Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Road Trip Day 4- Ironwood and Home

For Day 1 go here, Day 2 here, and Day 3 here.

Heading Out
After a good night's sleep I was up bright and early.  Baraga's Lakeside Inn has restaurant on the ground floor so I decided to go grab some breakfast by myself since everyone else was still sleeping.  The restaurant was nearly empty but the food was good and the waitress was awesome.  I sat at the bar and she sat at the other end drinking coffee with me and chatting about the area.  She really made my morning get off to a great start.

After breakfast I went back up to our room and the girls were up and getting ready for the day.  Originally we had planned on going through the Porcupine Mountains, seeing Lake of the Clouds and Manabehzo Falls and then on to a set of five falls along the Black River.  But, after talking it over, we decided to just hit the falls along the Black River and save the Porcupines for next time since hitting both would mean an extra four hours of driving.

Black River Falls Scenic By Way
In the western edge on the U.P., near Ironwood, is the Black River and along the Black River are several pretty awesome waterfalls.  You drive this black top road for miles with only the occasional house here and there.  I was seriously starting to think we had taken a wrong turn somewhere when suddenly there was a small turn off for Great Conglomerate Falls.   All the other falls are within five minutes of Great Conglomerate Falls.

Great Conglomerate Falls 

Online, it said this falls was called "Great Conglomerate" due to the falls being made of a conglomerate of two falls forming one, but at the falls there was a sign stating that the falls are made up of conglomerate rocks (smaller chunks of rocks compressed together to make a bigger chunk of rock).  I think the later is true in this case.  In some places you can even see individual pieces of rock.
After Great Conglomerate Falls comes Potawatomi Falls.  Both falls are a little bit of a hike to get to, but so pretty once you get there.

Potawatomi Falls

From Potawatomi Falls, you can continue on the trail to Gorge falls.  It's amazing to me how the falls change so much just a little bit down the river, and also how much the river drops in such short distances.

Gorge Falls
Gorge Falls is a unique falls, and you can get closer to it than either of the previous two on the Black River.  After Gorge Falls, it's just a short drive to Sandstone Falls.  And from the parking lot of Sandstone Falls it's only about 1/4 of a mile to the falls, but it's pretty much straight down a set of stairs.  Going down is kind of fun, but hiking back up- not so much fun.

Sandstone Falls
But it's really worth it.  I think this was my favorite of these falls.  You could walk right on to them and the cool breeze they generated felt so nice after all the hiking.  It's very picturesque too.

Sandstone Falls- Downstream
And lastly, comes Rainbow Falls.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is supposed to be really beautiful but it was hard to get any pictures of it due to the trees and growth.  Maybe it was just a little bit of a let down after how awesome Sandstone Falls was.  It was worth the hike, just not as awesome as some of the previous falls were.

Homeward Bound
After this, we headed home.  It was about 2:30, we were sweaty and hungry, but happy.  Google Maps took us on the most desolate route home possible, I swear, and after making two food stops- one at Subway and one at A&W, we finally got home around 6pm and it felt amazing to be back.  I love to travel, but I don't know how people can go away for a month or two.  I think I'm just a real homebody at heart.  What about you?  Do you live for the open road or is home really where your heart is?

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