BLACK RIVER HARBOR BEACH

WHERE: Ironwood, Michigan – the western side of the U.P.

WHEN: Actually I think everyone else in my family has been here before. Cindy actually camped on the beach under the stars as a camp “field trip” when she was a kid. But for some reason, I never got here before.

WHAT: A beautiful beach stretching along Lake Superior at the mouth of the Black River. Even though some of the pictures of the water looks as if it’s polluted, that’s actually pollen and only covers a couple feet of water along the beach.

KID FACTOR: Lots of kids around this beach. Lots of families. (No lifeguards, though.) But a beautiful site.

RAINBOW FALLS AT BLACK RIVER HARBOR

So last week the older two up-north munchkins and I headed north. They had been staying with me and it was sadly time for them to return home. Alas, spending the Fourth of July in the northwoods has a very vacation-ey atmosphere to it. I think that has something to do with the multitude of tourists jamming the downtown touristy streets and speeding along the winding, pine-bordered look-alike country roads.

And of course, being that it’s only a week to the Hodag Festival, lines of campers and cars are already forming at the gate. (Weird scene – empty fields spotted with a crop of port-a-potties and empty cars and campers in line for best Hodag spots.)

Anyhow, I ventured into those woods with fear and trepidation … and gallons of mosquito and tick repellent dripping off me. I was petrified of getting another round of Lyme disease. I did not like being on those antibiotics last year. Since it can be a month before you know whether or not you’ve been bitten – we’ll see. But I think I’m safe.

We got there on Tuesday afternoon so on Wednesday morning we took off for two hours even further north – to Black River Harbor. I think everyone in my family has been to Black River, but for some reason, I’ve missed it. The day was crystally, deep blue in color and exactly the right temperature. (Black River Harbor is in Michigan – that part of Michigan that is north of Wisconsin. The Black River itself starts in Wisconsin and flows into Lake Superior.)

Our first destination was Rainbow Falls which was an uphill hike (steps available) through the woods. You’ll notice the color of the river – that’s from the tannic acid from the hemlock trees – actually the ingredient of a tea once used to cure coughs.

Cindy, the older munchkin and I stayed on the quiet side of the falls – but Jeff and the younger two went over to the more adventurous side.

Sometimes you wish you could bottle up moments like that, bring them home and take them out in the middle of a busy work day.

But sadly, we can’t.

 

THE GARDENS

Haven’t written for awhile – life gets in the way – but have had some adventures.

A few weekends back a friend suggested we visited the Japanese Gardens – a fairly popular site, but not a place I’ve been. The day was beautiful and the gardens had lots of trees, plants and koi,  however because it is a Japanese garden there are not an overabundance of flowers.  The garden does have a couple waterfalls though and is unique in that it is tucked in the middle of a city on a busy road, yet you feel cut off from the noise. The koi were in a variety of colors, but (I think because of all the recent rains) the ponds were extremely muddy and the koi were mostly orange and white polka dots in the water.