2006 --Phase 2 Michigan upper peninsula


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 We continued our stay in Ironwood after Judy biked into town.  She decided to quit hiking for a while so we went into tourist mode.   We visited Hiawatha as a geocache site.  This one wasn't hard to find.  You could see it from 1/2 mile away. 

2006-02-02.JPG (41424 bytes) The whole upper peninsula is wilderness of one type or another, either State Park or forest, National  Forest or some kind of preserve.  We spent one day driving in the Porcupine Mountain area.  Copper Peak didn't have any snow or even any people around.  The ski lift is on the left of the picture and the top of the ramp can be seen at the top. 

2006-02-04a.jpg (38440 bytes)  Further north is the Black River area in the Ottawa National Forest that has many waterfalls.  We hiked to all 5 of them. Each waterfall had a parking lot.  The closest was maybe a 100 yard walk.  The furthest was 3/4 mile.  What they didn't tell you was how far down.  At one of them I counted 192 steps.  That's 12 stories down and then back up!!  On the last fall of the day I stayed up top and let Judy go by herself.   The Great Conglomerate Falls is on the left and Potawatomi Falls is on the right.

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The next day we covered the next area east thru Ontonagon.  It has a harbor on Lake Superior and was where a 3708 pound copper boulder that sparked the copper rush of the mid-1800's was found.  We had lunch and visited the Museum.

At the Adventure Mining Company I did the underground tour.  They drove us thru the ruins of the facility in a neat ATV.  It's a Swiss army troop carrier.  Judy didn't go on the underground portion so it was just the guide and me.  Judy went back to the gift shop to wait.  The owner had a new puppy.  Judy petted it and it peed on her foot.   

The mine operated from 1850-1920.  There is still lots of copper there but now it's cheaper to get it from the strip mines out west.  All of the old mines in the area are tunnel type mines.  The work was very dangerous and expensive.  Most were closed in the 1920's.  Now there are mining ruins everywhere. 


On 6/2 we moved to the Ojibwa Casino in Baraga.  They have 12 full hookup paved sites with cable TV for $10/ night.  There's a nice restaurant,  the motel swimming pool,  a bingo hall, and the casino right across the parking lot.  What else do you need??   OK, so the wireless internet won't reach the RV.  What can I expect for 10 bucks? (As I'm writing this the Bingo Hall just opened and there's a stampede of gray haired old ladies rushing the door.)  Judy tried her hand at the 2 cent slots.  She didn't know how they operated so she just put in a dollar and kept pushing the buttons.  All of a sudden the machine started ringing.  She had gotten 5 of a kind.  She immediately cashed out $10 richer. 

We used the casino as a base of operations to explore the Keweenaw Peninsula.  The area saw mining start thousands of years ago when the ancient people found exposed veins of  copper.  By the 1800's this was the largest copper producing area in the world.  Now there is none.  The Keweenaw National Historic Park is a co-op between the National Park Service and locally operated sites.   We visited the Coppertown Mining Museum in Calumet.  The Calumet and Heccia Mining Company was the largest mining and smelting operation in the area. 2006-02-12.JPG (30086 bytes)

2006-02-07.JPG (57731 bytes) Near the north end of the peninsula is the Estivant Pines Sanctuary.  This is a 500 acre tract of old growth pine trees.  Some are up to 500 years old.  We hiked a couple of miles thru the forest.  It's hard to describe but it's really different to be in an old growth area. 



We saw this sign on the drive back down.  We knew that they got a lot of snow but this is really a lot!!  No wonder everyone has a snowmobile in their yard.  

The next day we returned to north of Houghton to eat at the Lindell Chocolate Shoppe.  On the National Register of Historic places, the interior of the Shoppe has remained the same since the 1900's and still serves home-style meals and desserts.

2006-02-14.jpg (32976 bytes)We stopped at the Houghton County Historical Museum but the only thing open was the steam train ride.  It seems that a lot of tourist places don't open until June 15 after schools are out.  We had almost everyplace to ourselves. 

Tomorrow (6/6) we will be moving to Marquette.

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