We made it to the Upper Peninsula!!!
Before we get started, I guess I should clarify that no, there isn’t a spelling error in the title!
“Yooper” is the term for someone from the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan!
There’s your, “you learn something new everyday” fact.
Let’s get to it.
This is where it starts to feel like we really made it…
We started with a long stay at Brimley State Park, in the upper right hand corner of the peninsula, along the Canadian Border. This stop was special because we were celebrating Devon’s birthday and meeting up with his parents, Janie and Rink. Keep reading to hear about our trips biking around Mackinac Island and ROW BOATING in Tahquamenon Falls. Again, that was “Tahquamenon” pronounced like “phenomenon”! Duh, right!
Just a day before our reservation start date, I got a voicemail from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) saying our campground lost electric and would be refunding us $5/night of our stay.
We tried to scramble to find another place, but umm…. not the kinda place where there are alternative options. Also, this was the few days leading into 4th of July weekend.
It’s not that there was NO promise for electric, there was just a couple day delay for when they could expect it to come back….
Truthfully, a lot of our reasoning came from the weather. The temperature at night was supposed to be relatively cool so we really weren’t worried about sleeping with the windows open.
Though the weather was projected to be overcast, we had a beautiful drive into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to our campsite at Brimley State Park. While the other state parks (Mears, Interlochen and Aloha) were on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, Brimley was on Lake Superior. This is Lake Huron in front of me and Lake Michigan on the opposite side of the bridge. This picture was taken the day before our drive.
Let’s get to the Upper Peninsula already!
When we got into Brimley, we quickly unhooked the trailer from the car and made our way down to the water. It finally wasn’t raining! Devon didn’t have any luck fishing, but we’re pretty sure we got our first look at Canada! Remember these next couple pictures, it’s important for later!
On our own, Devon and I explored a little bit of Sault (pronounced Soo, like Sue) Sainte Marie. While were there we went to the Soo Locks, where ships pass through the Great Lakes and through Canada. The town was…….. interesting! We stopped at a brewery and had quite possible the most disgusting wings I’ve ever had in my life 🙂 So… here are pics of just the locks instead! The locks work like the Panama canal, in the sense that the water level changes to accommodate each boat’s size and the new water level. If you watch closely, you can see the ship is coming in!
After the worst wings ever, we drove up to Mission Hill’s scenic viewpoint over Spectacle Lake and Monocle Lake. There was supposedly a 3/4 hike along the mountainside but as we started, I told Devon we were just a liiiittle too close to the edge and a little too far in the middle of nowhere to continue… seriously, it was the kind of place where someone would kill you off, steal your car and run away!! Nonetheless, the overlook was beautiful and we got another amazing view of Canada just beyond Spectacle Lake in front of us.
The next day, we met up with Janie and Rink! Okay, cue those pictures from before that I told you to remember.
Here’s the view of Canada we woke up to 2 days later:
As the day went on, the clouds cleared. Janie and Rink met us at camp for a relaxing night by the fire, complete with grilled hotdogs and smores!
With the park not having electric, one of our campground neighbors explained that the park was quick to clear out. It was nice to enjoy the quiet of the campground, of course with the occasional generator humming in the background. The 4th of July was that upcoming weekend so we knew it wouldn’t stay like that for long.
The next day we decided we were going to check out Mackinac Island. Just a couple miles off shore, we took the 20 minute Star Line Ferry from St. Ignace over to the island. Fun fact about the island: there are no cars. So with that being said you can either opt to walk, bike, or ride a horse carriage! My excitement for the day skyrocketed when I saw the water.
Once we got our bearings on the island, we stopped for a DELICIOUS a lunch at The Great Turtle Brewery and Distillery. We had a table full of drinks and appetizers to split. With so many good looking options, we had to try a variety of dishes. To get your mouth watering, here’s a picture of their drink menu.
Ready to work off our full bellies, we rented bikes to take around the island! SOMEHOW, I even convinced Devon to take a tandem bike with me! Even with the 207 steps up to Arch Rock and other stops for picturesque moments, the whole 8 mile loop of the island only took us about an hour and half.
I really can’t stress enough how peaceful of a ride this was…minus the difficult parts of getting back on a tandem bike.
Can’t forget our steps up to Arch Rock! Here it is from the bottom…
Here it is from the top………….
As I post these pictures two weeks later, it’s still hard to believe that really is the color of the water.
So we can go ahead and get to Tahquamenon Falls, I’ll keep this last bit about Mackinac Island short and sweet.
Emphasis on the, “sweet”.
Okay now let’s talk Tahquamenon Falls.
and Devon’s 28th birthday!!!!!!
Unfortunately, the overcast days were back, but we still wanted to get out and do something fun.
We made our way an hour west of camp and explored the Tahquamenon Falls with viewing points of the lower and upper falls. The best part of the day though, was row boating across the river to hike the island trail.
Once we got to the island, it was clear people were going to find a spot to relax in the water. Whether wading in the pools or standing at the bottom of a waterfall, families all around the island were determined to stay cool.
After a couple hikes at the Lower Falls, we drove about 10 miles up the road to the the Upper Falls. Unlike most places we’ve been hiking, however, this trailhead had a food truck, ice cream shop, and full restaurant brewery! Of course, I failed to take a picture of any of these things, but TRUST ME, they were there!
We were all pretty tired from the before, and the clouds were starting to roll in so we headed on back to camp.
No birthday party would be complete without pizza, so we ordered from Superior Pizza and Subs.
It was, in fact, superior.
If you’re ever in the area, we can absolutely recommend the Superior Bread!
OOOO-WEEEE those jalapenos might getcha though!!
Our time in the Upper Peninsula is only just beginning. This is only one piece of the beauty it has to offer. Next stop is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for July 4th weekend.
Until next time,