Hooray! 65 and sunny – ideal for the Pictured Rocks Cruise. This boat was to take us on much of the same shoreline that we had seen from our hike earlier in the week. The perspective from the water made for some interesting conversation.
Pictured Rocks is one of four National Lakeshores in the U.S. and is also the largest and the first established, on October 15, 1966. We could potentially see all four during our visit through the midwest. We have already crossed two off the list, Apostle Islands and Pictured Rocks and plan to see a third, Sleeping Bear Dunes, also in Michigan. The fourth would be Indiana Dunes.
Some of the oldest exposed sandstone is at Pictured Rocks. The vegetation set against this pinkish-gray Jacobsville sandstone is striking. In this part of the UP, storms typically come from the northwest. A very large island across the channel from Pictured Rocks, Grand Island, takes the brunt of these storms, which helps to protect this vegetation.
Approximately 20 years ago, Terry took his sons to the UP on a camping trip. We were looking at pictures he took during that time, one in particular, trying to determine which rock formation it was. We both thought it looked like Miners Castle, with one noticeable difference between his 20-year-old shot and our present day photo. Look at the two photos below and see if you can tell the difference.
The reason we were originally uncertain that this was the same rock formation is that the photo from 20 years ago reflects two turrets on its top and present day photos show only one. We learned during the cruise that a turret fell off of Miners Castle on April 12, 2006. This sandstone, as we evidenced all along the coast, is unstable. From the trail that we walked earlier in the week, many postings warned hikers of the danger in standing too close to the edge.
Note the vertical crack in the sandstone, the large boulders lying in the water below, and the kayakers coming in for a closer look.
The remainder of this post will be more picture than prose as I cannot begin to describe the beauty in the rocks as well as they can speak for themselves.
We walked right over this rock formation when we hiked the Chapel Basin trail near Mosquito Beach.
At the base of Lover’s Leap, the water is only two feet deep so unless you are despondent due to an unrequited love, you would not want to be hurling yourself from the top of this rock. From the trail we originally thought this rock formation was Grand Portal as it is so spectacular.
Grand Portal is the highest point in the park, standing proud at 207 feet.
While hiking the Chapel Basin trail, we had peered down into the cave but never imagined that our tour boat would be sitting in this very spot!
The sandstone supporting the root system for the tree atop Chapel Rock collapsed approximately 40 years ago. It could be said that Chapel Rock is now an island with its lifeline attached to the mainland.
The East Channel Lighthouse can only be viewed from the water, as it is now on private land on Grand Island. It was built in 1867 and its kerosene lamp was extinguished for the last time in 1907.
We thoroughly enjoyed the day and believe that this cruise is a must if you find yourself in the Pictured Rocks area. We are sad to leave this beautiful piece of the Upper Peninsula but look forward to the next leg of our journey.