Friday, August 30, 2013

Tahquamenon Falls Hike, Paradise, Michigan




There are a few waterfalls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and the two most popular – Lower Falls and Upper Falls (which is the second highest waterfall east of the Mississippi River, after Niagara Falls) are connected by a five mile linear hike. So at 8:30am, we were on the trail and heading for the Upper Falls (the Lower Falls trailhead begins just outside our campground, so it was the obvious place to start).
 

Here are the Lower Falls……..



One interesting thing we learned is that this hike is part of the North Country Trail, America’s longest scenic trail (over 4,600 miles) connecting eastern NY, PA, OH, IL, MI, MN, and ending in ND!
 


The trail was an easy hike (especially after the near-vertical boulder climbing we did in Maine and New Hampshire) and was mostly horizontal, a few ups-and-downs, tree roots, etc…. It also mostly followed the river connecting the two waterfalls. Probably the most difficult part of the hike was fighting the mosquitoes – yowza! Even after spraying ourselves with repellent, if there was a square millimeter that was missed, there was a mosquito.
 

We did see the start of some fall foliage along the way…….



At times it was basically just a river, with no waterfalls or a sound of waterfalls……         
 




It was about 2 ½ hours or so to the Upper Falls and in all that time, we did not meet one other person on this hike, which is quite rare. It’s a popular hike, and we really expected to pass some people hiking towards Lower Falls, but nada – no one. We (really Brad – he’s taller) cleared every spider web along the trail for anyone following us or starting after we got off the trail. 




Another reason we chose to hike Lower Falls to Upper Falls was due to the fact that there was a brewery at Upper Falls, and it’s always nice to end a hike with something to eat, other than a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. The beer was good, the food good/okay but the service – come on people – smile, be polite, all that stuff.  If you don’t have customers, then you don’t have a job! What is it with people?
 

How did we get back home? Well, we could have walked back the five miles, but Zoey (the dog) was not in for it (at least that’s our story), so we took the shuttle – for $15/couple (dog is free), they drive you back to either Lower or Upper Falls, from wherever you came. The driver – very nice – see, now there’s someone who knows what her job is about – customer service. She got the extra tip money that didn’t go to the brewery folks.

All-in-all, a good, fun hike - especially once we bathed in mosquito repellent! Oh, and as suspected by all and confirmed by said mosquitoes – Suzanne is much sweeter than Brad – she has approximately 50 bites; he has 2. :-)
 
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

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