I finally got out of the house to try and clear my head a bit today, it worked a little. I set out to find a path through an area that I’ve never explored, the southern side of Lake Gratiot. I took a trail just north of Gay that ran along the Big Betsy River and toward Lake Gratiot. There was a Y in the trail so I took the right/north turn, that ended after a couple miles at a Conservancy, Gratiot Lake Conservancy. Walked down a short trail to the lake, what a nice view. There was a box with maps of the area hiking trails, they looked quite nice, though I wasn’t really ready for that type of thing, but I will be back some day. So I headed back and took the left of the Y. I didn’t end up going where I thought I would due to so many logging roads in the area, but I did end up coming out onto Gratiot Lake Rd. From there I headed up to Copper Harbor and back south along the shore and then back home.
The shore line from Copper Harbor south has always had a big draw on me. Ever since I was a kid riding with my dad in his International Harvester Scout, I felt at home in the Keweenaw. No matter where I have lived in my life, the Keweenaw has always felt like home, where I belong. I stopped in a usual spot for me, walked around, took some photos, and cried.
Anyway, once I got back to the main road south out of Eagle Harbor on US-41, I hit road construction, and a lot of it. They were redoing the road all the way from Mohawk to the south side of Calumet, and a long wait for a section that was one lane. I felt like I was waiting there for ever.
Superior Shore with Storms on the Horizon
Lake Superior Shore
Big Betsy River
It’s been over a month since I’ve been out to try and enjoy myself, and today I did, mostly anyway. I headed out Arvon Rd to Back Bear Rd and then on Peshekee Grade, knowing the end of Peshekee Grade is really crappy where it’s paved, but it’s still a nice drive. Along the way I stopped at Quartzite Falls, took a few photos and onward. Somewhere north of the Peshekee, I was driving along minding my own business, then started to notice my rear view mirrors getting dark, so I stopped. Got out to find I was being chased by a thunderstorm, and it was moving fast right at me.
Was good to get out, and it did some good to my head and soul, even if it was just a little bit.
Storm Chasing Me
Storm Clouds at Home
Not much happening today, just did some mowing. Hmm, mowing, it seems like I mow just about every day during summer. I guess that’s what I get for clearing away so much tall grasses and such. The only other thing besides work, was after dinner I sat out back with the dogs for a while. That was nice, nice and sunny and temp in the low 70s.
Here’s a photo from the other day while lost, so I guess it wasn’t a waste being lost, this was a really nice spot.
East Branch Huron River
Went out today to Big Falls along the East Branch Huron River. I’ve been here many times, but each time is a little different. One time there was even a tree lying the middle of the left fall. Somewhere between 20 – 25 years ago I found this waterfall completely by accident out two-tracking, then quite a few years later I went hunting for it without success. A few more years passed and bingo, found it again. Now that I live UP here, I frequent these falls at least once a year, if not more. After taking photos down in the usual spot, I decided to hike up river a ways. Wow, it’s beautiful just above the falls, but very difficult to get down to the rivers edge, which I didn’t, or couldn’t, do today. The bank down is steeper and maybe longer than the normal photo area. I did make it to the bank a little further up river, but it’s not as nice, not as rugged. Ah well, maybe next time.
After spending some time at the falls, I headed back to Black Creek Rd. and turned south knowing that eventually I would come out on Ravine River Rd. Well, that didn’t work out so well…I got lost. I made a turn that made a loop around and back to Black Creek Rd. Well in taking that loop, it bypassed the turn on Black Creek Rd. that needed to be taken, and that’s where I got lost, either finding a dead end or trails that looked mighty muddy and I wasn’t into getting covered in mud again, not this time. So, I ended up back-tracking and that’s when I saw the turn I missed by taking the detour loop.
Made it back to town, got a Jeep wash and went to Shopko for some curtains and a couple hanging plants, then home.
Big Falls – Right Side/Fall
Big Falls – Left Side/Fall
Right side of Big Falls with sun streaks from about half-way up the cliff that must be climbed down, then back up.
East Branch Huron River Just Below Big Falls
Update – 05.09.18 – Added a video of Upper Letherby Falls.
Headed out today to check out Letherby Falls with the spring runoff going on. I didn’t want to go too far and burn up too much gas, so I thought this a good idea, and it was. Once on Ravine River Rd., the road became a little rough but not big deal and the main reason for the roughness was all the logging going on in the area. Anyway, as I was about to pass over Ravine River I stopped to check out Ravine River Falls. These falls are generally small with just a trickle falling, but this time I made my first stop here. Was really quite nice. Next time I might venture further up the river as it looked quite pretty. So after taking a few photos there, I headed toward Letherby Falls. Well, the road changed big time right after crossing Ravine River. It got rutted and muddy. When I say muddy, I mean it. After a couple good mud holes I reached the parking spot for Letherby Falls. Parked the Jeep, changed into my Muck Boots and headed down to the falls. Slowly I crossed the river (good thing I brought my hiking poles for stability) to a little tiny island and sit up to take photos. Took a number of photos, enjoyed the view for awhile, and went back to the Jeep.
This is where the real muddy fun began. I’ve been on this road a number of times, but never this early in the season, and never with so much muddy, sloppy, gooey, make you get stuck mud. I traveled for a few miles, but there were a couple spots I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through, the mud was that deep and thick. So, knowing that it would be quite a ways before I would get to the other side of Mt. Avron, and the road wasn’t getting any better, I decided to turn around. When by myself, I don’t like getting into to much extreme with the Jeep, and not having a wench. This time through those same muddy spots, I put the Jeep into 4low and locked in the real differential. Wow, did that ever make a difference. The Jeep (Hank) went through that sticky gooey stuff like it was a drive through the park.
Well, I got back to L’Anse and went for a car wash. Ha, that didn’t do a damn thing to get the mud off, well, maybe some. Then went home.
P.S. I’ll be adding more photos to this post in the coming days.
Ravine River Falls
Ravine River Falls
Ravine River Falls. This one I tried in Bulb Mode on the camera. It turned out to be a 5 minute exposure.
Wide angle of Upper Letherby Falls
Bloodroot, one of the first wildflowers to blossom in the spring.
Was a nice day for a hike in one of my favorite areas, the Slate River near Quartzite Falls and a number of other falls up stream, including one of my favorite spots of all, Grand Staircase Falls.
I drove up Arvon Rd. to All Wood Rd, crossed the bridge and parked. I started off checking out Quartzite Falls, but it was still mostly frozen over still, so I hiked back up to the road and started heading up stream, this was my original plan anyway.
I followed a deer path knowing it would be packed down. Every time I happen to step off that path, I sank in the snow past my knee. Then as I rounded a bend in the river, there it was, my spot, Grand Staircase Falls. Took off my gear, took some photos and just relaxed.
Grand Staircase Falls – Slate River
Quartzite Falls is still mostly frozen over
Along the Slate River
My Hiking Path along the Slate River
Roads can be muddy this time of year
Today, finally today I was able to get out for a hike. It was oh so needed. I headed out to hike along the Slate River near Black Slate Falls and Quartzite Falls, but the river was still mostly iced over. Big disappointment. So, I headed up to the Huron River near Big Erick’s Falls.
I parked Hank (the Jeep) and started walking down river, stopping many times for photos in the usual spots, only this time I was able to walk out on the snow/ice a bit toward the middle of the river. That was pretty cool.
The temp was about 40°F, so I didn’t want to stop yet, as my plan was to hike a bit, so I carried on. There was a path to follow on top of the snow, yes on top, no sinking in. I followed the path stopping here and there for another photo or just to take it in. I hiked for about 2 miles down river until my foot was hurting too much and it looked like I might be heading into the thick, so I turned around and headed back.
All in all, was a nice hike and it sure is great to be out on the rivers and woods again.
Big Erick’s Bridge over the Huron River
Huron River hike path – Google Earth map.