The first really interesting feature you come to from the west is one of the most famous, Miners Castle. Probably most everyone knows it used to have two turrets, but in 2006 one of them collapsed into the lake. Of course, you can't go anywhere near it now. But I have pictures of our family climbing all over it in 1976.
I think the white ice stripe coming down the cliff in this picture is Bridal Veil Falls. One web site says it's not visible from the NCT, but this is in the correct location. One thing for sure is that Bridal Veil is usually dry in summer. Whatever waterfall it is, I haven't seen it before this hike.
The hike today was relatively level. We did have to climb from Munising to the top of the sandstone cliffs. Then after Miners Castle, we dropped down to Miners Beach, and then climbed back up through about a billion years from Jacobsville Sandstone, through the Munising formation, to the top of the AuTrain Formation- a mere 350 million years in about 200 feet.
Lake Superior is often harsh, but here's a softer look.
The lack of snow was excellent for hiking, but may not provide the winter landscapes some of you were hoping for. However, where there were small waterfalls or where waves tended to splash high, an interesting phenomenon occurred. The wind blasted the spray against every twig and branch, creating ice forests. Today was warm, and we actually had to watch out for falling ice. Can you see how these trees are coated along the trunks and branches?
Some of the formations were either eerie or fantastic due to the role of the wind in their creation. They looked like teeth and angel wings and birds.
We got one view of the side of the cliff decorated with these ice sprays.
Right after all the "ice forests" was a stretch where wind blows the sand right up over the cliff edge and covers everything. Instead of crystaline beauty, this looked like a desert. The contrast was stark and exceptionally fantasy-landish.
Miles today: 13.5 (plus 1.9 on a spur to get to the car). Total miles so far: 4206.1. Over 4200!
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