Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Michigan – 2019 – Part 39 min read time

On our sixth day in Michigan, we headed north again across the very scary Mackinaw Bridge and on up to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. But we decided to make a stop

along the way so we would get to the lakeshore more toward sunset.

A Surprise at Whitefish Point

Two days before, we had gone to Whitefish Point but had arrived rather late. So we headed in that direction as we had some more time that day.

As we were driving on the road, we noticed that the traffic was moving a bit slower than previously. Cars in front of us were passing a vehicle in front of them when they could. Then we finally saw what the hold up was! It was an old Model T Ford that had been converted to look much like an old Conestoga wagon. They had pulled over to let everyone pass.

But that was not the only Model T on the road that day! There were many of them! What we did not know was that they were headed where we were, to Whitefish Point!

When we arrived there were 30-40 Model T’s all parked up around the lighthouse and museum buildings!

I really like to shoot old cars so I spent a good bit of time kneeling down and shooting up at these beautiful old cars with my wide angle lens.

Before it was too late, though, I quickly switched gears and ran out to the shore to get some long exposures of an old jetty.

While we were out on the shore the Model T drivers packed up and started to leave. We found them along the road again as we headed northwest to our main destination for the day, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

We arrived in Munising, MI where the lakeshore cruise boats dock. Dani went to the dock to book us on the sunset cruise and we found a place to get an early supper.

Upon arriving at the dock, we were told that many of the cruises were either canceled or shortened due to the waves out on Lake Superior! What? Big waves? This is a lake!??

The wonderful people who work at the docks let us know that the captain would make the decision closer to the departure time. We watched as several smallish boats loaded up and took off, with many announcements about seasickness!

But Dani kept telling us not to worry, we had a special boat! Just before our departure time, a huge catamaran pulled into the dock! And just like our trip on the whaling boat in Maine, Dani had come through with the best possible boat!

The crew still said it might to rough out there and a few people disembarked but we stuck with our plan!

What an amazing cruise we had. This boat was very stable and I was shocked that the images I took from the deck were so in focus!

East Channel Lighthouse

The boat cruised out of the more protected harbor passing the above old lighthouse.

Soon we began to see the formations that give this park its name!

Wikipedia info:

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a U.S. National Lakeshore on the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, United States. It extends for 42 miles (67 km) along the shore and covers 73,236 acres (114 sq mi; 296 km2). The park has extensive views of the hilly shoreline between Munising and Grand Marais in Alger County, Michigan, with picturesque rock formations, waterfalls, and sand dunes.

Pictured Rocks derives its name from the 15 miles (24 km) of colorful sandstone cliffs northeast of Munising. The cliffs reach up to 200 feet (60 m) above lake level. They have been naturally sculptured into a variety of shallow caves, arches, and formations resembling castle turrets and human profiles. Near Munising, visitors can also visit Grand Island, most of which is included in the separate Grand Island National Recreation Area.

The U.S. Congress designated Pictured Rocks the first National Lakeshore in the United States in 1966. It is governed by the National Park Service.

Sunset Cruise

As we continued out along the cliffs the waves were not too bad. The captain said the wind was being blocked by the landmass we were looking at. There are trails (see the deck on the cliff below) but this was the best way to see the cuts, coves, and colors! The late afternoon light was just lighting up the cliffs!

The captain pulled the boat pretty close sometimes. They explained that the different colors were caused by different minerals in the rocks.

Petit Portal – “Lover’s leap

On some of the cliffs, there were abstracts and on some, you could imagine whole scenes.

Grand Portal

The caves and rock formations were amazing!

Chapel Rock

The captain let us know that the waves had decreased enough that we would be able to go to the end of the point and see the furthest attraction, Spray Falls.

Spray Falls

From here we turned around and headed back to the dock. Sunset was coming so the light was getting more colorful. I had to shoot backward some of the time, plus the boat was moving much faster on the way back so it was a bit more difficult to get some images. But I had to take advantage of that lower sun and nice side light!

Petit Portal

As we approached to harbor, the old lighthouse had a much different look!

East Channel Lighthouse

The sun set and the color of the sky just intensified as we reached the end of our wonderful cruise!

Who knew Michigan was so beautiful! I had always thought of Michigan as Detroit and urban decay but boy was I wrong! This state is amazing and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is proof!

This is a must see location if you get this far up the peninsula! Try to get the big catamaran and the sunset cruise for the best view and trip out on Lake Superior.

For larger versions of these images and more images from this adventure on Lake Superior, click an image or check out my Whitefish Point & Pictured Rocks Gallery.

That is all for now. The next post is a bit different! My favorite restaurant that we visited three times while in MI!


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