Day 4 of the Up North vacation

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I’ve never spent any real time in the UP. The farthest north I’ve ever gotten, in fact, is St. Ignace. So it was pretty exciting to head out from there on our fourth morning. After a stop at Java Joe’s (because I’ve somehow become a coffee person this summer), we took the highway up to Whitefish Point.

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Devin, of course, was happy as a clam to learn more about the Great Lakes shipwrecks and see the salvaged items.

He wasn’t too bummed out to see the nine-foot-long Lego model of the Edmund Fitzgerald either.

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And then there was the water.

I was very excited to lay eyes on Lake Superior. But he went scrambling down the steps and running toward the rocks way before I even got started. Lots (and lots) of rock throwing ensued.

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We also took a tour of the lighthouse, where Dev managed to strike up a short-term friendship with two brothers.

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Then, after some arguing with my husband about his navigation skills, we headed to Tahquamenon Falls.

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Devin wasn’t impressed by the lower falls, but we decided to hike a bit and we ended up doing the entire four-mile trek to the upper falls.

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We were hot, sweaty and mosquito-bitten, but we made it. Although the kiddo lacked sufficient interest in these bigger falls because we realized we were behind schedule to see the bear sanctuary we’d been advised to visit. We rushed over to the the trolley pick-up spot only to learn that the trolley had come early and we had to wait for the next one, which wasn’t scheduled to show up for another half hour.

Gah.

Because that’s when I realized that our lovely hike probably just canceled out my kid’s chance to see a bear cub in person.

I was sad. He was mad.

Once we got in the car, Scott “floored it” (which was nothing extreme, I can assure you) and we headed post haste to the bear place. Dev fell asleep and missed my under-my-breath cursing at the closed gate that greeted us. Big Mommy fail. (But he did tell me later that he enjoyed the hike. So there’s that.)

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On our way back to St. Ignace, we drove along US-2, which ambles right along the water and some really lovely beach areas. We couldn’t resist stopping at one of them and dawdling in the surf. Ahhhhh!

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Day 3 of the Up North vacation

DSC_3256Well, there seems to have been a tiny delay between the reporting of Day 2 and this recap of Day 3. But, finally, several weeks after the actual event, come photos and recollections!

I loved our time in the Traverse City area. But I was very excited about visiting the UP too.

My mom couldn’t afford to travel when I was a kid, but she managed to put together one vacation to Mackinac Island. I was seven. It was fun. I remember vividly being terrified of the ramp that led up to the fort. It seemed like I was going to fall backward down the slope. Truthfully, other than the pool at our hotel, I think that’s the only real thing I remember about that trip.

Until Scott and I visited the island again many moons ago, that had been my only visit to the upper portion of our state. And the second trip was pretty quick as well. St. Ignace > ferry > island > ferry > St. Ignace > home.

On Day 3, we set Mackinac Island as our destination once again (taking the scenic drive from TC through Petoskey and Charlevoix). And I completely forgot how much it disappointed me as an adult. Two words to describe it: PEOPLE and FUDGE.

There are some lovely areas in the interior of the island, yes. But muscling through the crowds to get to them is the trick.

After being thrilled with the ferry ride – and the bridge crossing – Devin was eager to get on board one of the bikes, so we grabbed some lunch and then headed to the nearest bike stand. Wait, that’s the third word I’d use: BIKES. There are bike stands everywhere. And bikes everywhere. And people riding those bikes everywhere. Can you tell that I’m a bit of a people-phobe?

We saddled up our two-wheeled vehicles and pedaled off to explore the perimeter of the island. It’s definitely a beautiful place. And it’s nice to get away from the huge hubbub of the main street to the less-chaotic hubbub of the bike loop. We stopped many times along the way to check out the scenery (or in Devin’s case, to throw rocks into the water).

After our spin around, we filed back onto the ferry and to St. Ignace to find our hotel and grab some dinner. And sleep. Driving and bike riding is exhausting, you know.

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I heart meerkats

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Long after Dev and Scott had trotted away, I was still mooning over the meerkats. They make me giggle. So small and furry and serious. This guy was solo, but the others were all stacked up in a crazy pile. No one was around (because who wants to go to the zoo when it’s freezing?) and I contemplated climbing over the rail and sneaking one home with me. Really I did.