Saturday, August 6, 2011

UP - Day 1, Mackinac Bridge & Grand Marais

The upper peninsula is probably my favorite part about living in Michigan (other than family and friends of course!). I know I've ranted about it before, but its beauty is just so captivating that it's hard not to rant about how great it is up there! Once you cross the bridge the air just changes, it smells so fresh and clean. The trees look different and you're constantly driving past sand dunes and stunning rock formations. The beauty of Lake Superior in my opinion is unmatched by any of the other Great Lakes. Its massive blue waves seem to stretch on for eternity.

Part of the allure of the lake comes from its rich history from native american tribes to the first French settlers to the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald as well as the deaths of young people daring to walk its piers during rough storms.

The Mackinac (pronounced mak-in-aw) Bridge connects Michigan's lower and upper peninsulas together. It's the largest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere running about 5 miles from shoreline to shoreline. It spans the Straights of Mackinac where lakes Michigan and Huron meet.

My stepmom was ironically on her way to a Gordon Lightfoot concert on the day that the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in 1975. She was the last car that was permitted to cross the bridge before they closed it. She said that you could actually feel the bridge swaying and the waves were so high they were crashing up over the bridge, which is 552 feet high! The irony of this story for those of you not familiar with Gordon Lightfoot is that he later went on to write the song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" based on the events of that day.

The first two nights we stayed in Grand Marais, which is an extremely small town right on the lake. We got all of our camping gear set up and I took a few photos of the camp grounds.

We reached the beach on the first night just in time to watch the sun setting.

After we watched the sun set we headed to one of the local pubs for some delicious pizza and the best root beer in all of Michigan!

After dinner we went back to the camp sight and pretty much called it a night. We were all pretty exhausted from the 9 hour car ride! I should have more pictures up by Monday, so check back! I took over 500 pictures, so it would be impossible to share everything in one post!

To be honest my original plan was only to share a few photos since the main reason we went up north was to spread my dad's ashes. So it really wasn't intended to be a vacation and I didn't want it to read that way. However, he always stayed back and worked so that we could enjoy ourselves up there, so I know he would have wanted us to enjoy the trip. Also I really want to document everything so that when Jon and I start having children they can look back at these photos and to some extent experience this trip with us.

*Photos of me were taken by Mr. Jonathan Knitter aka The Husband.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Lost Lake Day 3 - Alpena!

Day 3 up at Lost Lake Jon and I finally got to go swimming!!! Oh, I was so happy! Summer without swimming is a crime in my book.

The lake has a fun yet dangerous metal slide that shoots you straight into the water! We were a bit nervous that the water was going to be cold because it had cooled down over night, but to our delight it was perfectly warm! It was so warm in the water and so chilly on the beach that we didn't want to get out! We had plans to go to Alpena that afternoon though, so after a an hour of splashing around we had to start the hike back up to the cottage.

On the way we saw a lovely little caterpillar getting ready to spin a cocoon!

Although Alpena is the largest city in Northeast Michigan it's still just a tiny little place to stroll through, with a population of only 10,483 people. It's located right on Lake Huron and the downtown area has a beautiful view of the lake. I was really excited to hit up some of the antique stores over there, (mostly just to look through since I'm trying to get rid of stuff right now) but they were all closed by the time we got there! I know it was a Sunday, but we were there at like 3 in the afternoon! Geez! So instead we just walked around a bit, got some ice cream, and settled for an early dinner. After dinner we went to one of the local cinema houses to see Captain America (which Jon and I both thought was great).

It wasn't at this theatre, but I liked the way this building looked:

Jon liked this little sculpture in one of the windows:

Jon and I were both really exhausted by the time we got back to the cottage. I think we were in bed by like 11PM that night, haha! That's pretty much unheard of for us! That marked the end of our vacation as Jon had to work the next day, so we headed out early the next morning for our trip back to Metro Detroit. We had a lot of fun with the family and overall it was a great trip!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gitchie Gumee - A Memorial Trip

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
"Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!"
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
"Ewa-yea! my little owlet!
Who is this, that lights the wigwam?
With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
Ewa-yea! my little owlet!"
Many things Nokomis taught him
Of the stars that shine in heaven;
Showed him Ishkoodah, the comet,
Ishkoodah, with fiery tresses;
Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits,
Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs,
Flaring far away to northward
In the frosty nights of Winter;
Showed the broad white road in heaven,
Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,
Running straight across the heavens,
Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.
At the door on summer evenings
Sat the little Hiawatha;
Heard the whispering of the pine-trees,
Heard the lapping of the water,
Sounds of music, words of wonder;
'Minne-wawa!" said the Pine-trees,
Mudway-aushka!" said the water.

Excerpt from The Song of Hiawatha (1855) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I'm home from my 2nd trip up north. This time we went to the upper peninsula (Grand Marais and Marquette) as part of a memorial service to spread my father's ashes. It was his wish to be cremated and spread out through all of the Great Lakes. Following his wishes we spread his ashes on the southern shores of Lake Superior as well as the north west shore of Lake Huron near the Mackinac Bridge. My sister is probably going to Lake Michigan this upcoming weekend, so we'll only have Lake Erie and Ontario left to do. It was a very solemn and difficult trip, but I'm glad we went.

I still have one more update from last week's trip to Lost Lake to post, then I'll share a few more photos from this weekend. After that I'll be back to the normal everyday outfit photos. It seems like I haven't posted just a regular outfit shot in forever!