Tahquamenon Falls and Soo Locks

Trip Start Nov 15, 2011
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Trip End Nov 14, 2012


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Where I stayed
Lakeshore RV Park

Flag of United States  , Michigan
Monday, July 2, 2012

We are camped on the shores of Lake Michigan, in Michigan's Upper Peninsular, near Mackinac Bridge, which we will cross tomorrow.  Mackinac Bridge connects upper and lower Michigan, and is a 4-mile-long uninterrupted steel superstructure, with two huge towers that descend more than 200 feet below the water.

Today we visited Tahquamenon Falls on the Tahquamenon River.  The upper falls are the next largest in size (east of the Mississippi) to Niagra; they are over 200 feet across, with a drop of around 48 feet.  The water is brown, from the tannins of the cedar swamps, and 'frothy' because of a lack of minerals in the water.  The lower falls are a series of small falls cascading around an island, a great place to cool off in the summer.  The Tahquamenon is noted as being the land of Longfellow's The Song of Hiawatha - "by the rushing Tahquamenaw" where Hiawatha built his canoe.  It's a beautiful area.

We drove along the Whitefish Bay Scenic Byway - Lakeshore Drive.  However, as there is 40 feet of trees between the road and the lakeshore, mostly all we saw were trees!  We stopped to look at Point Iroquois Lighthouse, and the view across Lake Superior to Canada, before heading into Sault Ste Marie to visit Soo Locks.  We were very lucky to arrive at the same time as a freighter was going through the lock, and were able to watch from the observation deck.

Sault Ste Marie is two cities, one half in Michigan, and the other half in Ontario, Canada.  It became the first European settlement in the area when in 1668 Father Jacques Marquette travelled there to found a catholic mission.  In 1671 he left the mission and headed south to the Straits of Mackinac where he founded another mission and named it St Ignace.
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