So it’s been a while since I’ve done a family recap of any sort and mostly because it’s been hard to go back to this time… You see, our trip was cut short due to my dad being ill. I knew he didn’t have much time left and I had a real talk with myself knowing full well the gravity of the situation. We visited Dad two times the weekend before our trip and I decided he’d want for us to go…I could almost hear him telling me to go. Little did I know that those two times would be the last that I’d see him awake. All that heaviness of those days and this trip weigh heavily on my heart, but we still created memories amongst my understanding of what was about to happen. I was able to breathe a little bit and have clarity of mind while up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula…Michigan has that effect on me. With all that being said, I’d like to share this special trip we took before my heart forever changed.
We crossed the Mackinaw Bridge, it’s a 5 mile long bridge, and every time we cross it, I tend tense up. We traveled over to Manistique for the night. We ate a packed dinner amongst the seagulls, played half a round of putt putt before becoming completely drenched by a downpour and went back to our room to relax before heading to bed.
The next morning we were up bright and early and headed to Kitch-iti-Kipi – Michigan’s largest fresh water spring. It was absolutely stunning. The bubbles from the springs can be seen forty feet down – it was breathtaking. Normally there’s a line of people waiting to ride the raft over the water, but being we were so early we didn’t have to wait at all. My mom had mentioned that she and my dad had visited Kitch-iti-Kipi one time while camping. We were teenagers so they apparently left us at the campground and visited the spring. LOL! This was news to me but I loved knowing this while visiting and thought of my dad a whole heck of a lot while taking it all in.
None of this is a reflection. Everything you see is within the water. Just remarkable!
The raft we took across the spring – it’s on a pulley system and it’s so much fun!
After taking in the sights, we then headed up and over to Marquette, Michigan. Jon and I visited Marquette before we were pregnant with Henry so it had been a while.
Marquette was absolutely stunning and its downtown was Muah *chef’s kiss!*
The views on the hike around Presque Isle Park were gorgeous – pictures don’t do it justice.
People jump off this spot to swim. It was a bit chilly on this particular day… people are crazy. Ha!
We stopped for coffee in the downtown. Everything was just so dang cool!
Next stop – Sugar Loaf. Waaaaay off in the distance is Canada…I couldn’t see it, but it’s there. Haha!
Also, at this exact moment, Eliza was stung by a bee… her first bee sting EVER, way on top of a “mountain.” Luckily we carry EpiPens for Jane so I wasn’t freaking out like I probably would have been. Eliza was fine and was just uncomfortable for a bit. Jane was also having a meltdown. Let’s just say the walk back down wasn’t exactly pleasant. Oy.
Marquette had so much to offer and we were sad to have to leave, but we had a boat tour the next morning in Munising at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
We ate at an adorable little pizzeria which was packed with a line out the door. We ate outside while the kids played within the fenced in area with lots of other kids. This town was so cool…even their High School was cool – it sat on the shores of Lake Superior! Holy cow! What a way to grow up!
Here we are waiting for our boat the next morning.
It was going to be a warm day, but after reading about the tour it was recommended that we bring warm clothes and I’m so happy we did. Lake Superior is no joke when it comes to the weather. Luckily we had beautiful blue skies. The day before it was foggy and many tours didn’t get to see all the beauty that Pictured Rocks has to offer.
Oh and also, sidenote – the entire University of Michigan football team and coaches had just been at this exact spot a week earlier – Boo! We missed them by a week!
Here area a bunch of pics in no particular order… of course, these pictures don’t do it justice. Oh the beauty that is the Great Lakes…
The tour was fabulous. We thought, hey, we’d better head over to our next location – we had another 90 minute drive ahead of us. Anything in the U.P. is quite a drive, but instead ended up finding THE most gorgeous, and seemingly tropical, beach – Sand Point Beach. You guys, this beach was what dreams are made of… I need to get back to this beach again someday. Talk about a hidden treasure!
Also, I did end up putting a life jacket on Jane. These pictures were from right when we arrived and we had no idea what we were in for…then my phone died. Womp womp.
Eliza and I running in the background! Sooooooooooooo fun!
It wouldn’t be a trip or a blog post if Jon isn’t flexing…
*eye roll* LOL!
We then decided…okay, we should really leave now... so we grabbed some coffee from the cutest food truck coffee shop…
But hey, what about those waterfalls…Miners Falls?!
LOL! Guess what? We went to Miners Falls! Ha
So, of course, we drove a little ways over to the waterfalls when really we should’ve been heading out to our next location, but hey, when in Rome!
The kids became Junior Rangers!!!! Totally worth the stop!
We then decided, okay…okay, we reaaaaaally should be going….but instead we headed to the lookout at Pictured Rocks Miners Castle. Hahaha! This was becoming a theme in our travels.
I’m so happy we went to check this out. I’ve been here before but I didn’t necessarily remember exploring it as much. It was kind of new all over again!
We finaaaaaally decided it was time to go. We headed over to Paradise…yup, that’s the name of the town and found a fantastic place for dinner. Our meal was soooo good, although it was on the expensive side. The beer was needed after a long day of traveling and what was to come…
After dinner I had called my mom, things weren’t looking too good for Dad. I immediately spoke with the hotel manager and relayed to him what was occurring in my life…we were supposed to be staying at this particular hotel for two nights, but I knew the second night was a no go. In hindsight, we COULD have just driven home, but Jon and I were thinking that maybe we’d go on one more excursion the next morning and then head back to the lower peninsula.
The next morning I received a phone call from my mom and I immediately knew something was up. I called her back and she told me that she didn’t think my dad was going to make it through the day. As fast as I could I packed all of our things and we headed home – longest four hours of my life. Knowing what I know now, I’m happy we didn’t leave the night before. The night before was my mom and dad’s last night together alone in their home, my childhood home. Thinking about that brings me to tears…to my knees…
So, you can see how this trip was kind of a hard one to post about. I loooove our memories we made, but it’s also intertwined with all different kinds of emotions. It full of ups and downs and everything in-between. Dad wasn’t on the trip with me physically, but mentally, he was on my heart the entire time. It was a gift to be up there and breathe…to come back clear headed as to what was occurring. The next pictures after the one of us in the restaurant…after the beer picture…. well those next pictures consist of us with Dad. It’s painful.
I’ll stop there, because there are no other words…
Thanks as always for stopping by this little corner of the internet. I’ve been blogging since 2012 and I love this community so very much – thank you for being here.
I'm sure your memories of this trip will always be bittersweet, but I'm glad you were able to get out for a bit and clear your head in the midst of such a sad time. I'm also glad you were able to make it back in time to say goodbye. You have been in my prayers, Marie. <3
First of all, Michigan and the Great Lakes are so beautiful. I've never been, but want to get up there someday to take it all in. But most all, I'm so sorry for the tough circumstances of this trip and the loss of your father.
What a fun trip! Thanks for sharing 🙂
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