Thursday, August 11, 2011

Iron Mountain, Michigan

No, you did not read the above title wrong, we are back in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. John felt that he wanted to see the western side of the peninsula and I am glad we did return. It is a place of spectacular and unspoiled natural beauty. Shortly after crossing the Michigan state line from Wisconsin, on Tuesday, we stopped at a roadside rest stop. To our pleasant surprise we had arrived at one of  our country's prettiest roadside parks called Fumee Falls.
That same day we parked our home just outside the town of Iron Mountain. The next day, Wednesday, we took a guided tour of the Iron Mountain Iron Mine. Our guide took us in a rail car into the mine and over 2,600 feet of  drifts and tunnels. The mine opened in the late 1800s and by 1945, when it closed, 22,500,000 tons of ire ore had been hauled out of it. Its miners earned 7 cents a day, and  the miners who worked with the dynamite received 15 cents a day. It was hard for me to imagine that kind of dangerous life!
Later that same day John and I hiked along the Menominee River at Piers Gorge. Here the river plummets down a 10-foot waterfall and flows wildly between canyon walls. Its huge waves make it an ideal river for white water rafting. We were able to watch one raft go through the strongest of the rapids. John had the camera but for some reason missed snapping a picture of the raft. The picture he did get was of a young woman falling out of it. Fortunately she was able to swim to shore and then joined us on the trail. Further down the river the raft was waiting for her.
Our final stop for the day was at Norway Spring, located at the edge of the town of the same name. In 1902 a 1094-foot hole was drilled in search of iron ore. The drilled hole created an artesian well which is still flowing abundantly today. We met a man at the spring who was filling up a couple of jugs of the water. He said that he comes from Marquette, Michigan every two weeks to stock up on the water for his personal use.

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