We Have Become “Wanna Be” Yoopers!

People who live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the U.P.) call themselves Yoopers.  We just spent a week in the U.P. and loved every minute of it.  Maybe we can be honorary Yoopers because I don’t think we will ever spend the winter up here.  We started in Sault Ste. Marie in a campground right on the St. Marys River.  Across the river we see Canada and on the river we watch as fishermen and recreational boats mingle with 1000 foot iron ore freighters and even a cruise ship.

Freighter coming up the river as seen from the bank of our campground.
Freighter seen from our campground
View of freighter from our campsite.

They cruised by with regular frequency and we could anticipate their movements because my husband knows about and follows the boat nerd website.  No kidding–you can look it up.  It lets you know what is coming and when.  Of course we had to know more so we made a trip to the Soo Lock and Dam to see the action there and we met up with a fellow boat nerd who recommended we take a trip to the Ship Wreck Museum.  We were now hooked and we started researching this amazing part of our country.

Sault St. Marie Tour Boat going into the locks
Sault St. Marie tour boat leaving the locks, a 1000 foot long freighter entering lock #2 in background
Front of freighter Joseph L. Block in lock #2 at Lake Superior level.
Front of freighter Joseph L. Block at St Marys River level.
Freighter Joseph L. Block leaving lock #2.

All the pieces came together as we learned about the shipping channel that travels from the Atlantic Ocean through Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and finally to the end of Lake Superior at Deluth, Minnesota.  It takes 65 hours from Duluth to Quebec City.  85% of the iron ore produced in the US comes from the Lake Superior area.  The other amazing part to this story is all the ship wrecks that have happened; with a lot of them in the Whitefish Point area of Lake Superior (over 800!).  You should google the popular folk song by Gordon Lightfoot called “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”.  The words to the song tell all about this industry and its dangers.  The Ship Wreck Museum on Whitefish Point has all kinds of information on this wreck on many other wrecks.  Well worth the trip.

The ships bell from the wrecked freighter Edmund Fitzgerald
Rudder from a shipwreck off of Whitefish Point.
Whitefish Point light station.
Whitefish Point
Whitefish Point, and the search for Lake Superior agates.

Also during the trip to the museum we walked to Tahquamenon Falls (where I was eaten alive by mosquitoes).

Tahquamenon Falls
Tahqumenon Falls

Hannah told us about this place and she called them the “Root Beer Float Falls.  Check out the pictures and you will see why.  We also went to two lighthouses– Point Iroquois Lighthouse and Crisp Point Lighthouse.  Crisp Point is accessible by driving on a 20 mile dirt road that gets progressively curvier, softer, and narrower as you go.  If it wasn’t for the small, white lighthouse signs, we would have never found it.

Crisp Point lighthouse.
Crisp Point lighthouse.

We left here and traveled on to Munising for our next adventure.  Hannah, John, and Marley joined us for the next few days.

Marley, the most important bulldog in Michigan (and California).


Kris & Hannah along Lake Superior.

We saw a lot of waterfalls and more lighthouses here.  We also saw part of a 100 year old shipwreck that was on the beach and spent some time looking for beautiful lake rocks.  We also met a huge milestone on this part of the trip.

Good looking Giants fans
Pieces of 100 year old shipwreck
Au Sable lighthouse
Looking for rocks (Lake Superior Agates) along the lake.

There were 3 Imhof’s on a boat together for over  2 1/2 hours and not one of us barfed!!  Something to be proud of.  The boat trip was out on Lake Superior to see the Pictured Rocks.  These are amazing rock formations and colorings on the cliffs that drop straight into the water.  It was spectacular.  This was all part of Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore and can really only be viewed from the water.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Castle Rock
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Grand Island Lighthouse

Also in this area is Bay Furnace which is an old stone built furnace used to make iron bars.  We even picked up a couple of pieces of iron ore on the beach.DSC_7080WebLG  The whole peninsula trip was awesome and we loved having Hannah, John, and Marley with us.  The next morning they took off for home and we were on our way to Minneapolis with a quick stop in Green Bay.


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  1. Love your photos! I have always wanted to visit this area! Its so raw and untouched!


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