Marquette – Presque Isle

Sep/4/2011 0 Malia Lane

Heather, an oh-so-nice state worker I met at Brimley State Park, was from Marquette and she told me how much she loved and missed her home town.  She also told me that one of its premiere attractions was Presque Isle.  So while I was in the area mainly to see Pictured Rocks, I also made it a point to see the town and tell it hello from Heather.  🙂

I was surprised to learn that the City of Marquette is the UP’s largest community, with a population of 21,355, and Northern Michigan University is here to lend to its regional appeal.  No matter the size, I always appreciate a town where they celebrate the season with flowers along the streets and hanging baskets on the lamposts.  They also have a great bike path that runs through the city and by the lakeshore.

It didn’t take long to drive around town a bit, though, so I headed onto Lakeshore Drive on the way to Presque Isle.

Before I got to that destination, though, I came across the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad Ore Dock.  A massive ship was being loaded, and I wasn’t about to ignore that perfect timing, so I stopped to watch the event and wound up staying there over an hour because I just found the whole process – the sights, sounds and smells – fascinating.

The John J. Boland was in residence and at 680′ long, I had a hard time getting a clear picture of this workhorse in one shot!

Those orange chutes are used to convey the taconite (a concentrated form of iron-bearing rock) into the ship’s compartments.  With a capacity of 33,800 tons, it wasn’t a quick process!

At the top here you see the train that transports the taconite to the chutes and you can see three chutes being used and one being lowered.  I never would have thought I would have found this as interesting as I did!

I finally pulled myself away and continued on to Presque Isle, but again I stopped along the way when I saw this big ship traveling near this little sailboat:

Pretty cool sight, huh?  Right, but ok Malia – get on to Presque Isle or it will be dark before you get there!

Once I finally arrived at Presque Isle (click on link for a fantastic aerial shot), the first thing I had to explore was the Breakwall.  It was a nice, clear, calm day, so after reading the warning sign not to walk on it when the waves are high – and the memorial to those who didn’t heed it and fell in and drowned – I headed down it.

There’s a lighthouse on the end and I wondered if I could make it all the way there.

But when I got to this part, I decided it wouldn’t be wise.  🙂  But I sat and watched this ship come in for a while.

The views of the cliffs to the side were compelling, also.

And the water was so incredibly clear and clean, I watched this couple of rock hounds looking for agates for a while, too.

After I continued on my way around the isle, I enjoyed seeing this longer view of where I’d just been.

And around every bend, there were more and more sights to marvel at.

This was near a place called Sunset Point and I could only imagine how beautiful a way to end a day at this spot would be.  And the water was apparently warm enough for these people to take the plunge into the wondrous Lake Superior!

Massive boulder cliffs colored with age, pine scented trees and sparkling blue water.  Where else could I want to be at this moment?

This shot shows the one-way, two mile long road that takes you around the isle and offers 5 miles of scenic foot trails as offshoots.

At this memorial for Chief Kawbawgam (1799-1902), the last Chief of the local Chippewa Indians, I got my first glimpse of colorful trees promising a beautiful fall.

Just another day in Pure Michigan – and so much to be thankful for the opportunity to see!

Note:  I’m still behind in blogging – this was done on August 15.