DC and Midwest Trip | August 2019 | Days 8 & 9
Once finished with Pictured Rocks, we continued our drive heading West. After stopping at Culvers for lunch in Marquette, we drove West on US 41 up to L’Anse. We took Skanee Road into the L’Anse reservation, with our destination being the trailhead to Mount Arvon, the highest point in Michigan. The route to the peak is pretty well marked by small, light blue signs along the highway. When we turned off of Skanee Road, one of the first things we saw was a small shop that advertised “high pointer souvenirs” — they clearly knew how to cater to the people visiting this area!
The road to the trailhead/peak was a gravel road, not too hard on our rental car but we took it easy driving up there. The light blue signs helped us find our way, but Curtis had also done a lot of research and had screenshots of directions saved on his phone just in case. The road continues all the way up to the highest point, but we stopped at signs for the ‘trail’ so that we could say we hiked up.
In all honesty, the trail felt like it was just randomly added to appease people like us who prefer to hike to the high points. It seemed to meander around the woods for no rhyme or reason. There was a pretty waterfall towards the beginning of the trail, but most of the area was woods and swampland swarming with mosquitoes. The trail was well marked though — hapharzardly with blue blazes, surveyors tape, and spray paint marking trees 10 feet apart. That’s how random the trail was — they needed to mark so many trees to keep you on the right path!
Eventually, the trail ran into the road and ended abruptly, so we ended up road walking to the actual peak. There was one other family up there visiting from Wisconsin, and we exchanged pictures. After they left, we letterboxed, signed the logbook, and took some time to enjoy the “view.” When it came time to head back, we decided to walk the road down instead of the trail, and it was much more enjoyable. High point #17 complete! You can view our AllTrails recording here.
It was early evening at this point, so we made our way back to US 41, then took 141 continuing West. We found a campsite near Sidnaw in Ottawa National Forest and enjoyed a quiet night there.
On the radio, we heard the lows were supposed to drop down to 50 degrees. When we woke up, we were ashamed by how cold we felt — how could we be so weak?! But when we turned on the car at around 8:30, we saw the temperature was actually only 40 degrees, and we felt justified in how cold we were.
That morning we mostly focused on driving from there to Curtis’ sister’s house in Northern Minnesota, but made a couple stops along the way. First up, we stopped to see the Whispering Giant statue in Wakefield. Continuing into Wisconsin, we did a short hike on a nature trail in Brule River State Forest to find a letterbox planted by some friends in Arizona. When we made it to Minnesota, we stopped to grab a quick lunch in Duluth then attempted a letterbox in Enger Park. We were unsuccessful with our attempt, but still enjoyed the gardens and the tower with views over the town and Lake Superior.
Finally, we finished our drive to Lydia and Jeff’s home, and spent the rest of the day (and following morning) playing with our adorable nieces, Grace and Kylie. It was our first time meeting Kylie, who is now 18 months old, and the last time we saw Grace was when she was only 6 months old, and now she was almost 4! Clearly we have missed out on a lot, but both girls were excited to see us nonetheless and weren’t shy at all around us, and we enjoyed getting to know them both!