DC & Midwest Trip | August 2019 | Days 7 & 8
After saying goodbye to Curtis’ family, we began our multi-day trip around the UP headed for his sister’s home in Minnesota. When considering this route, we knew that several of the things we like to go out of our way to see were in this area, including both Michigan and Wisconsin’s high points and Whispering Giant statues, as well as some national park administered sites such as Pictured Rocks and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. While we would’ve loved to do it all, all these things just weren’t close enough together to knock out without lots of driving time, which would take away from time spent with family. Knowing we would like to someday repeat this trip, we decided to focus on Michigan’s sites and save Wisconsin’s for our next trip.
We drove MI 72 to 131, then took 32 to interstate 75, knocking out 3 more counties. Michigan’s lower peninsula is starting to look more complete on our map! We crossed the Mackinac Bridge and followed highway 2 along the Northern side of Lake Michigan. For the most part, we didn’t make many stops, except for one letterbox and a short hike at the Cut River Bridge Roadside Park in Epoufette. We also made an alteration to our route so that we could drive through Curtis, Michigan.
That night, we had reservations at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Beaver Lake campground. We arrived and set up our tent, then went right out for a 3 mile sunset hike to the shore of Lake Superior. We sat for a bit and enjoyed the stillness of the lake, then hurried back and made some rice and kielbasa on our stove for dinner. (In case you’re wondering how we had all our camping supplies from Hawaii, the Navy allowed Curtis to bring 2 checked bags…but they didn’t specify that it had to be for uniforms or anything so we just packed our camping supplies. 🙂 )
It rained a little off and on through the night, but thankfully not too much because we had forgotten our tent’s cover. We packed up early and continued driving through the park. It was still overcast, but we wanted to fit in a longer hike while still in the park, so we packed our umbrellas, put on our rain jackets, and set out to hike to Chapel Rock and Chapel Beach. There was a 10 mile hike we could’ve done, but with the weather and time we had we settled for a 7 mile loop where we enjoyed multiple views of Chapel Falls, the rock and lakeshore, and just the quiet trail through the woods in general. We found a few letterboxes and enjoyed the easy trail.
To finish our time here, we went to the park office to get our cancellation stamps and walk the short boardwalk trail to Miners Falls. We had a great time here and enjoyed how quiet the park was in contrast to Sleeping Bear Dunes. If we were to ever come back, it would be to either kayak and enjoy the views from the water, or it would be when we’re up there backpacking the North Country National Scenic Trail. We’ll see. 😉