Lake Superior is the third-largest (by water volume, largest by surface area) fresh water lake in the world and it is stunningly clear and icy cold. We took a boat tour of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore which covers close to 35 miles of Lake Superior’s shoreline from Munising north to Grand Marias. They are colorful sandstone cliffs beautifully stained by minerals; a geological wonder. The captain of our ship shared local lore and history including that the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was just sixty miles north of our location. He mentioned this as he told us how “lumpy” the water was getting. Thanks. In addition to the colorful cliffs, we saw a tree whose roots created a bridge to the shore and a schoolhouse-style lighthouse on Grand Island. The is no longer functioning, but it is maintained by the local homeowners. Lunch was in Marquette, the largest city on the UP. It is home to Northern Michigan University and is a major port on Lake Superior. It has an ore pocket dock, something I have never seen or heard of. Back in the day, when the town was linked to multiple rail lines. multiple ships and trains could load/unload ore at breakneck speed because of the special design of this dock. Marquette continues to be a shipping port for hematite ores and iron ore pellets.
The multiple red buildings around town are constructed of Jacobsville sandstone. The locally mined sandstone is fireproof; it can endure temperatures to 800° F. The buildings add a stately charm to the downtown and waterfront. Riding back to our hotel, we passed through the town of Christmas. Ho, Ho, Ho! There is even a casino in the town…everyday is Christmas here. The lawn chairs called to us, and we enjoyed a lovely sunset and some well deserved Yooper bars on this Super -Duper-Yooper day.