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Friday, December 2, 2022

Pictured Rocks 1 - Day 367

  We successfully hiked part of Pictured Rocks today. Four days should complete it, and right now, the weather looks clear for longer than that. I feel really good about being able to hike sections as planned and not continually having to change things. I love the new laser-cut signs being used in the park. Pictured rocks has always had trouble with people stealing the trail emblems, and I'm sure these are really tempting. Shucks, I wanted to take one home! I was surprised to learn that there are no blue blazes at all, just signs like this one, or with additional info at the junctions. If that was true before, I certainly had forgotten.
NCT sign

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.
Miners Castle

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.
Bridal Veil Falls

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.
Mosquito beach cliff

Lake Superior is often harsh, but here's a softer look.
birch trees by Lake Superior

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?
icy trees

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.
ice formations

We got one view of the side of the cliff decorated with these ice sprays.
ice formation

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.
forest covered with sand

Miles today: 13.5 (plus 1.9 on a spur to get to the car). Total miles so far: 4206.1. Over 4200!

See Year Two... And, Go


Ellie said...

Amazing pictures! Quite surprising that the big lake is so quiet at the beginning of December. I love all the ice crystals. We have hiked there in the summer, but this is such a different version of beautiful. I hope you are not getting the gale force winds that are blowing in SE Michigan right now.

Ann said...

Wonderful photos from the day. Miners Castle looks like something out of a storybook. How fascinating. Love that last picture too.

Sharkbytes said...

Ellie- the winds got here today. We hunkered down.

Ann- Miners Castle is a special place

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