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!