After a hearty breakfast scramble at Frank's Place, I stopped by the Soo Locks - one of the most heavily used lock systems in the world, with 18,000 annual transits. Lots of interesting Great Lakes maritime history in the visitor center and I was fortunate to witness the locking of upbound (meaning into Superior) "laker," the John G Munson.
I then made my way toward Pictured Rocks National Seashore. I thought I was being clever and taking a shortcut, but apparently "Yoopers" have a different idea of road quality than pretty much everyone else. The below photo was labeled and signed as a "major road" but the only thing "major" about it was the depth of the ruts and the endless miles of washboard.
|It got much worse, but then I had to focus on not dying instead of photography|
|Miner's Rock, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore|
|Grand Portal Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore|
|I opted for the hike instead of the cruise|
|Chapel Creek Falls|
|Kayakers cruising by Chapel Rock|
|Did I take a wrong turn in Canada and end up in Florida? Nope, this is Michigan!|
All of the ships I saw were carrying iron or copper ore from the Upper Peninsula's numerous mines to the Midwestern manufacturing cities of Detroit, Chicago, etc. before they met their demise. I saw a lot of it spilt on the lakebed. But to see where it came from I toured the Quincy Mine, part of the Keewenaw Copper Mining National Heritage Complex. The Quincy Mine is home to a number of significant engineering feats, including the largest steam hoist, the largest concrete slab ever poured, and the deepest mine shaft at the time - over 9,000ft! We were only able to tour down to the 7th level of the mine, everything below that was flooded since the pumps stopped working. The 7th level was a cool 43*F but they said that before the mine was abandoned the lowest level was 100*F. Too close to liquid hot magma if you ask me!
|*Insert inappropriate shaft joke here*|
|The Quincy Mine was productive from 1846 thru WWII, producing 1.4 billion (that's with a B) pounds of copper!|
All that mining makes for hungry miners. The mining experts from the 1800s were Cornish immigrants from the UK. They brought technical know-how for operations deep underground and in the kitchen; a lasting legacy in the UP of potpie type meals called "pasties." I had mine at Roy's in Houghton, served by Roy himself from a secret family recipe.
|Damn, I seem to be making this a habit. It was pretty tasty and I got halfway though before I realized I should take a photo|
I don't have to go far for my next adventure, tomorrow the Isle Royale ferry leaves from Houghton, MI just a few blocks away from Roy's.