Lake Superior Pilgrimage – Family Journal July 13-14, 2008


Ontanogan City Park, originally uploaded by bill kralovec.

Sunday we drove up to Ontonogan for our annual trip to one of the Great Lakes. My town of Caspian is located an hour from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and every summer we try to at least spend a day at the beach. We usually go with my brother’s family and our good friends the Bonettis. This year Jim couldn’t make it, but we went up with Mark, his wife Danell, and children Brandl and Lauren.

We wanted also to explore the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It was about 90 miles away from Caspian. We stayed at the Superior Shores Resort located on the Lake about 6 miles outside of the park. The annual trip is also a celebration of “Yooper Culture” and we try to stay in locally owned motels and eat in local restaraunts.

Lake Superior is one of my favorite places in the world. It has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world (82,178 km square). It’s average depth is 149 meters. It is the Lake that took down the ss Edmond Fitzgerald in 1975, memorilized in that famous song by Gordon Lightfoot. British poet Rupert Brooke had noted in 1913, “These monstrous lakes, which ape the oceans, are not proper to fresh water or salt. They have souls, and they are wicked ones.” It is also a very cold lake, with an average temperature of 40 degrees F. The lake is huge and cold and beautiful. (I like that Hemmingway-esque description)

The weather was cold on Sunday, we we loved it. After we settled in to the motel, we went for a hike at the Lake of the Clouds inside the park. We made it down to the lake in back. In the evening we went to the Kontecka Supper Club in near by White Pine. This is a dying little town near the park. There used to be a big copper mine, but when it shut down in the late 80’s, so did most of the town. The club feeds local wild bears and it was great the kids had a chance to watch the big black bears come in. I do not like this artificial feeding, but it has helped the club survive. Many tourists go there to watch the bears and have a bite to eat.

The next day we made a short stop at Bonanza Falls after lounging at the motel and a pancake breakfast at Syl’s Cafe in Ontonogan. There was a bad smell downtown Ontonogan from the big paper mill. The mill makes corrugated cardboard and employs around 300 people. We then drove just east of town and there is a nice public beach on the lake. It was a nice sunny day and we really enjoyed a day at the beach. I took the photo of Owen above.

We came home and then I took the kids up to the weight room as my brother needed to watch the football players. You can click on our flickr photos to see more photos from the trip. I would like to that Mark and Danell for being such wonderful company!

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