PIRO is located on the south shore of Lake Superior between Munising and Grand Marais, Michigan. It's a typical water park -- long but narrow. The enabling legislation for the lakeshore and river parks usually limited just how far away from the water a park could go. End result can be a park that's many, many miles long but only a quarter of a mile wide.The National Park Service as an agency is 100 years old this year; PIRO is exactly half that age -- it was created in 1966. The park includes some spectacular shoreline (sandstone cliffs, sea caves carved by wave action, giant sand dunes) as well as lovely beaches and numerous waterfalls. The area is a favorite with sea kayakers, and tour boat operators do a pretty good business in the summer. One tour operator has glass bottom boats and cruises over a number of shipwrecks, which I'm told are quite interesting.
We did not do any boat tours; we stuck to the land and visited places relatively easy to get to, like Munising Falls, the Log Slide, and Miner's Castle (shown above). Although it's not obvious in the photo, there is a paved path leading to Miner's Castle where there's an overlook hiding behind those trees to the right of the rock formation. Miner's Castle used to have a third "turret," but it came tumbling down during a bad storm a number of years ago. Miner's Castle is one of those typical NPS sites: lots of signs up warning people to stay behind the fence and lots of footprints in the dirt providing ample evidence people cannot read. I'm not sure if anyone's managed to kill themselves by clambering around on those rocks for the fun of it, but I do know a guy was convicted of murder a few years ago for shoving his wife off a cliff at PIRO.
|The Pickle Barrel house.|
I repeat. A food truck. In Grand Marais. Apparently hipster Meals on Wheels are now everywhere. It was not a bad burger. A tad overpriced, but when you've got a food truck in the middle of nowhere your profit margin has to be extremely thin. I was willing to pay a little extra just to support the novelty factor -- although using that logic I should have gone running out to buy a frozen treat when the ice cream cart bicycled through the campground on Saturday. For a brief moment, it was like being back in Atlanta, except there the Mexican entrepreneurs had push carts. I used to wonder just how many miles those guys walked every day. . . but I digress.
|Nifty resource education|
|Logging high wheels and a logging sled|
|Note the graphic that accompanies all the cautions. People ignore it, of course. Accidents are what happen to other people.|
|Au Sable Light Station as seen from the Log Slide overlook|
|Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore headquarters building.|
We hit a few overlooks along the way, concluded that Lake Superior is indeed a large lake and on that particular day a really amazing color, and eventually wound up at Miner's Castle and then in Munising. Our last stop was at Sand Point, which is another former Coast Guard lifesaving station now being used by the National Park Service. It's the Park headquarters. If I was still doing the List of Classified Structures, I'd ding it for maintenance issues. The paint is starting to flake and, you know, I could be wrong but I don't think trees are supposed to grow out of chimneys.
|Yes, the tree is growing out of the chimney.|
|I think I may have figured out what to do with the ruin of a boat the museum owns. Fence it off and let it rot.|