Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 3: Miners Castle and Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Miners Castle seen from the first overlook. You can actually walk down until you are practically on top of it, but the views from there are not nearly as impressive. The lake almost appears calm me it was not!

At the base of the castle is a hole cut through the rock. The waves kept crashing through this and shooting out the other side in a rather dramatic example of Mother's Nature's furry.

Looking out over the edge at the waves and windswept leaves...brrrrrr.

Our second half of Day 3 of my trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was spent driving to Miners Castle. This sandstone rock formation is easily accessible by car and a short walk to the many viewing platforms that dot the area. As you will see from the pictures, the gale that had started the day before was in full form and the weather was very cold and windy. The waves crashed on and through the rocks and the beach was torrent of relentless waves. After traveling all that way, we were not about to kept indoors by an "itty bitty" autumn storm, seven one that blew our knit caps from our heads and made me wish our rental cabin came with a hot tub. A Starbucks would have sufficed too, but such beacons of civilization are very scarce in the UP.

Looking down on Miner's Beach from the trail up from the castle. There is a trail down to the beach, but you can also drive, which we did on this trip because of the blustery weather.

Miners Beach from the west end near the parking lot

Wave crash on the shoreline of Miners Beach

Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii). I chased this specimen down the beach for quite a ways. He was very timid and at one point became trapped between me and my two companions. Avoiding the frigid lake waters, it finally scurried on the fastest moving legs I have ever seen to get around us.

On a warmer day, Miners Beach would be a wonderful place to linger. It is romantic in its petite size and secluded feel (OK, this might be a stretch considering that only us crazy Coloradans were out and summer might just bring the mobs).

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