Tahquamenon Falls


Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula encompasses approximately 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. The centerpiece of the park is the Tahquamenon River and its upper and lower Falls.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls is one of the largest falls east of the Mississippi. It drops nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over its precipice. 

The Tahquamenon River was made famous in the Longfellow poem, "Hiawatha." According to Indian lore, the origin of the name Tahquamenon is attributed to the water's amber color. In modern day it is often often called "The Rootbeer Falls." The color is attributed to tannic acid produced by decaying hemlocks, cedars, and spruces along the river's banks. 

Reaching Tahquamenon Falls is an easy drive along M-123. The highway loops from Highway M-28 through Paradise, Michigan.

There is a restaurant and gift shop located at the Upper Falls. Originally a logging camp, "Camp 33," the building is a replica of the original camp. There is a large deck with an outdoor fireplace and places to sit and relax. By far the biggest surprise for me was the fine dining and the micro brewery! I can testify that both are excellent!

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a 35 mile stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline in Michigan's lower peninsula. The sand bluffs tower 450 feet above the Great Lake and it is a sight guaranteed to take your breath away.

The park was established primarily for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations and ancient glacial phenomena. The lakeshore also includes an 1871 lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations. and over 100 miles of hiking trails. 

In 2011 tens of thousands of GOOD MORNING AMERICA viewers voted Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore as the number one most beautiful place in America.Contenders in the top ten included Newport, Rhode Island; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Point Reyes, California; Aspen, Colorado; Sedona, Arizona; Destin, Florida; Asheville, North Carolina; Lanikai Beach, Hawaii; and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore visitor center is in Empire, MI., about 25 miles from Traverse City. Most people visit the park via car, but you can fly to Traverse City and rent a car to drive to the park.Hardy adventurers like to run down the sand dunes to the beach, but, I warn you, it is a long climb back up, and many who attempt the climb suffer heat exhaustion. Me? I'm just glad I brought my camera.

Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore is located along the northwest coast of the lower peninsula of Michigan in Leelanau County and Benzie County. This United States national lakeshore is named after a Chippewa legend of the sleeping bear.

According to the legend, long ago a great famine spread over the land. A mother bear and two famished cubs in Wisconsin gazed wistfully across the great lake at Michigan, the land of plenty. Finally hunger drove them into the water and they launched out toward the opposite shore.

After miles of swimming, the two cubs grew weary. With only twelve miles to go to reach Michigan the mother's heart was broken when she saw one babe sink and drown. With the remaining cub she struggled toward the beach, but in two more miles the second of her beloved cubs perished.

The mother reached the beach alone and crept to a resting place where she lay facing her lost loved ones. As she gazed, two beautiful islands slowly rose to mark the graves of the cubs. Impressed by the mother's determination, the Great Spirit Manitou created two islands (North and South Manitou Islands) to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear. 
Sand Point Beach is a popular destination within Picture Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. With its white sands, shallow water, and panoramic view of Munising Bay, it is a great spot for walking and watching the sunset. Swimmers often find the shallow water bay warmer than other lakeshore beaches.

Sand Point Beach is located about four miles northeast of Munising, Michigan, at the end of Sand Point Road. In 2007 The Weather Channel named Sand Point Beach as one of the 'Top Five Summer Beaches in America."

A short walk down the beach to the east is a former United States coast guard station. This historic station operated from 1933 to 1960. In 1966 it was donated to the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore and today serves as the park headquarters.

As my daughter and I walked along the beach in front of the coast guard station we found the tattered wooden remains of an unknown boat wreck. My photographer side was delighted I had brought along my camera at the same time my fiction writer side was captivated.  I could not help but wonder what the history was of the lonely wooden wreck. Who was the owner? What was the story of the boat's demise? Were lives lost? We will never know.
Tannery Falls is a waterfall on Tannery Creek located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula at the western border of Picture Rocks National Lakeshore. The Falls are also sometimes called the Rudy M. Olson Memorial Falls because the grave site of Rudolf Olsen can be seen along the trail. The falls drop 40 feet into an impressive sandstone canyon that reveals colors Picture Rocks are known for. There is a cave behind the falls and you can walk behind the falls without getting wet. 

Tannery Falls is one of the less-advertised and less-maintained falls in the area and is a little tricky to find. It is near Sand Point Beach. Heading east out of Munising, Michigan, take highway H-58. Turn left onto Washington St. (which becomes Sand Point Road), then pull over to the side of the road and park right away, near the small brick utility building. Directly across H-58 is a small wooden staircase. Go up the staircase and follow the woodland trail. 

The rustic walk alone is worth the trip! My daughter claims it is like being in an Indiana Jones movie.
Sand Point Beach is located just four miles northeast of Munising, Michigan, and is within Picture Rocks National Lakeshore.  It is situated at the end of Sand Point Road.  This gem of a beach is very popular spot for tourists and residents alike.  Also, Sand Point is a great place to watch sunsets. The Weather Channel named Sand Point Beach as one of the "Top Five Summer Beaches in America."
The Straits of Mackinac is the narrow waterway separating Michigan's upper peninsula from its lower peninsula and connecting two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Five miles wide and 120 feet deep, the Straits is known as one of the busiest crossroads for shipping in the Great lakes and historically has long been considered hazardous to sailing vessels. Even before European explorers, Ojibwa lit the shore with fires for water travelers.

A fog signal was built at the Straits in 1890, and Congress authorized the building of a lighthouse in 1892. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was constructed of ashlar limestone and the attached keeper's dwelling was constructed of brick trimmed in limestone. The double-walled cylindrical tower has an outside diameter of 13 feet 4 inches and is 45 feet tall. The tower was originally outfitted with a fourth order Fresnel Lens.

With the completion of the Mackinac Bridge in 1957 there was no longer a need for the lighthouse, since the bridge has lights on at night. In 1960, the lighthouse property was purchased by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission. The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 1969. 

Today the lighthouse is open to the public. Admission is through the fog signal building, which houses the museum store, and an admission fee is charged. Pets are welcome. 

On my most recent visit I was lucky to be there at sunrise and was impressed by the beach views! This is surely a "do not miss" Pure Michigan destination.
My Response to #MyWritingProcess Blog Hop

by Terri Lyndie

My Writing Process is an ongoing blog hop where a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process and then is asked to pass the baton to two more authors. I was invited by author Susan Ward. Please visit her page and discover a fresh new voice at http://www.susanwardbooks.com/.

My Writing Process in 4 Answers

What am I working on?

I am writing WOLF EYE ALIBI, the sequel to WOLF EYE SLY and the second book of my Wolf Eye Lighthouse Series. The series takes place in the fictional town of Wolf Eye in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The stories center upon an old lighthouse that has stood upon a rocky point along the shores of Lake Superior since 1870. The genre is romantic comedy, and I am having quite a bit of fun writing ALIBI. The town is full of eccentric characters, and there is one particular scoundrel that, although he is the villain of the town, is also my target for humorous situations. Each book ties in with the last and there is a mystery woven throughout the series. I am enjoying writing Alibi so much that I often wake up laughing in the middle of the night over plot ideas.   

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I have been an avid reader of the romance genre since the 1970’s and I have read many authors of both historical and contemporary romance. My work differs from others in the genre in that, although my series is contemporary, readers often tell me it feels like a historical romance. The town is old-fashioned, the local customs are quaint, and my hero Jamie Lord has many similarities of a wealthy landowner from the Victorian era. Interestingly, this blending of the old with the new allows me to use creative license and the result is quite unique. In a future book in my series I plan to jump back in time and tell the love story that is a legacy for the future characters. A romance occurred in the past that is the root of the mystery that remains in the future.

Why do I write what I do? 

Romance makes my heart sing. I love romantic songs, and I find romantic movies extremely entertaining.  In the 1980’s I was captivated watching the banter and sexual tension between Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis in the television series, “Moonlighting.” I adore romantic Cary Grant movies. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman starred in a historical romance movie, “Far and Away,” and I still sigh at the ending although I have watched it a dozen times. Drew Barrymore in “Never Been Kissed” is a prime example of the type of plots I like to write. As I write my endings I can hear the music playing just like when Drew's character, Josie, is kissed in the stadium by Sam while the crowd cheers. I am laughing as I share that, but it is so true.

How does my writing process work?

I believe that true writing happens during re-writing. I have never written any prose that could not be improved upon the next day when I took a cold look at it. I try to write every day, without fail. I find that if too much time lapses between creative writing sessions I tend to lose self-confidence and “get out of the groove.” By writing every day, first thing in the morning, with my coffee cup beside me and while sitting in my comfortable chair, I settle quickly into a productive day of writing and I am the better for it.

So, that’s my writing process! Next I pass the baton to these accomplished writers:

Salem Archer, author of Moondance in Red http://www.salemarcher.com Salem Archer recently released her debut romance novel, Moondance in Red. Born and raised in western North Carolina, she still lives in her home town with her husband and one spoiled little dog. She earned her master’s degree in English literature from Appalachian State University, and has worked in varying fields—everything from construction to education. She says, “Writing satisfies a primal need in me to create. In hindsight, I realize I’ve always been a writer. I’ve got countless songs and poems tucked away in notebooks, and who knows how many novels I’ve started. For a long time, I was just too scared to put myself out there. But, after much introspection, I came to the conclusion that life is too short to hide my writing away in my underwear drawer. An Emily Dickinson, I am not! Besides, I need more room for my bras.” Salem is currently working on the second book of her Moondance Trilogy.

and to…

Rachel Blaufeld is a social worker/entrepreneur/blogger turned author. Fearless about sharing her opinion, Rachel captured the ear of stay-at-home and working moms on her blog, BacknGrooveMom, chronicling her adventures in parenting tweens and inventing a product, often at the same time. She has also blogged for The Huffington PostModern Mom, and StartupNation.

Turning her focus on her sometimes wild-and-crazy creative side, it only took Rachel two decades to do exactly what she wanted to do—write a fiction novel. Now she spends way too many hours in local coffee shops plotting her ideas. Her tales may all come with a side of angst and naughtiness, but end lusciously.

Rachel lives around the corner from her childhood home in Pennsylvania with her family and two dogs. Her obsessions include running, coffee, icing-filled doughnuts, antiheroes, and mighty fine epilogues.

Please visit Salem and Rachel’s websites on July 14th for the continuation of our blog hop!

Miner's Falls is another popular destination in Picture Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Located on Miner's River in the western portion of the park, this spectacular waterfall drops 40 feet over a sandstone cliff into a rocky gorge.

To get there follow Highway H-58 east of Munising, Michigan, until you reach Miner's Castle Road (Highway H-13.) Drive about 3.5 miles north to a sign and a dirt road to the right. The dirt road is less than a mile and leads to a parking area.

Pets are not allowed on the trail to Miner's Falls but are allowed in the parking lot and picnic area. The trail is approximately 20 minutes (the hike is 1.2 miles round trip.) The walk through the forest is fairly level most of the way. I visited at the end of the May and it was a very pretty sight to see wild blue Forget-Me-Nots decorating the forest floor and the sides of the trail. You can hear the roar of the waterfall well before you reach your destination.

Two viewing platforms facilitate photography of the falls from different angles. There are 77 steps to reach the lower platform but the walk is worth the view. It is a well constructed wooden deck with room for your camera tripod.

I have visited this waterfall several times over the years. Whether in the spring with wildflower forests or in the fall with autumn colors, you will not be disappointed to view this Pure Michigan destination. 
Picture Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has many waterfalls. One very popular waterfall located at the western portion of Picture Rocks is Munising Falls.

Munising Falls plunge 50 feet over a sandstone cliff into a shady canyon. The exposed rock of the cliff is crescent in shape and has colors that Picture Rocks are known for. Ferns and wildflowers decorate the trail leading to the falls. The picturesque location is romantic and is a popular site for weddings.

Water volume of Munising falls is most plentiful during spring thaw and late fall. In the summer months Munising Creek diminishes but does not completely dry up. During winter the falls freeze and form an ice column that is popular with ice climbers.

Munising Falls are located within the city limits of Munising, Michigan. From downtown Munising, head east on Highway H-58 and turn left on Sand Point Road. The parking lot to the falls is across the street from Munising Memorial Hospital.The short and well maintained walk is fully accessible to people with disabilities. Dogs are allowed. There are rustic hiking trails in multiple directions so there are opportunities to view the falls from various angles. Don't forget your camera! 

I'll never forget my first sight of this spectacular waterfall. I was astounded that this natural splendor existed inside city limits! I have returned many times to view the falls and the sight still takes my breath away.

Picture Rocks National Lakeshore is America's first national lakeshore. It is located along the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula between Munising and Grand Marais. The park extends 42 miles and covers 73,236 acres, offering pristine beaches and over 100 miles of hiking trails through hardwood forests.

Spectacular multicolored sandstone cliffs rise 200 feet above lake level and include archways, waterfalls, and sand dunes. Rock formations are naturally sculptured into shallow caves and formations that resemble castle turrets and human faces.

The colors of the cliffs are created by the large amounts of minerals in the rock. Groundwater leaches out of the rock and leaves streaks of color. Iron deposits red color, manganese deposits black-white color, limonite deposits yellow-brown color, and copper deposits pink-green color.

The cliffs are dangerous to canoes and kayaks, etc. Pierre Esprit Radisson, a fur trader in 1658, noted that his Native American companions offered tobacco to the local spirit of the cliffs when they made the risky passage in their birch bark canoes.

The photo below is Miner's Castle, Picture Rocks most famous formation. Historically Miner's Castle included two turrets until 2006 when one of the turrets collapsed into Lake Superior. I remember in the 1970's watching hikers climb out upon the treacherous turrets. If you visit Miner's Castle today there is a short walking trail to a viewing platform and hikers are permitted no further.