Friday, August 30, 2013
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
|endless canopy of trees|
|acorns from the mighty oaks|
We then continued up the Keweenaw Peninsula, viewing the Eagle River Lighthouse and enjoying the lake views. Incredibly, we are just starting to see the fall colors coming out! It appears that the sugar maples lead the way into fall, with their leaves just starting to turn on select branches. Just as it got dark we pulled into a cool wayside park on a little bay near Eagle Harbor. It rained like crazy that night!
The next day we drove just a little further up to the very top of Keweenaw to Fort Wilkens SP. I am really beginning to appreciate the time, money and effort that has gone into the preservation of our historical treasures. Here again is another beautifully preserved fort from the 1860's. It was built to manage the rapidly growing trade and rowdy people that were coming to the area for copper, lumber, and mischief. It wasn't used for very long, typical of boom and bust economies. We toured the fort and bicycled around the park.
|Ft. Wilkens SP|
Now we headed back down the other side of the peninsula, the south side, taking in new sights and delights. We stopped at Brunette Beach and while Thayer dozed I walked up the beach to see the amazing rock formations. Sorry, here I go again! I'll try to be brief. This where all this sand is coming from! Sedimentary rocks ranging in age from 1.5 Billion years to only 500 million years surround this lobe of Lake Superior. Needless to say glaciers, winter ice, monstrous winter waves, rivers and streams and wind have taken their toll on these soft layers of beautifully colored rocks. The lowest layers (1.5B), the Jacobville layers, are some of the oldest rocks you can see exposed in the US! They are the dark red rocks you see in the photos. Other subsequent layers are in gray, white and tan. We will visit these layers again when we go to Pictured Rock National Lakeshore. But today I just moseyed along enjoying the interesting looping swirls of color along the shore. You will also see lots of lovely, rounded darker rocks that don't seem to fit in with all the others. These are glacial erratics transported here from the granite mountains of Canada. They come in all colors, textures, and sizes, most beautifully rounded and polished by the initial glacier transport and then by the pounding waves and swirling sand of the lake. There are also agates galore, their translucent colors just shine in the splash zone. I had to go back to the rig and convince Thayer to come have a look, boy, was he glad he did!
|Jacobville layer on the bottom 1.5 billion y.o.|
|erratic amid the sandstone|
Brunette Beach 8.2 miles north of Gay, MI
That night got a little tense as we drove into the darkness without a lot of turnouts for overnight. But Thayer rose to the occasion, found a forest service road, and we settled in on a dead end. On the way in we had seen a large lightening storm brewing to the east. A few hours after we stopped it slowly rolled over us lighting up the sky with almost constant lightning for a good 45 minutes or so. The lightning was high in the clouds so it wasn't too scary but it was simply an amazing light show! I've never seen anything like it! This was the hottest night yet, 90+ degrees, 90%humidity, with NO air movement, absolutely stifling! One of the few hardships we must endure.
Monday, August 26, 2013
There are 3 or 4 larger falls where the river flows off of sharp edges of the shale. Most of the river is quite shallow as it spreads across the flat rocks. The water itself is tinted brown and has a lot of foam, not because it is dirty, but because of organic matter in the soils that the water flows through. The trails wind through the shady forest and there are frequent overlooks and places to go and wade around in the stream. This time of year it is warm and pleasant but I'm sure in the spring that river is a real rip snorter. They get a lot of snow here! We found crawdads in the pools and some interesting invertebrate larvae that were attached, head down, to the rocks in the shallow riffles. There were very circular holes drilled into the shale where rocks just ground the rock down during high water flow.
As the river flowed into Superior it formed a nice big pool just daring Thayer to skinny dip in. It looked inviting but I declined to join him and was glad I didn't because, shortly after he got in, a herd of young boys and their dippy mom/aunt came down to skip rocks for half an hour. Wouldn't want to traumatize any youngsters!
The shales in this area were really interesting because they were petrified sand ripples and were broken in such a way that you could see that each layer had a different color, direction of ripples and texture. I hope my pictures will illustrate that for you. See if you can match the picture to something I described...
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
|Ice Cream at Buddies!|
|Boondocking at Barb and Don's|
|Lake of the Clouds- Porcupine Mtn. Wilderness SP|
|sunset over Superior|
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
|David and I cooling off, waiting for moonrise|
Monday, August 19, 2013
|bike path on Minnesota Pt.|
Saturday, August 17, 2013
We left our friends the Sorensons on Saturday the 17, bound for Theodore Roosevelt NP. It is a beautiful, rugged badlands area, where the rock formations have been eroded from the surrounding flatlands. The cliffs with their bands of colorful rocks, open green meadows and the Little Missouri River make for lovely views. We listened to a ranger (visualize William Macy in "Fargo") give a talk about the CCC projects in the park and the history of the CCC. Very interesting, though I kept wanting to finish his sentences for him since he spoke so slowly and sparingly. It was HOT. Thayer had me scampering along the road to take pictures of buffalo, funny how he would drive off just as the animals started staring at me and making huffing, grunting noises at me. Not funny. I tried to bring home a nice concretion to add to my rock collection but it just wouldn't budge and Thayer wouldn't help me.
|I want this rock!|