Monday, May 24, 2010

Montreal River Adventure

Remember my last big inspiration from the final Isle Royale post? I became infatuated with the idea of exploring other areas of the Keweenaw with as much vigor as I did on Isle Royale. While I spent a whole afternoon wondering where I should go first, Aaron casually mentioned that he and Ryan were going to the south side of the peninsula to get some GPS coordinates for the upcoming Keweenaw Point Trail.

What an opportunity, I thought! They were going to walk through the trailless woods along the Montreal River, which contains three waterfalls, including the one that opens into my friend Lake Superior. That adventure would knock some off my list.

After about half an hour drive southeast on trail 134, we parked near Fish Cove. The mission: follow the few coordinates already on the boys' GPS to the pink flags they tied on trees. Then hike around to unique sights of the area and tie more flags in hopes of creating the Keweenaw Point Trail -- the trail of all trails. The trail that will run the perimeter of the Keweenaw Peninsula for hikers and mountain bikers. Pretty neat, hey?

After almost an hour of wandering around through fallen trees, thick pines, broken branches, thimbleberry fields, large rocks and tons of blueberry bushes, they finally came across their pink flag from the last time they were out. "Good," Ryan said. "Now we can start." I kept my comments to myself knowing I was along for a full day of bushwhacking.

Luckily the bugs weren't terrible, but if we stopped too long, I definitely had to put my bugnet hood over my head. Mostly mosquitoes, somewhat blackflies. The sweat dripping down each flank of my body sort of kept my mind off them.

"We should see the falls in about an hour," they promised. I had no idea where we were. I knew my compass pointed to SE and other surrounding letters, but I still didn't know what that meant in the grand scheme. Oh well. Doot, doo doo doo dooh. There I went.

What's that sound? Rushing water! We found the uppermost of the Upper Falls. Not at all what I had in mind, but special in its own way. Here is a view from the top.

And here is a view from the bottom looking up at Ryan. Do you see him up there in the light tan? Now that's a big rock.
On and on we trampled delicately through marshes, piles of dead trees, bilberry bushes and scratchy branches. I think the boys got sort of lost because they had to ask me which way we were going. We were on our way, roundaboutly, to the lower Upper Falls.

Aaron heard falls to the left, but Ryan and I hear falls to the right. Two against one, we went right... right back to the bottom of the falls we were just at. So's to not make these boys look like fools, their plan was to meander east around the falls and then cut back. I guess we just cut back too soon.

Onward in the sweltering sun we marched and climbed. At one point, we climbed up the side of a ledge that we had to crawl under. Crawling under a rock jutting over the edge of a cliff -- how cool is that! Memorable, memorable.

And soon enough we found the other falls. A quainter little falls. Quite refreshing. Aaron is in this one for scale. I know, eat your hearts out, girls.

Oh boy, I better just get to the end or I'll hold you past your bedtime. We finally reached the mouth of the Montreal, which is good fishing, I hear. However, when we got there, it looked like a high school trip was visiting. Teenagers everywhere. No worries, though. They didn't block the view!

I know, Aaron's in it again, but that's really the best shot I had. And to the south -- all Lake Superior, baby! My favorite!

I did get to walk the beach of Fish Cove, as well, which is another one of the Keweenaw's finest for rock beaches. Over 7 hours we hiked yesterday, and we didn't cover much more than a square mile on the map. Thank goodness those boys are going to put in a trail there!

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