Monday, July 11, 2011

Cast Off!! Leave Your Worries Behind!! Paradise Is Just "U P" The Road!!!!!!

After talking with Nancy, the camphost at Petoskey State Park, we headed back up north to see what we had missed the first time in the U. P. of Michigan. Nancy,"The Girl With The Green Felt-tipped Pen'', suggested that our first stop should be Tahquamenon Falls. She suggested we stay at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park - Rivermouth Campground instead of the campground at the Falls. We took her suggestion and are we ever glad we did. The Rivermouth Campground is located in Paradise, Michigan. It is less crowded and has larger lots. It is right on the mouth of the Tahquamenon River where it empties into Whitefish Bay of Lake Superior. It is less than 15 miles to the Upper Falls. We enjoyed visiting both the Upper and Lower Falls; but, we enjoyed our time on the Tahquamenon River, as you will see, much, much more.

Width of some 200 feet.

Water flow of 50,000 gallons per second!!

Makes a lot of foam!!

50 feet drop!!

Michigan Department of Natural Resources State Parks have great visitor centers!!

As fate would have it, our visit to the Upper Falls would influence me for the rest of my life. There is a lot of walking at the Falls and many vantage points to see the Tahquamenon River from. Some of the veiwing areas require you to go up and down a lot of wooden steps. Not the best place to take three pups. So, being the gentleman and caring husband that I am, I "reluctantly" volenteered to take a seat on a nearby bench while Evin climbed down and up several hundred steps.

There was a gentleman sitting on the bench and I asked him if I could join him. He smile and said, "Sure, you bet ya!" People who know me will tell you that I never met a stranger. Well, as it turns out, John never does either. Within minutes we shared that we both had been correctional officers and we both were staying at the Rivermouth Campground near one another in our respective 5th wheels.

John went on to say the Pat, his wife, and he spent two weeks on the river this time every year. As I remember it, they had the grandchildren the first week and then the second week it was just the two of them. He shared with me that they really enjoyed kayaking and the Tahquamenon River was a great river for kayaking. I told him I had never done it but would like to and said, "Pat's taking the grandkids home, why don't you come cast off' on the river with me?"

John, Pat and me, about to go on a trip of beauty and wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, you know me, John didn't have to ask me twice. Little did I know the "Wonderland" that awaited me on the Tahquamenon River. John explained that the Tahquamenon River/Whitefish Bay area is the land of Longfellow's Hiawatha. Lake Superior's Native American name is Gichigami, "big water". Lake Superior is the largerst fresh water lake in the world by surface area. It is the world's third-largest lake by volume. Somewhere I read that 10% of the fresh water in the world is in Lake Superior.
PureMichigan is Michigan's Official Travel and Tourism Site. On the site is a intro promoting Michigan kayaking that reads, "Cast off. When we drop our kayak in Michigan waters, we leave more than just the shore behind. We leave the routine of daily life behind. We cut ties with the ordinary and glide toward a place of wonder. Each dip of the paddle immerses us in a new world where adventure is always just around the bend. Whether we're seeking the heart-stopping rush of the rapids or the serenity of a peaceful drift, we can indulge our passion here. Chart a course for PureMichigan kayaking today!"

A few beautiful words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to set the mood....


                                 ....Thus aloud  cried Hiawatha
                                 In the solitary forest
                                 By the rushing Taquamenaw,
                                 When the birds were singing gayly,
                                 In the Moon of Leaves were singing,
                                 And the sun, from sleep awaking,
                                 Started up an said, "Behold me!
                                 Gheegis, the great Sun, behold me!!

                                  ....Thus the Birch Canoe was builded
                                  In the valley, by the river,
                                  In the bosom of the forest;
                                  And the forest's life was in it,
                                  All its mytery and its magic,
                                  All the lightness of the birch-tree,
                                  All the toughness of the cedar,
                                  All the larch's supple sinews;
                                  And it floated on the river
                                  Like a yellow leaf in autum,
                                  Like a yellow water-lily....

                                   ....And thus sailed my Hiwatha
                                  Down the rushing Taquamenaw,
                                  Sailed through all its bends and windings,
                                  Sailed through all its deeps and shalows,
                                  While his friend the strong man, Kwasind,
                                  Swam the deep, the shallows waded.

                                    ....Up and down the river went they,
                                   In and out among its islands,
                                   Cleared its beds of root and and sand-bar,
                                   Dragged the dead trees from its channel,
                                   Made its passage safe and certain,
                                   Made a pathway for the people,
                                  From its spring among the mountains,
                                  To the waters of Pauwating,
                                  To the bay of Taquamenaw.

The mouth of the Tahquamenon River where the river empties into Lake Superior!!!!

So what did you think? Was it a "wonder" or not? To me, it would have been a crime not to have returned to the Upper Pensiula as Nancy had suggested. I often think of the RVers I saw going over the Tahquamenon River Bridge on their way to the Upper and Lower Falls or to the Maritime Museum at Whitefish Point Lighthouse. They just ignored the Rivermouth Campground. As they crossed over all they saw was a river. And trust me, there is a lot of water everywhere. Had it not been for Nancy I would have never been at the campground where John and Pat were staying with their kayaks. Had it not been for John and Pat, I would have just walked on the river bank a few hundred yards or so. I would have never seen what I shared with you in this post. It much differnt looking into the bank of a river from a kayak. Don't you agree?

So here I am, my first time in a kayak in my, at the time, 63 years. I think it was time to let my inner-child come out and play, don't you? Why not let your inner-child out as well. Michigan is a wonderful place to do just that.

Paradise is truly the land of Longfellow's Hiawatha - " the rushing Tahquamenaw!!!!!

And this is just the south side of town. Just wait till you see what we found in town and to the north....

Do you want to see some of the yellow water lilies photos I didn't use earlier????

Do you think I saved the best for last????


  1. Great name...I knew I like that lady with the Green Felt Pen!!

    Keep going...our TODOS list for UP is getting longer;o))

  2. Wow! I can hardly wait until we DO make this trip!

  3. There is a quick mention of you in our post today. Thanks for the suggestion to visit "American Spoon" for fruit preserves. We found a sampling of their jellies and salsas in a store on Mackinac Island.

  4. The new photos are fantastic. There is something magical about seeing things from the water!! Glad all those special people came into your life at the right time:o))