Day Three: We had big plans for day three, but rain and muddy road/trail conditions made us reassess. The main road through Pictured Rocks is paved (H58), but some of the roads to trailheads are not. The Visitors Center warned us not to try the unpaved road to Little Beaver Lake trailhead. It was not in great condition, and she did not recommend it for our low clearance wheelchair van. She thought we could make the Chapel Falls trailhead if it wasn’t actively raining. As we started out, drizzle and fog greeted us.
We decided to drive the length of H58 and check out some of the roadside scenery, along with the City of Munising, Michigan. There were many waterfalls:
In Munising we stopped at a craft beer bar that called itself a brewpub. Lunch was pasties, an Upper Peninsula local food once served to miners. It’s a semi-circle pastry filled with meat and vegetables. I washed mine down with an “I’d Cry Over Spilt Milk Stout”, brewed by Pictured Rocks Brewing Company. Julia had an Northeast-inspired IPA called “The Fallen” by the same brewer. The beers were worthy.
That afternoon, the weather still wasn’t cooperating, so we headed back to Grand Marais and spent the afternoon reading our books. We made a repeat visit to the Grand Marais Tavern for dinner and turned in early. The weather forecast was for better weather on the next day.
Day Four: This turned out to be a huge day in some good ways and bad ways.
We got up early, ate breakfast and drove to the Chapel Falls Trailhead. The five mile unpaved road was wet and rutted. Potholes were many. I wished for my Nissan pickup with 4 wheel drive, but the Sienna made it slowly through.
The trail started off dry, and Chapel Falls was beautiful. The trail soon became more difficult.
The closer we hiked to Lake Superior, the wetter the trail became. It seemed like we were hiking in a creek at times. Eventually, we prevailed and came out at Chapel Beach. Here, there is an amazing tree that was still growing after the arch supporting its root structure fell away. Notice the roots stretching from left to right to the soil on the other side of the fallen arch, still nourishing the tree.
Between Chapel Beach and Mosquito Beach, we hiked high above the shoreline on bluffs eroding into the lake. Mosquito Beach was more rock than beach, and there were few mosquitoes (a pleasant surprise).
The day became warmer as we hiked from Mosquito Beach to Mosquito Falls, and the mosquitoes did begin to arrive. A short hike up to the parking lot, and our ten-mile circle route was completed. The day was not over. For the evening, we scheduled a sunset boat ride on Pictured Rocks Cruises. That post, which includes an unexpected adventure home, will be detailed in Part 3.