Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lake Superior Circle Tour -- Day 3

The day started off well enough, but then we found ourselves in our third destination of Bessemer, Michigan, where we headed straight up Black River Road to see the waterfalls along Black River, which sounds like it would be nice, doesn't it?

First I have to remind you that I'm afraid of heights, which is only partially true because I not really afraid of the height. I'm afraid of falling. I'm afraid of tripping, tumbling, or the structure collapsing beneath my feet, and falling is something I'm only a hair away from doing whenever I am at any height.

We went to Sandstone Falls, which we've never seen.

Over 200 stairs down!

These were not normal stairs. They were two steps wide by one step high, framed with wood planks and full of dirt and weeds in the center.

Photo taken by Boyfriend Extraordinaire

As usual, I clung like mad to the railing, which actually saved me. About 3/4 of the way down, I took a misstep and landed with my foot half on the step frame and half on the center dirt, twisting my ankle and sending me violently down the stairs. I caught myself on the railing, whirled around, and narrowly managed to stop myself from tumbling down the stairs, that ended at a dirt path that towered over the rock that lead to the falls. It was my worst nightmare that almost came true! However, the only way to stop a twisted ankle from turning into something crippling is to walk it off, which I immediately did, and continued down the rest of the way to the falls. Despite the pain and incessant trembling in my legs from the fright, I climbed on the sandstone cliffs and Boyfriend Extraordinaire and I explored the magnificent falls.

Large pockets of water were trapped in holes in the rock, where B.E. discovered that crayfish were living. Unfortunately, he couldn't catch any.

The rocks along the falls were all slanted, making walking hard for someone without a twisted ankle, and positively awful for someone with one. It was also a bit disorienting when trying to walk straight. B.E. found many nooks and crannies to inspect as I tried to take it easy.

The slanted rocks were sometimes a stage for B.E. to act out his naturally comedic personality.

There were caves and arches of red sandstone to climb on and towering over us, hard and jagged, yet somehow plants and trees took root and thrived. I guess the will to live is not exclusive to humans.

It took a while to ascend the stairs back to the car, but we made it with only some slight dehydration to add to the ankle wound. I was still trembling. The trembling never stopped at all that day.

We drove to the harbor where the Black River meets Lake Superior and had a picnic at a picnic table in the shade. It soon became apparent that we were not alone. What I thought was a baby squirrel turned out to be one of a breed of very small squirrels that are prevalent in the area, and they are not much larger than a chipmunk, but a ton cuter!

We befriended this little guy with some bread and won for his heart and trust with some Cheetos. Once he showed he liked our lunch, we gave him the ultimate treat: a Cheeto with peanut butter on it. This little guy, literally, climbed right up onto the picnic table where we were sitting and ate off the surface across from us.

He'd eat half the Cheeto, then run up a nearby tree to hide the remainder.

Once he'd hidden his excess food, he came quickly back for more. I fell a little in love with this guy.

I took this cute video footage of him sitting with us. Don't you just love him?!

B.E. hiked a long way into the woods to see Rainbow Falls, while I sat in the car with the air conditioning blasting and tried not to fall asleep. This is the photo he took of the falls I skipped.

Photo taken by Boyfriend Extraordinaire

And this is the idiot who was also checking out the falls, climbing on the wet rocks and getting way too close to death.

Photo taken by Boyfriend Extraordinaire

From there we returned town, checked into our very clean and inexpensive motel room at the Travelers' Motel in Bessemer. Dinner was wonderful at Tacconelli's, and we slept like babies!


Mary Ellen said...

Oh, wow, your pictures are bringing back memories! My family lived in the U.P. when I was a little kid, and we took road trips to all the falls around Lake Superior all the time, even in the winter. I was only about 7 or so, so my memories aren't that clear, but I do vividly remember Sandstone Falls, and the Miner's Castle, and Munising Falls. (My mom just reminded me that she has a photo of me standing under Munising Falls in my bathing suit -- she was terrified that I was going to fall and break my neck.)

Anonymous said...

Not being from that part of the country with its warmer climate, I'm ignorant here. How do you sit in a parked car with the air conditioning on? Was the car running the whole time? Doesn't that create a lot of icky exhaust?