Nearby Neat Things from Brimley State Park

Aug/7/2011 7 Malia Lane

I had heard about the amazing sunsets at Brimley State Park and certainly found that to be true while camping there, and I also knew I wanted to see the Soo Locks in nearby Sault St. Marie.  I wound up loving that so much I did the Soo Locks Boat Tour.

But I’ll always be grateful to Park Ranger Trisha Gilray for making sure I didn’t miss some lesser known local attractions like Mission Hill Overlook:

Me & Trisha at Mission Hill Overlook

This is the kind of view you can just sit and look at for a while – watch the varying colors of the water, the clouds move across the sky and the changes they make in the shadows of the forest.  This is Spectacle Lake we’re looking at and that’s Canada across the water.

Right across the parking lot from that overlook is Mission Hill Cemetery,
which started off as an old Indian burial ground.

As I said in the page I did on Brimley State Park Campground, Trisha grew up in Brimley, has family buried in this cemetery and told me this is where she will have her final rest.  She is also part Native American from her father’s heritage.  Talk about ties to the land!

Since I’ve always been fascinated by old, historic cemeteries, this was a great find for me.  Trisha showed me some of really simple grave markers (stones arranged around a tree), and the “offerings” left here for the dearly departed (traditionally coins, tobacco and liquor).

Since I’ve read so many stories on shipwrecks and have been touched by the impact they have had on Michigan, I was interested in this memorial to the sailors who were lost when the steamer Myron sank.  Here’s what the memorial plaque says:

“During the early evening of November 22, 1919, the steamer “Myron” slid beneath the waves of Lake Superior off Whitefish Point during a violent storm.  The crew attempted to use the lifeboats while the captain chose to remain with his ship.  The crew perished but the captain was found near Ile Parisienne, clinging to a portion of the floating wreckage.  In the spring of 1920, eight bodies from the “Myron,” encased in ice, washed ashore at Salt Point.  They are buried here – may they rest in peace.”

We then continued up the road to Point Iroquois Lighthouse, which was under repair and not open to the public on that day, so I didn’t get to see inside.

But we walked along the boardwalk and I enjoyed that and the scenery very much.

I was seeing a different side of Michigan lakes than I’d seen before…it was windy on this day and the waves were rougher than I’d seen before.  But Trisha said this was really nothing and “when Lake Superior gets angry, you know it!”

Being a rock hound, I really liked watching the waves change the colors of the rocks, both big and little as I sat on the remains of this old pier.

Before heading back to the campground at Brimley State Park, Trisha showed me where she and her family camp when they’re looking for a more rustic experience:

Monocle Lake Campground is a U.S. Forest campground with only 39 large and secluded campsites in the Hiawatha National Forest.

And here’s Monocle Lake, the main attraction.  Besides a swimming beach, it’s stocked for fishing, offers a floating fishing dock, boat launch, and picnic area.

So this was a great day with a lot seen that I probably would have missed if Trisha had not taken the time to point them out to me.  I suggest you always take advantage of the knowledge of the Park Rangers and ask them what is nearby and worthwhile exploring so you don’t miss out on days like this.  Thanks, Trisha!

  • Richard

    Love that picture of the bench in the shadow, I am not the type of person that would just spend his day on a towel at the beach (at my age my skin is just too sensitive haha), but a bench in the shadow, with a good book listening to the gentle song of the wave rolling in… oh yeah!

    Everyone are so busy this days… how do you find those “angels” that take time and guide you to those spectacular outing ? They must also be under your spell 🙂

    • Richard

      I also went to your link (amazing sunsets at Brimley State Park) and I saw those heart warming sunset. The economy is going down, cost of fuel has been going up, let’s not talk about the housing market… but the price of a sunset has stay the same and it is priceless!

      • Yeah, Richard, I really lucked out that day because Trisha was just about to get off and was willing to show me around a little bit.  These places were very close to the campground, but so glad she showed me – very cool Ranger she is!

        And you are so right about the priceless sunsets, especially at Brimley!

  • MsNRG1

    I sure hope you drove the scenic (backroad) route between Brimley and M 123…it’s gorgeous!  I hope to be back in Paradise next week and hope to catch up with you.  Have you made it to Tahq yet?


    • Yep, I did that drive as suggested by ranger at Brimley. And it looks like our schedule is just not jiving – I’ve left Tahq and am now near Marquette. Will leave here on Thursday for Ft. McClain. I take it that doesn’t mesh with your plans? 🙁

      • MsNRG1

        So you must be at Van Riper….did you go moose hunting back along the Pesheke River?  Very scenic backroads.  If you thought the sunsets were great at Brimley, wait till you see them at McLain….my fav U.P. state park.  Be sure to get a campsite out on the outer edge along the Lake for the best front row seat! And stop by the Jampot on the way up to Copper Harbor.  Also the drive along the East shore of lake Superior is quite scenic and the Gay Bar is a must-stop. Sorry to have missed you…If I am in the area of Van Riper before Thursday, I will try to stop.

        • Nope, I had to cut Van Riper due to delays from things like fallen axle on my car!  🙂  I’m now at private park (Gitche Gumee) near Marquette so I can do boat cruise to see Pictured Rocks.  Will leave here Thursday for McClain.  Do hope I get to see you before I leave the UP!