Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pijitawabik Palisades - Orient Bay, Ontario, Canada

The Palisades of the Pjitiwabik are one of the most interesting rock formations on the northern shore of Lake Superior, and while they are better known for their popularity during the winter ice climbing season, in the spring and summer several "overfalls" create stunning views of a different kind.
The best known falls in the area is Cascade Falls, best observed from a parking lot off of Hwy 11 where the historical marker pictured above is located. A trail leads through the woods for a moment, then puts you on the rocks - a cautious, slow approach will allow photos like these:

Since this was a side trip on our Lake Superior Circle Tour, we didn't spend nearly as long here as we could/should have. There is so much to see and take in, and personally I could have sat at these falls all day. We traveled a little farther north and there was one spot where ice still clung to the top of the rocky cliffs.
Past that, we were able to get a distant view of Go-Mar Falls (also known as Gorge Creek Falls):

We pulled off and shot this stunning view from a distance, and apparently there are hiking trails nearby that lead to a close-up view of the top of the falls (although I assume it's hard to get the whole thing into frame from that close). Here's a short video I shot at the falls:

Getting there: The Palisades begin on Hwy 11 about 40 miles north of Nipigon. Watch for the historical marker for Cascade Falls, and views of Gorge Creek Falls occur a few mile to the north, with several spots to pull off.

Overall: Great
Hike: Moderate

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lower Tahquamenon Falls - Paradise, Michigan

Tahquamenon River
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Paradise, MI

I'm back! I've been neglecting this blog lately, mostly due to my writing at Rant Sports and focusing on my hockey autograph blog. In the winter, I often get through cold snowy days by remembering how much fun I have in the Upper Peninsula during the summer. I only made it there twice this past year, but wanted to share my experience from Lower Tahquamenon Falls - not my first time there, but easily the best experience there to date!
While most of the attention goes to the bigger, more powerful Upper Tahquamenon Falls, the Lower Falls have so much to offer they shouldn't be missed. The river splits around an island, forming two major drops and several smaller ones. There is a path that follows the riverbank and offers views of a few sets of the falls, and the park's main observation platform provides this view of the falls to the left of the island:
For a better view of the falls, and to make sure you don't miss anything, there are rowboats available to get over to the island. There is a cost involved, I don't remember exactly but I want to say it was $12 for both of us. From the launch point, you'll steer the canoe towards the island, and have some great views on the way.

Once you get to the island, you'll be greeted by a sign that warns you to be careful. The trails and well-traveled but there aren't as many guardrails in place as there are along the riverwalk.
We took the trail to the left, and started our trip around the island. The up-close view of the first fall was amazing, and immediately made me glad we made the extra effort.

This is the top part of the falls from the picture above, and from the observation deck the views aren't anywhere close to this good. Next up was a set of rapids at the "top" of the island:
Down on the other side of the island is a fantastic set of falls, agains with multiple drops:


A short walk put us back at the dock, and we rowed our way back to the "mainland" while stopping to take a few picture along the way.

I would recommend this trip to anyone who likes waterfalls, as there are few chance to get this kind of a view of any of Michigan's waterfalls. I also took some video:

Getting there: Tahquamenon Falls is located on M-123 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula - west of Paradise/Whitefish Point and northeast of Newberry. Entire area is well-signed and incredibly scenic.
Overall: Great
Hike: Easy (mostly paved/boardwalk and handicap accesible)