|Eagle Harbor lighthouse on the Keweenaw Peninsula|
|Sunset from our Munising campground|
Both in Hancock and here in Munising we are staying in campgrounds owned and operated by the cities in order to bring in the tourists. These are surprisingly nice camping facilities in surprisingly nice places. Both campgrounds are right on Lake Superior and have spacious, grassy campsites. The only drawback is the lack of sewer hookups, but for a stay of only two or three days at a time, we can live with that. Our current campground has its own sandy beach about 100 yards from our front door. The sun heats up the water near the shoreline so that it is reasonably swimmable and we have taken advantage of this. It is cold getting in, but certainly no colder than the Pacific Ocean at Newport or Huntington Beaches. But on a sunny summer day in California you compete with thousands of people for beach space. Here, we were practically by ourselves.
|Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore|
Fourteen miles of the coastline consists of sandstone cliffs rising up to 200 feet above the water line. Most of the sandstone is the Munising Formation which is about 500 million years old and soft, but the top layer, the Au Train formation, is younger and, most importantly, harder and forms a protective cap over the softer rock below. The erosive action of the lake cuts back into the softer stone until an overhang gets too heavy and a section will come crashing down. This keeps the cliff faces nearly vertical. Groundwater seeps down through the sandstone carrying minerals with it and some of this seeps out through the cliff faces where the water evaporates, leaving behind mineral deposits. This creates colored streaks on the rock that people think makes them look painted. The colors depend on which minerals predominate in a given area, iron (red), manganese (black-white), limonite (yellow-brown) or copper (pink-green). Close to the water line the wave action of the lake, particularly during winter storms, gouges out numerous small and a few large sea caves and some natural arches. Overall, this creates a shoreline of breathtaking beauty.
|Obviously not us|
|About 60 feet long with two observation levels.|
Look at it now, barely a trickle coming down the cliff side here in Michigan. Oh how the mighty have fallen. We could barely stand looking at it from embarrassment. Hopefully Bridal Veil Falls will now quietly retire and avoid further deterioration.
|Bridal Veil Falls|
Overall, we really enjoyed the tour. If you're ever in this area you should absolutely not miss seeing the National Lakeshore one way or another. We thought if we ever came back we might invest the extra bucks and rent a boat but there is no telling when that might be.
Bonus Pictured Rocks pictures:
|What most of the trip looked like from my seat|
|Numerous small caves near the water line|
|Lovers Leap Arch going out|
|Lovers Leap Arch coming back|
|The Ojibwa saw the face of The Great Spirit in this cliff face|
|Tour boat by the partially restored East Bay Lighthouse|