More of the Upper Peninsula – Michigan

On July 23, we visited the Museum of Ojibwa Culture in St, Ignace, Michigan.  There, we read about different Native American groups who lived around Michigan.  We learned how their lives were centered around family, and how their lifestyles changed when French came to them.  For example, one display showed how the Native American children looked before and after they attended a school run by Catholic nuns.  Also, did you know that different Native American tribes were hire to transmit coded messages (using their languages) for the U.S. during World War II?

The museum is near where a Jesuit priest named Jacques Marquette started the St. Ignace Mission in 1671.  The mission was a log cabin, where he administered to Native Americans until his death in 1675.  His followers buried him at the mission, where he is still resting to this day.  The mission continued growing, and in 1705, it was abandoned then burned.  In the early 1800’s, when settlers started moving into the area, a chapel was built, which is where the museum now is.

On July 24, we moved to Gerometta’s Resort in Manistique, Michigan.  On the way, we stopped at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, where we walked two short trails to see the upper and lower falls.  It was sunny and hot, but the trees around the path shaded us.  The waterfalls were brown from tannins, which comes from decaying vegetation.  The falls looked like root beer to me, complete with the bown color and foam.  Tahquamenon River is near Lake Superior, which is one of the Great Lakes.

At the Lower Falls, people were swimming in the shallow-ish, rushing water, while in the Upper Falls, which were much higher and rougher, people were standing on a viewing platform to see the waterfall.  People were also kayaking and canoeing in the river where it was calmer.


On July 25, we went to Fayette Historic State Park, which is a historic town that ran a iron smelting operation and made charcoal.  The day’s weather was sunny and hot.  The town was in use in the early 1800’s, and it had two blast furnaces, homes, a large dock, and charcoal kilns.  Around 500 people lived in the town, most immigrants from Canada, the British Isles, and northern Europe.  When the demand for charcoal and iron went down, however, the town shrank, and it became a fishing village and resort. It changed hands over the 1900’s but eventually ended up becoming property of Michigan’s government – and a state park.

The historic town was full of restored buildings, some of which we could walk through.  We learned about life in the town, and what different buildings were used for.  The park also had some really nice scenery, with the trees and lake.

After that, we stopped at the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse, which we were planning to walk to, but didn’t go all the way, since the waves were going up over the walkway.  Instead, we just walked on part of the nice trail.  There were nice flowers, some of which I picked and pressed.  There were also monarch butterfly caterpillar.  Mommy got three of them, and we named them Busy Bee, Billy Buchanan, and Bibimbap.  We have since then put them in a plastic container with leaves from the plant they were on, with a paper towel on top to keep the caterpillars inside the can.  We are waiting for them to turn into butterflies.  An interesting thing about the sidewalk we walked on was that part of it had tilted down towards the shoreline, because the waves had eroded the ground underneath it.

Finally, we went to Palms Book State Park.  There was a cold-water spring called Kitch-iti-kipi, which is up to 200 feet wide and 40 feet deep.  More than 10 thousand gallons come out from it each minute.  Above the spring, there was a viewing platform that could be moved across the surface of the spring by turning a wheel.  We went on the platform after waiting in line for a little while.  In the middle of the platform, there was an opening where we looked down into the water beneath us.  I saw a bunch of big fish, as well as clouds of sand from where the spring water was coming out of the ground.