Sunday, September 25, 2011

Our trip to the U.P. (this is from August but worth the wait!)

The view from the top of Sleeping Bear. You can see Craig and Sophie (he's in the green shirt). She cried the whole way up. She wouldn't stay in the backpack and was useless trying to climb, but she still remembers it!!!
This is taken at the bottom. It was so gorgeous and I shoulda worn my swimsuit. The water was the perfect temperature. Next time we do this, I'm gonna have Craig kayak from the beach in Empire so we don't have to climb with the kids back up!
We made it to the bottom! What a climb! Can you believe the color of the water? I have yet to be at Sleeping Bear when it was spectacularly beautiful!
Halfway down!
Looking for Petosky stones (fossilized coral deposited here by the glaciers).
Sophie is smart enough to run from the bears!
Check this out! Now THAT'S an opportunity of a lifetime!! I told Craig we could NOT pass it up!
I think that this'll be our Christmas card pic this year.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was gorgeous by boat (wish we'd be kayaking).
This is looking out of a little bay we pulled into.
Okay, it's not Lake Powell, but it sure is beautiful!
You can see the Indian head profile on the end of this outcropping.
This is Tahquamennon Falls. It's pretty, but WHY do they bother comparing it to Niagara? Obviously not nearly as spectacular!
It was nice of Soph to point this out right before she chucked her paci over the guard rail (I did climb down and get it much to the dismay of Craig and all bystanders, but look, I'm still here today and we didn't have to listen to all the crying so it's all good).

The second week in August we went on a grand explore of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was alot of time driving, but we saw some amazing sights and really enjoyed the trip. We started by driving all the way up to Tahquamenon Falls near Paradise, MI. It was a nice stop short walk to the falls and a pretty view. Next we headed on to Marquette. It was really fantastic to drive along Lake Superior between Munising and Marquette. We had a free night at a hotel in Marquette thanks to Craig's travel points from this year. The next morning we drove back to Munising and caught the tour boat that took us along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (these rock formations were carved out by the glaciers that created the great lakes. I think that the glacier must have deposited all the sediment carved out along the lake shore of lake Michigan and that's how we got the dunes!).
It was a nice trip for most of us. Katie got seasick about half way through but it wasn't anything that a little dramamine and Sprite couldn't cure (I haven't traveled anywhere with Katie without the aid of dramamine for about 8 yrs). Anyhow, it was a great day to be on the water. Really calm waters and warm too. We didn't even need a long sleeve shirt on the boat.
After the tour we got lunch and then headed to Oswald's Bear Ranch (with a name like Oswald's I figured we couldn't go wrong!). It did not disappoint! I think we scored the best family Christmas picture ever! Do you think people we assume we adopted a baby bear cub??
After our visit to the Bear Ranch we high tailed it back down to the mitten to meet up with Hailey and Steve who had spent the day on Mackinac Island. We rented a cabin with them for the next two nights while we explored Charlevoix and Petoskey. It was fun to hunt down Petoskey stones (fossilized coral deposited in that area by the glaciers that created the great lakes) and check out the beaches and lighthouses and quaint downtown shops. After leaving the cabin we headed for Sleeping Bear Dunes to make the climb. We got a gorgeous day. It was advantageous that it started out with rain because it kept down the crowds as well as compacted the sand making our climb back up the 450 ft to the top easier. After getting completely filthy at the dune we drove the 2 1/2 hrs back to our house to clean up and get ready for church on Sunday. I'd rate this trips one of my all time favorites so far!!