Tahquamenon Falls & Pictured Rocks, August 2000

Day 5

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Click here for map, mileage and trail elevation information - Tahquamenon Falls
Click here for map, mileage and trail elevation information - Pictured Rocks

Friday morning, our last day of hiking, started off with more nice weather and sunshine. After breakfast we loaded up the backpacks one final time, double-checked the campsite for items we may have forgotten and headed down the trail. Over the course of the day we again passed by some awesome-looking cliffs. I had been to Pictured Rocks earlier this summer with my wife, it was one of our stops in the U.P. when we went away for our anniversary, but we had taken the boat cruise. It was cool to see the same areas of the lakeshore from a different vantage point. I remembered seeing hikers on the trail near the cliff edges while on the cruise and thinking about how small they looked from far below in the water. Now I was on the trail looking down at the same boat and its passengers, thinking the same thing from up here. The other nice thing about being up this high is the view of Lake Superior. From atop these rocky bluffs I could see many small rocks in the crystal clear, blue water below. The rocks had probably broken off and rolled down into the lake over the years. Farther away from the shore it was still possible to see to the bottom of the lake even though it was much deeper. It was also interesting to see how the water color changed from light and medium shades of blue and green to deep shades of blue where the water all of a sudden became deeper as the lake bottom disappeared from sight.

The other thing we noticed was the lack of any wildlife. Although I was hoping to see a bear (not necessarily up close and personal) or something else significant and exciting, we saw nothing. Nothing that is, except for chipmunks. Chipmunks were all over the place. Every time we heard something rustling the twigs and leaves it was a chipmunk. We hardly even saw any birds during this hike. It would have been nice to at least see a raccoon or fox or something, anything but another chipmunk! I did hear two animals fighting over something in the middle of the night when we were staying at the Coves camp site. At probably 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. I was awakened by a death-like growling, for lack of better terminology. I could hear two animals racing around the ground not too far from the tent. It was pretty obvious that it was not a bear, but whatever the animals were they were sure to wake the dead with their incessant fighting and growling. It sounded like it was coming from the area near the bear pole but it was too dark to see anything even if I hadn't been too tired to poke my face out of the tent for a look. This noise went on for probably 20 minutes or so until they finally left each other alone and wandered into the distance.

One of the roughest areas of the trail today was the section just before arriving at Miner's Castle. We hiked quite a distance along very sandy portions of the trail near Miner's Beach. It was difficult hiking because it required much more effort and stamina to hike through sand while wearing boots and heavy packs. We took a couple brief rest stops along the beach because it became exhausting. After a while we could tell we were getting close to Miner's Castle because we could hear voices in the distance and we began to see more people wearing non-hiking apparel. Also, the trail in this area transformed from dirt and gravel to asphalt. We walked around and saw Miner's Castle from two different areas. One was from the "castle" area and the other was a short walk away where the entire formation is visible from a scenic overlook as shown in this picture. After a short time here we headed back to the van and began the drive back home. Another great hiking trip was over.

Miles covered today: 4.9
Total trip miles: 29.1

If you'd like to learn more about Pictured Rocks then visit some of these links:

National Park Service Website For Pictured Rocks
Kenneth Knight's Pictured Rocks Trip - September 2000
Beth's Pictured Rocks Trip Logs
Photos Of Pictured Rocks
Jim's Pictured Rocks Trip

This page last updated on 02-25-2016 @ 11:22 AM