold and stories of Apache wars abound. The Apaches used these mountains regularly before they were driven out.
This is the view from the top of the pass at the Continental Divide. There is a pullout here and this is a sight that shouldn’t be missed. I got out here and the smell of pine and melting snow made me feel at home. It smelled like the Upper Pennsula of Michigan.
The Continental Divide Hiking Trail, a rough and treacherous trail. Not for the faint of heart.
Passing the Divide, streams run to the west and the melting snow is feeding the mountain streams. This is one of the origins of the Gallinas River. Driving down the other side of the pass, the stream grows as the elevation drops.
The speed through here is slow. When the say 15 miles an hour for a curve, heed it. This is a place where going into a ditch puts your vehicle in the top of a 40 foot tree. It takes time to negotiate this road with hairpins and S-curves. The beauty is magnificent and worth the drive.
This picture is looking back at the Black Range from the West. Back down in the desert lands, the trip almost seems like a dream, the wondrous world that exists in the Emory Pass, is behind, but it will be there for the next time I decide I need a fix for the Black Range Mountians.