Saturday began with a leisurely drive west and north from Sault Ste. Marie to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Grand Marais. After meeting Gregg Bruff, Chief of Heritage Education at the park, for a brief overview on the park history, the group headed out. Through the forest and down several stairs we enjoyed spectacular views of fall color and several waterfalls. As the hike continued along the trail we made our way to Lake Superior for a breathtaking view of the lake and a look back at the vast park.
After a morning of hiking and fresh air we were all ready for lunch at Lake Superior Brewing Company in Grand Marais. Handcrafted beer and brewpub cuisine hit the spot with the entire group. If it’s a cool fall day I highly recommend trying the chili.
Trying not to go into a food coma as we headed back to Sault Ste. Marie we decided to stop at Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry. The largest bear sanctuary in the United States, Oswald’s has been a rescue location for bears for the past 25 years. Currently, Oswald’s has 29 black bears in residence on the 55 acre sanctuary. Visitors are allowed to visit with the young, in their cage, and pet them.
Back in Sault Ste. Marie our group assembled at Freighters Restaurant in the Ramada Plaza Hotel Ojibawa for dinner and a recap of the day.
Sunday…the last day of fun in the Eastern Upper Peninsula
When looking thru the options for the final day of the trip, I decided to join the cycling group heading to Drummond Island. Although I have not been on a distance ride in quite some time, I figured the beauty and history of Drummond Island would distract me from the 12 mile ride.
First stop of the day was in Hessel as we stopped at Woods & Waters Ecotours to pick up Jessie Hadley, owner and our guide for the day. From Hessel a short drive to DeTour Village to catch the ferry to Drummond Island, the largest fresh water island in the United States. Once on the island we made a quick stop at the Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center for a tour and with hopes the rainy weather would blow over before we hit the trail.
With an altered plan, a six mile ride instead of the original twelve (whew!) we headed out in the rain. The scenery was amazing as we cycled down the path toward the Fossil Ledges. Of course, I turned back into a kid and started riding right thru the middle of the puddles. At the ledges, we stopped and found a place out of the wind and rain to make a small camp and have lunch. One of our adventuresome writers decided this was a good time to put her feet in the lake. The review was mixed, the lake was cool but not terribly cold. With more rain on the way, we hit the trail back to the car.
Dinner brought the fishing, heritage and cycling groups together at Lockview Restaurant, across from the Soo Locks in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. A family owned and operated restaurant, Lockview is known for their whitefish. As dinner came to an end so did our adventure through the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The writers had a great trip learning about the state of Michigan and the variety of tourism destinations and experiences available.
Until the next trip…