It had been 25 years since we last took the Pictured Rock boat cruise. We decided to take the tour again as we remembered it as being a very pleasant & scenic ride. This time around we opted to take the Spray Falls cruise rather than the regular one. Our tour began at 5 pm but to make sure we’d get a seat on the upper level, we arrived at 4. Good thing too as a line was already forming.
We boarded the Miners Castle vessel at the dock in the Munising Marina for a cruise of approximately 3 hours. Everyone aboard & we’re off. Streaming out into Trout Bay on Lake Superior & past the Grand Island, a National Recreation Area. We had 15 miles of lakeshore to cover.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore extends for 42 miles along Michigan’s Upper Peninsula shoreline between the towns of Munising & Grand Marais. It is one of only 4 national coastlines in the U.S., 2 of which are along Lake Superior’s shores. Pictured Rocks derived its name from the 15 miles of colorful sandstone cliffs. The cliffs have been sculptured from the wind & the water over millions of years forming into caves, arches & other interesting formations. The colors of the cliffs are created by the minerals within the rock layers.
Some of the formations have been given names that with a little imagination you can see how the name came into being. Names like Miners Castle, Indian Head & Battleship Row. There’s also a few waterfalls most that become trickles or dry up after the Spring thaw is over. A few river mouths can also be seen, the most popular one is Mosquito River. It is known for its excellent trout fishing. Most of the shores are rocky but there a couple of secluded sandy beaches within the parks shores. All but one requires a little effort to reach.
At Chapel Cave our captain steered the vessel into the cave itself. The entire boat could fit within the recess. We were so close to the cliff walls that we could almost reach out & touch them. Looking up we saw the roots of trees towering vicariously to the sandstone cliff edges overhead. There’s a coolness to the air here, probably due to the nearness of the rocks.
On the return voyage, our captain took us near the shores of Grand Island where an old wooden lighthouse still stands. It is the Grand Island East Channel Light. It was erected in 1868 in the schoolhouse style of lighthouses, not an unusual style for that time period. The light was deactivated in 1908.
Once in port with our stomachs growling we decide pasties are in order. Pasties are a local food brought to the U.P. when the Finnish came to the area to work in the numerous copper & iron mines. Nowadays you can get them not only in the traditional beef but in chicken, vegetarian & Mexican-style. Of course it’s not an authentic pasty unless it has turnip or rutabaga in it. So we stopped at THE #1 pasty place in the Yooper, Muldoon’s, & came away with a delicious & filling meal.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid…………………….