Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vacation in the Upper Penisula of Michigan

Click on the image if you want to see the major locations from the trip.

I, and two friends, just returned from a week long trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We started in the far western side near Silver City, migrated to Shelter Bay near Munising, stayed on Mackinac Island, and cruised up to Sault (pronounced “soo”) St. Marie.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a rarely visited track of hard wood forest that is bordered on the north by Lake Superior and the south by Wisconsin and Lake Michigan. It is sparsely populated, contains only a couple larger urban centers, but contained some of the best kept roads I have seen anywhere. This is amazing considering their seriously harsh winters. The people were amazingly friendly and went out of their way to assist us in our travels. One of my friends grew up in the Midwest and indicated this was the norm. I have a new respect for Midwest values!

We chose the UP for the fall color. I have never been to an area of the country with hard woods and the UP’s color display did not disappoint. More than one scream was elicited by the vibrant red maples, which were just hitting their peak.

The primary airport in the UP is south of Marquette. The flight arrived at 6:00 pm and it was a two-hour drive to Silver City. We were advised to pick up our groceries near Marquette because the infrastructure was limited in Silver City. This was good advice and I wish we had also picked up supplies to cook dinner because there was only one restaurant in Silver City and its food less than pleasant. It was not until our last night in Marquette that we found a wine bar (Latitudes) that not only had a marvelous wine selection but also great food and service that exceeded even Midwest standards. After a week of unremarkable repasts, Latitudes was like stumbling onto Shangri-La, wholly unexpected, and an oasis in the wilderness.

Bordering Lake Superior, the air in the UP is damp and windy. Even though we had brought lots of winter-level layers, there were several days where we were butt-numbing cold. I can’t imagine what it would feel like in February. There was a 3-day gale while we were there, which made Lake Superior rage. Tell me this is not an ocean? I kept calling it that. It did rain during this period but not enough to prevent us from getting out and hiking. It did prevent long sojourns on the beach or on the decks of our cute Michigan cabins.

It was hunting season while we were there and every creature from the lowest newt to the mighty black bear was in hiding. We saw a few birds, a bunch of bald eagles, and a couple of deer and that was it. There are statues of Moose everywhere but very few real ones. I think their existence is anecdotal.

The natives of the UP call themselves Yoopers. There are independent, proud Americans and they should be. It takes a hearty soul to live there. We ran into one gal who said she moved to Marquette because there was not enough snow in Wisconsin!

I am working on my photos from the trip and will post them hike by hike, drive by drive. Stay tuned.

Index of Posts:

1 comment:

Shellmo said...

I'm working my way thru your posts of your U.P. vacation - I am loving this! Only the past 2 years have my husband & I have started to venture to more areas in the U.P. - it's beautiful