Did I happen to mention I’m currently located on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? In the dead of winter? I had to shovel my way out of my cottage this morning, and got stuck in the driveway. I wasn’t about to let that stop me from getting out and exploring what the area has to offer. Artic temps can’t stop me!
Granted, yesterday was a snow day and I had to remain indoors. However, the adventure I had in mind was for today, and it did not disappoint. I was standing at the UP200 finish line in Marquette waiting for the sled dogs with others as excited as I was.
The UP200 is one of the top 12-dog sled races in the Midwest. It covers 240 miles from Marquette to Grand Marias and back again through dense forest wilderness. Their mushers face hills, creek crossings, deep snow and white-out conditions. The teams are required a total of 16 hours of rest to be distributed however they choose between checkpoints. This is a true test of skill and stamina at the current below zero temps! The winning team was Ryan Anderson who walked away with the $7,200 purse. His dogs were beautiful and still had energy to spare. Truly amazing. http://www.up200.org
The finish line was located just north of the ore dock in Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park. There were many families enjoying the sunny, albeit VERY cold day. The dogs arrived along the shoreline bike path that runs through the park. It was fun watching kids sled, attempt to build snowmen with dry snow and make a snow angel. During the summer months the City of Marquette uses the park for festivals and concerts.
While I was waiting for the dogs to come in I amused myself taking photos, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the ore dock. It’s very interesting to look at. By the 1890’s Michigan was the largest supplier of iron ore in the United States. The Marquette dock was used for trains to load ore onto ships which would then carry it to the lower Great Lakes. As it stands, the ore dock is an impressive 1200 feet long; 75 feet high; and 60 feet wide. Four railroad tracks ran across the top and there was storage space inside the bottom concrete part for 60,000 tons of iron ore.
After Ryan Anderson and his team pulled in I went into town for a bite before driving home. I pulled into Donkers because it is known for the homemade caramels as well as using local, all-natural ingredients. The food was good, but the 85-yr old local gentleman that asked to sit beside me was absolutely fascinating. Phil Niemisto was born in Marquette, raised in the local orphanage and still works today cleaning windows to keep his town clean.
On the way home I couldn’t help taking photos of the heavily snow laden trees. I know my northern readers have seen it all before, but this is still enchanting to me. I also drove past the Munising Front Range Lighthouse. This, along with the Munising Rear Range Lighthouse work together to guide boats from the open waters of Lake Superior down the East Channel next to Grand Island into the harbor of Munising. These days the Munising harbor is full of ice fishing shelters.
I hope this week you keep warm, keep your eyes and hearts open and your feet moving.