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Friday, September 11, 2015

Copper Harbor and Porcupine Mountains

What a scenic and beautiful area of Michigan this is. I had no idea the state held such a picturesque and colorful region. It's like the lower section of Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are two different worlds. The part of the Upper Peninsula we are currently located in is known as the Keweenaw Peninsula with the the City of Houghton being the largest city in the region. It's located on the banks of Lake Portage and is only separated from the City of Hancock by the Portage Canal. The city of Houghton claims to be the home of professional hockey when the Portage Lakers were formed in 1903. This whole region was heavily influenced by copper mining in the early 1900's. All the mines are closed now but a school founded in 1885 by the Michigan State Legislature to teach metallurgy and mining engineering, the Michigan College of Mines, continues today under the name of Michigan Technological University and is the primary employer in the city. There is a unique bridge connecting Houghton and Hancock that was built in the 1950's and is a link to the Keweenaw Peninsula from the lower U P. This bridge is the world's largest "lift bridge" and can be raised to a height of over 100 feet above the water. A lift bridge, unlike a draw bridge, is one where a large section of the bridge can be raised or "lifted". The bridge was just recently rebuilt and should be good for years to come. We saw a similar bridge over the Soo Locks in New York. We've run into an unusual character that along with his wife are the campground hosts here at this campground. His name is Dan Kemp who is a lifelong resident of the area and is a Yooper. Dan has led an interesting life and has had many unusual events so far in his life, including him and a friend crossing Lake Superior in a fourteen foot boat. He's written a book about his experiences and has been published and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The book's title is a A Yooper's Summer on Isle Royale. Dan and his wife are work campers and migrate to the Florida Keys in the winter. In fact, he said they are leaving here October 1 to make sure they beat the snow!
        We're going to have to start thinking about heading south before too long ourselves. The predicted high for today is 55 and down to 44 tonight. We plan to spend some time in Wisconsin and possibly Minnesota before we start south so we need to keep an eye on the weather.
       We have become friends with another couple we met while in Munising and we are all here in  Houghton together. Their names are Terry and Kathy Derouen from Sulphur, Louisana which is close to Lake Charles.  We have traveled the last two days together and have had a great time. Terry is about 3/4 crazy! They have a nice Class A motor home.

View from our campground across the lake. 

There's a city park adjacent to our campground. I thought this bike rack had a cool symbol on one end. It depicts a miner with a pick and bucket.

Lift bridge that provides passage from City of  Houghton to the City of Hancock and the nothern section of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Walkway at City Park near campground. There are some pretty large ships that travel this waterway which goes  all the way into Lake Superior.

There was this seagull that kept pestering me while I was taking pictures, so I shot him!

Entrance to our campground.

Photo of Dan Kemp's book. I haven't read it yet, but definitely will.

Photo of lift bridge (I borrowed from the internet)
These next 24 photos were made while on our trip to Copper Harbor Wednesday. This is the Sand Hill light house which has been converted to a bed and breakfast. A very nice lady came out and gave us some danish coffee cake she had just made.  

Not sure what this used to be. It was too rocky to have been a place to launch a boat.

Looks like a very peaceful spot to relax and watch the world go by!

Plaque on the wall of lighthouse.

It was hard to see the beacon part of the lighthouse. This was about as good as I could get it.

Lighthouse at Eagle River. Evidently it's become a private residence that has been built around the lighthouse.

Maritime Museum at Eagle Harbor lighthouse.

Lighthouse at Eagle Harbor. They had just finished installing a new roof which is why the red is so vibrant.

EH on the window stands for Eagle Harbor. Very scenic lighthouse.

These were part of the old roof panels that are to be sold as souvenirs of the original lighthouse roof. Worker there told us the new panels are exactly like the old ones that are over 100 years old. Pretty cool. 

Observation deck at Eagle River Lighthouse. We can't seem to get away from Lake Superior, it's huge.

Overlook on Brockway Mountain in Copper Harbor.The mountain is 1320 feet above sea level. By the way, Lake Superior is 600 feet above sea level.
The Cherry gang atop Brockway Mountain.

Meet our Cajun buddies, Terry and Kathy Derouen.

Entrance to Copper Harbor, harbor.

Copper Harbor Lighthouse.

Entrance to Fort Wilkins State Park.
Entrance to Fort Wilkins that has been restored.

Compound area. There were many buildings in the compound that made up the fort.

Scenic shot of Flag and Canon overlooking Lake Fanny Hooe.

Can you see the distortion in the reflection in the window? It's caused by very old leaded glass and was common throughout the period.

Very good display showing  minerals and how copper was mined in the area.

Lac Labelle Lighthouse on eastern side of Copper Harbor.

There is a city in the Keweenaw Peninsula named Gay, Michigan. We were told to be sure and have our picture made in front of the Gay Bar sign. No further comment! 
These pictures were made on our trip Thursday to the Porcupine Mountains State Park. The mountains are locally called The Porkies.

Very scenic area named Lake of the Clouds.

Us again! Btw, it's chilly here.

Terry and Kathy.

Someone was flying a drone over the observation area. It was a lot further away than this picture makes it look.

Turkeys crossing the road in front of us.

Sign at beginning of trail to Summit Peak. We decided to give it a go since it was only half a mile to the peak. Someone lied, it had to be longer than a half mile!

Shot of the trail to the top. Didn't look too bad.

It got steeper as we got closer to the top. This walkway shows the elevation at the top

Tower at the top.

This is what we saw. Nice view of Lake Superior......again!!

Falls on Presque Falls River. Interesting how the eddy currents have carved out these round areas in the rocks.

Looks like footprints in the rocks alongside the river.

Pretty river

This gives you an idea of the steps we had to climb down and back up to get down to the falls.

It took someone a long time to build this, and there were many more steps and walkways than were in the picture.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Again Joe you have captured some beautiful views. Love seeing and hearing about my home state through another's eyes. Very nice

  3. From Betty: Beautiful area of Michigan. Glad fellow travelers told ya'll to go there. Very interesting posts and great shots that I'm enjoying.

  4. Joe, you should really consider publishing this blog in a book format and placing your book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble too! Beautiful pics! Loved the picture of the falls where it looks like puzzle pieces.