Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keweenwa Peninsula

We have traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and our home is now parked at essentially what amounts to a casino and hotel parking lot. It is a small area set up to accommodate recreational vehicles, however. Yesterday, Saturday, we drove north to Houghton and took the lift bridge over to the Keweenwa Peninsula.  At the turn of the twentieth century many of the towns on this peninsula were copper mining towns. We toured the Quincy Mine and Hoist, which is now a national historic landmark. There is still a good deal of copper yet in the mine, but for what it is worth in today’s market, it would not be profitable to put the mine back into operation again. The Quincy Mine was a working mine for about 100 years, from the 1840s to 1945.  We considered returning home after having lunch in Calumet, but we had heard of a scenic drive north of the town.   Apparently it is a stretch of road where old growth forests tower over the highway and stand within touching distance of each other. A national park ranger informed us that it would be “worth our while”.  It would mean traveling 20 more miles than we had planned, but we decided that we had the time to kill. It did turn out to be a wonderful trip. Before reaching that scenic section of road on SR 41, however, we saw an historic snow marker in a roadside park.  In 1978-79 it snowed 390 inches. The average is usually 240 inches, even that amount I can’t comprehend!
 We eventually came to the scenic area of woodlands. The towering beauty of the aspens, birch, maples and spruce trees was indeed impressive to see. They formed a green tunnel down the road.
 After driving through the town of Copper Harbor we headed south on the peninsula toward home.  We connected with SR 26 so we could travel along Lake Superior’s shoreline. We stopped at the small town of Eagle Harbor to look at the lighthouse. The lighthouse is in the background of the picture below.
At Great Sand Bay we encountered a bit of sand over the road and discovered some fairly large sand dunes along the shoreline.  Driving further, we saw Jacob Falls as well as Eagle River Falls, pictured below.  When we started on this drive we sure did not realize how picturesque it was going to be!
 An historical marker near the falls noted that Eagle Falls is alleged to be the first copper mine in the Western Hemisphere. After a supper break we continued toward home. It is great being this far north  in June because we were still in daylight driving back home, which we reached by 10 PM. 

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