Friday, August 19, 2011

Copper Harbor south to Calumet

We left the campground and headed south on Hwy 26. The stretch of road between Copper Harbor and Eagle River is the most beautiful we’ve ever seen in MI. I noted the coordinates for two great boondocking sites on the map for our next trip. The picture of the rocky coast could have been taken in Maine. In another area there were sand dunes and a wonderful wide sandy beach. Just beautiful.

The coast of Maine?

In Eagle Harbor we visited the Holy Redeemer Church which was built in 1854. In the church, there is a guest book. Look at the note a recent visitor left. His great-grandfather was baptized in this church.

Our camping destination for today was the Gratiot River County Campground. It’s not a campground in the conventional sense. A four mile graded, not recently I assure you, dirt road simply stops at a cul-de-sac on the shore of Lake Superior. A few paths lead off here & there. You find a spot you like and there you are. There is a pit toilet but that’s it. The access road is a bit of an adventure. It starts out as two lanes of washboard. After the first mile the quality of the road improves somewhat but it begins to get narrower. The last mile, or so, the road is barely a full lane wide. You just hope no one is coming the other way.
But when you get to the lake. Wow!! We cannot recall staying in a more beautiful setting. We’re parked under a canopy of aromatic cedar trees but with enough open space to let the sunshine in. Behind us is a combination sandy & rocky beach and then Lake Superior. This is one of the few places where Carol can actually get an unobstructed view of the lake from the campsite. This is as good as things get. Between the great site, and the adventuresome access road, we’re going to just stay put for a while. This morning I topped off the water tank before we left the campground and we just dumped the tanks yesterday. We’re all set.
The County Park is a very popular day-use area. There were perhaps a dozen cars here at any given time. Some people came in search of pretty rocks, some brought their dogs and let them run, a few came to pick thimbleberries and some to just enjoy a perfect, sunny, summer day. One guy came with his diving dog. A first for me. The dog was a male German Shorthair Pointer. Stood perhaps 30" at the back. He would rush out into the water until it was almost over his head, dive down until all you could see was his tail sticking out of the water, and come up with a large rock which he deposited on the beach !! He did this time after time for a couple of hours. Amazing.

Tonight we have the place all to ourselves. The cost? It's free!!

The mouth of the Gratiot River

Change of plans. About 3am we were awakened by thunder. The lightning display over Lake Superior was spectacular. It rained for perhaps an hour but nothing bad. In the morning the sky looked very dark. We turned on the weather radio and there was a severe thunderstorm warning in effect for our area. Torrential rain, damaging hail and 60mph plus winds!! were in the forecast. The last place we wanted to be if this came to pass was at the end of a four mile long dirt road that was in marginal condition to begin with so we packed up and headed into Calumet. It rained most of the way and all morning, but nothing nasty. Took advantage of a gloomy day by doing the laundry. Later on I looked at some of the historic copper mining exhibits in the area. Copper mining is certainly interesting, but I’m about maxed out.
Tonight we’re at the City of Hancock Recreation Area campground. It’s us and 50 other RV’s jammed side by side. Turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. Bummer. We could have been all alone on the shore of Lake Superior.

Tonight's view. The check-in station for the campground. Only cost us $22!!

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