This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Lake Superior - Simons Harbor

Simons Harbor has one well-protected cove and one somewhat-protected cove.  Above is the nicest of the two coves.  A stern tie was needed again to secure the boat.  Simons is one of the best harbors visited along Lake Superior's shore.  The inner cove has beautiful scenery and the coastal trail runs right along the water, giving easy access to this amazing hike through the woods and rocks.

A walk along the high peninsula separating the two coves provided a better view of the bottom than on the flybridge.  The rocky bottom and shallows are more evident from a higher vantage point.

The end of the peninsula had a different topography than most of Superior's rocky shore.  The sloping face was filled with hollows that had become gardens, planted in attractive ways.

The lower edge by the water had white rock stripes running through black granite with some red granite throwing in.  The rounded rock face denotes that the weather-driven waves can come into the harbor polishing the rocks smooth.

The smooth rocks do make for a nice dinghy landing and starting point for a hike up the rock face.

Hiking across the peninsula brings a nice view of the other cove at Simons, which is not as large and is more open to the big lake.  It was quiet and calm on this day.

Looking to the right from the above vantage point, the high peninsula that forms Simons Harbor is prominent.

Out into the lake, off the point above, lies a lumpy island with a stand of trees appearing much like hair on a head.  This island guards the entrance to Simons.  Navigationally, this island is a puzzle.  Simons Harbor has many shoals along its mouth.  In fact, the charts show a shoal in the exact spot where this island sits.  There is no island on the charts.  It is quite difficult to get one's bearings when looking for a shoal underwater and finally realizing that a 40' tall island is there instead.

The dinghy ride back to Last Dance brings a view how much farther from the lake the back of the nicer harbor lies.

The coastal trail has some challenging climbs, but the most interest comes from the rock formations and wide variety of plant life.  The images below provide a glimpse of a walk along the trail.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lake Superior - White Mud River Rapids

Lake Superior's jagged, rocky shoreline again attempts to hide entrances to harbors and rivers.  After negotiating a number of underwater rocks and shoals to approach closer to shore, the mouth of the White Mud River is still elusive.  But, the promise of a great hiking trail, including crossing a raging rapid on a swing bridge, kept the crew focused on finding a safe way into the river.

Finally, an opening is spotted that should be the river's mouth, flowing into Lake Superior.

It is a tiny opening.  Even this close, it appears like many of the small, shallow, dead end coves that lie along the shore.

Once in the river, a spot wide enough to swing at anchor was found and Last Dance was secured to the bottom.  The trail and rapids were a few miles up the rivers, and while much of it is deep, there are reported to be some shallow, rocky spots that would put a cruising boat aground.  The river trip is best done by dinghy.

A beautiful, clear sky day occurred, perfect for exploring the river and hiking the coastal trail.

The river proved to a winding water road through tree covered rock walls.  The normally slow dinghy was further hampered by running against the current, but it only lengthened the time spent experiencing an untouched, natural wilderness.

The navigable section of the river ends at a set of rapids, but not The Rapids.

The coastal trail runs close to these rapids, making access easy by landing the dinghy along the shore.  The trail is well maintained, marked, with campsites along the river.

A good hike up the trail from the lower rapids leads to the dramatic rapids, crossed by a suspension bridge.

Although a new suspension bridge of steel and concrete has replaced the older rope and wood structure, it can be intimidating to  walk out high over the rapids on a walkway that is moving in the wind.

The spectacular view of the raging rapids is well worth the fear of swinging above them.  The sight is beautiful, the roar loud, and the spray reaches far above the bridge, wetting those who stand and view.