Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
We started out at our cabin close to Munising, working our way east. Our first stop of the day was Munising Falls, where we hiked around and enjoyed both the waterfall and the nearby beach at Sand Point. Still on the lookout for my wolf, I spotted tracks in the sand. Sure, maybe they were probably left by a dog, but the nearby deer tracks had this Harry Potter fan imagining that Padfoot, Moony, and Prongs were riding again.
We stopped back by town to pick up tickets for our 3 hour boat tour. We also grabbed lunch to go at local favorite, Muldoons Pasties, and went up to Miner's Castle to eat them while we waited for our cruise. The pasties were alright, but I guess I'd expected something more like an empanada or Louisiana meat pie, and had ended up with potatoes and carrots. In any case, they're a portable yet hearty little meal that grew in popularity thank to the miners living in the area.
Miner's Castle is the postcard-perfect view of Pictured Rocks. I typically touch up my pictures in Photoshop, as the colors my camera produces are rarely true to life (it does a much better job calibrating for video, weirdly enough). But the pictures I took here were so vivid and vibrant, I had to check the originals to be sure I hadn't processed them already.
I boarded our cruise humming the theme song to Gilligan's Island. On our three-hour tour on Lake Superior, we floated past the eponymous sandstone cliffs, carved into fantastic shapes and stained a rainbow of colors from the minerals in the groundwater run-off. We spotted more waterfalls and yet another lighthouse, the boarded-up Grand Island East Channel light.
After our cruise, it was time to cut back inland. The National Lakeshore features a number of trails and roads along the edge of the coast, but while we were there, several were closed. We cut across one of the many truck trails to reach the Log Slide and Grand Sable Dunes.
At this point, the steep dunes at the Log Slide were the longest and steepest I'd ever encountered. Signs nearby warned that while a trip down took about five minutes, the climb back up could easily take an hour and wasn't to be attempted by those who were out of shape or had heart conditions. I stood at the top, considering... but it was late in the day, and we still wanted to see the Grand Sable Dunes.
I was more than satisfied with my choice as we parked. The view was beautiful, looking out over Grand Sable Lake in one direction, and across a good mile of dunes toward Lake Superior in the other.
To get to Grand Marais, we had to cut inland yet again. The sun was growing low as we passed sandy fields of brush and long-cut tree stumps. We stopped for dinner at Lake Superior Brewing Company. Maybe we were just extraordinarily hungry, or maybe the pizza here really is as good as we thought at the time - if the latter, you should go this very second. Returning to our car near the Pickle Barrel House, I spotted him...
...okay, not a wolf, but a Malamute! An infinitely more pettable member of the canine family.