Friday, October 9th, 2020
This morning we had to get Matilda up and moving for our first adventure of the day to visit Whitefish Point Lighthouse and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum which are located beside each other. Matilda had to stay in the car when we purchased our ticket for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. It opened in 1986 and it is the only museum dedicated to the shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. There were artifacts displayed from shipwrecked vessels with explanations of what caused the ship to sink as well as models of the ships.
When we finished reading about the various shipwrecks and looking at the artifacts in the museum we walked around the Whitefish Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was first lit in 1849 on Lake Superior and shone out over Whitefish Bay. It is the oldest active lighthouse on Lake Superior. The lighthouse is located at the end of an 80 mile shoreline and this stretch is known as the “shipwreck coast of Lake Superior”. More ships have been lost at Whitefish Point than any other part of the lake. The most famous is the Edmund Fitzgerald! (Queue Gordon Lightfoot’s song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”) The lighthouse was replaced in 1861 with a steel cylinder that is 80 feet tall.
We were unable to tour the lighthouse but we were able to tour the keepers quarters that are attached. We walked around the grounds and then drove to Tahquamenon Falls.
Along the Tahquamenon River we viewed two falls, the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. We walked through the park to the 116 steps that lead down to the gorge. Matilda walked with us but as we started down the steps we noticed that the steps between each flight were metal with small openings! So Dave carried her down and back up! At least Matilda weighs only 16 pounds compared to a young lady we passed who was carrying a dog that was probably 50-60 pounds! When we reached the bottom we had a panoramic view of the Lower and Upper Falls. These falls have been nicknamed the “Root Beer Falls” because of the brownish color.
The Lower Falls is 4 miles downstream from the Upper Falls and is a series of 5 smaller falls that cascade around an island.
After our hike back up the 116 steps we walked over to the 94 steps that lead to the Brink view. These steps also had the open metal so we took turns going down the steps and viewing the falls. Matilda didn’t need to worry about navigating the metal steps and getting stressed. Being that close to the Upper Falls that has a drop of nearly 50 feet, over 2,000 feet across, and a water flow over 50,000 gallons per second was quite majestic.
On our way back to the campground we saw a sign for the Crisp Point Lighthouse. We turned off the highway and the sign said 18 miles to the lighthouse. For about a mile the road was paved and then gravel. We thought OK gravel isn’t so bad but then it became a dirt road the rest of the way. I wish I’d taken a picture of the road conditions as we got farther down the road but I was too busy helping Dave avoid the dips that were quite deep in places.
Matilda was freaked out by the bumps and swerves that Dave had to manoeuvre. We had no cell service so I could just envision the car falling apart and us stuck out in the middle of nowhere! 😳 It was definitely an adventure. I even told Dave partly through to feel free to turn around but he was on a mission to see this lighthouse. It definitely is in a remote and secluded location. The dirt road went through the heavily wooded Lake Superior State Forest! We should have been in an all terrain vehicle! The 18 miles took well over an hour each way!
When we finally arrived at Crisp Point Lighthouse we took our time exploring the grounds. The lighthouse was built in 1875 and was one of the five Lake Superior U.S. life-saving service stations between Munising and Whitefish Point. It stands 58 feet tall.
The drive back was just as bad as the drive in! We passed a sign on the side of the road that stated that this was the spot where two sisters were rescued in 2015. Read more about their story here. https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2015/04/missing_sisters_survive_2_week.html
After our busy day and our adventure going to Crisp Point we relaxed around the campfire! It was another busy day exploring!