Last Day in the U.P.
Miles hiked: 12
By the fourth day of our expedition, we seemed to be feeling stronger and also more in-tune with our hiking senses. Thus, we managed to get up and packed and hiking by 7:30am…look at us go. We had 12 miles to hike today to finish our trek.
The trail started out staying at the lower elevation, just above the lake level, but pretty soon we started going uphill again. Turns out, we were making our way up on top of the cliffs again…
The morning viewpoints out over the lake were fewer than the day before. Instead, the trail more often was wandering through the forest further back
We found a cliff back in the woods too though!
A little after 9:00am, we made it to the eastern side of Miner’s Beach and found a spot to sit and have a breakfast break. It was a lovely little cove of sorts where a small waterfall was cascading into the lake. Later, I looked it up and found it’s called Elliot Falls. We both tried to take pictures capturing the neat scene, but Calzone’s was definitely more professional…
Miner’s beach was quite beautiful and lengthy. Unfortunately, the trail here was also super soft sand that wasn’t the easiest for hiking through. On the other end of the beach, the Miners River completes it’s course and dumps it’s water into Lake Superior.
We were startled at how dark brownish the water looked. Apparently, it’s from the tannins, which I’ve always heard about, but honestly don’t know what the term means.
Soon after this, we found ourselves surrounded by people again at the Miners Castle parking area and viewpoint. It was really crowded with tourists. This is probably the best spot to get a view of the cliff features of the park without having to hike to them. We observed a number of folks with strong selfie skills.
After leaving the Miners Castle area, we entered into what was likely our least favorite section of trail. The reason being that is was a bit swampy and although the park had installed several boardwalks, some areas still existed that were quite muddy. We made pretty good time though, since not stopping often to look for views.
Just before noon, however, we took an early lunch at one of the few spots where it was clear enough to look out. There wasn’t much space, so we pretty much plopped down right alongside the trail. It was fun to watch the boats so far down below cruising along. We also had been getting nearer to Grand Island (straight across) and found it interesting that that most of that island seems to have the same cliff features as the park. Ideas were already forming for potential future trips 😉
I’m not sure exactly where it was in this last part of the day, but we unexpectedly had our biggest climb of the whole trek. Good training, we thought, for the serious mountains out west! Once on top though, it was nice and flat, which was pleasant.
We crushed the miles today and made it to back to Calzone’s car by 3:30pm! Here’s our happy, victory photo…
And, our reenactment of the bear attack photo…
Despite being pretty sore and tired, we were feeling groovy after completing our hike! And, we were excited for the comforts of town…specifically feeling that a trip to the local coffee shop would really hit the spot! Falling Rock Cafe was lovely and got us nice and caffeinated for our drive towards home.
Before heading out, I made a stop to pick up some Blackrocks Brewery beer to bring home, and then we were on the road. We made a plan that I’d drive this stretch while Calzone got to work calling Big Agnes about her tent. Big Agnes customer service has always been great for us both, but even so, it seemed we wouldn’t have all the answers figured out right away. We had about a week before leaving for the Pacific Crest Trail, which didn’t help either. In the end, our trail family member, Cheer, came through and offered Calzone a tent of hers she could use!
Rather than drive the whole way back and get home late, we opted to use some of my hotel points again and stayed in Petoskey, MI. After devouring some pizza, which is usually what I crave while on trail, we called it an early night. The next day, we’d make our way back and continue our preparations for the next adventure!