After 4 days of delightful rest at Imp Lake, I was eager to be a vacation tourist for a couple of days. One of my favorite U.P. towns is Munising, home of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior. I had visited Munising as recently as 2 years ago, but one thing I had never done is take the boat cruise to actually see the pictured rocks.
After reading Technomadia’s rather sour post of their recent visit, though, I wasn’t sure if the cruise and re-visit to Munising would be worth the effort. Fortunately, I knew enough to only reserve a spot at the excellent Munising Tourist Park (where I had stayed before right on the shores of Lake Superior), so that got my visit kicked off on a positive note. Our site wasn’t directly on the waterfront, but we could see and walk to it quite easily.
I then was able to easily make my boat tour reservation online with Pictured Rocks Cruises, and rather than do the sunset cruise, decided on the one just before it that went a bit further up the coast to Spray Falls.
This was our tour boat, the Grand Portal. I lucked out with a seat on the back bench of the upper deck on the right hand side (absolutely perfect for photo-taking). Unlike Cherie’s experience, I must have had a different narrator because he was delightful, informative, and never too chatty. One of the fascinating stories he told was how they got this 65-foot ship from Biloxi, MS (where it was built) all the way up to Munising. Answer? Via various rivers up through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois up to Chicago. From there, it cruised up Lake Michigan, past Mackinac Island into Lake Huron, around the bend to the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie and finally into Lake Superior. Wow!
I also was fascinated with the birds making their homes on the rocks:
At the middle of the 3 hour cruise, the boat pulled into this very tall, narrow “canyon” cove—can’t imagine them doing this when Superior’s northern winds are blowing bigger waves!
The highlight of the tour was seeing Spray Falls which cascade over the cliffs into Lake Superior from Spray creek. The flow wasn’t too bad considering it was August and the Midwest suffered a major drought this summer. It must be really impressive in the springtime when snows are melting!
The trip back to Munising was quiet and relaxing. It also started to cloud up, so I was very glad, indeed, that I had chosen the earlier tour as the sunset tour would be gloomy that night.
Our final stop was this old wooden lighthouse on Grand Island before heading back to port.
All in all, it was well worth the $35 and a very convenient and affordable way to see the Pictured Rocks!