Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Touring Michigan - The"Sunrise Side" or Lake Huron's Northern Shore

Even when you live in a beautiful, magical place, life gets hectic and stressful and you just need to get away. We had reached that point this past weekend and decided that a couple evenings by the campfire might just be the thing to put us back in a more relaxed frame of mind.

We decided to head southeast, to the shores of Lake Huron, the "sunrise side" of the state, which has a totally different feel than the Lake Michigan side - you won't find Starbucks or sushi here, but you will find plenty of natural beauty, history and lots of lighthouses.

Just a brief aside: Did you know that bags of marshmallows now come with the warning "Marshmallows are flammable. Please use caution when roasting this product". Are there really people out there that don't know this?

We spent a few hours canoeing the Thunder Bay River and had a great time viewing all the wildlife -so many great blue herons that we lost count, egrets, an otter, swans with cygnets, turtles and an amazing array of dragonflies.

Evening brought an incredible sunset - yes, even on the "sunrise side" thanks to the wide expanse of the river.

The next day we went on a different type of adventure - we climbed the towers of three different lighthouses!

First was the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Built in 1840 by Jeremiah Moors of Detroit, the harbor light operated until 1871 when the keeper transferred to a new, taller, coastal lighthouse a mile to the north. The stone and brick tower measures thirty feet tall and eighteen feet in diameter and features spiral hand-hewn stone steps

The Old Presque Isle Light was found to be insufficient to shipping needs and a new light, the New Presque Isle Light was built in 1870 two miles further north. It's the tallest lighthouse tower accessible to the public on the Great Lakes, with a total of 130 steps leading to the top.

It's original third order Fresnel lens is still in place, I thought this inverted reflection of the shoreline caught in the lens was interesting:

Our final lighthouse of the day was 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, built in 1896. It was built in order to complete a chain of lights along Lake Huron's shoreline, so that ships would always be in viewing range of light.

That there was (and is) a need for lighthouses to add navigation is obvious - 200 feet from the lighthouse is a section of hull from the Joseph H Fay, which went down in the "Big Blow" of 1905 when a total of 27 wooden vessels were lost.

We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend, experienced adventures in nature and history, and went home refreshed and ready to face the fray once more - the "sunrise side" is a great place to kick back and rejuvenate!!!


  1. I'm delighted to see these old friends. We spent a week last year at this time in the Presque Isle area and saw many of these sights.

    I hope you are all rested up and destressed.

  2. Sounds gorgeous and rejuvenating! I love the water birds...and would be so thrilled to see so many in one place :)