Great Lakes Road Trip Day 20: Au Train

It’s our final day in the Upper Peninsula, and after the exertions of yesterday and the day before (canoeing and hiking) we’re a little weary. In fact, Karen’s wounded from head to toe. Literally. She has a huge blister on her little pinkie, and a giant mosquito bite on her forehead. (That’s a modest bite from a giant mosquito, not a giant bite from a little critter. Must have been the only place on her body she hadn’t slathered copious lashings of bug cream.

Still, we finally make it to the shores of Lake Superior – our fifth and final lake, into which we dip our toes.

Seeing all of the different lakes (with a couple of small ones for good measure) has been fascinating. First, to get our heads around just how big they are – we’ve said it before, but they really are like inland seas. And second, to understand how different they are, from the beaches of Lake Michigan to the industrial ports of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, to the holiday cottage beauty of Lake Huron, and finally, the sheer natural splendour of lake Superior. Of course, we’ve only seen snapshots of each of the lakes, but you do get a feel for a different identity on each.

So we have a fairly easy day relaxing by our cabin on the (little) Au Train Lake, checking out a few bigger holiday villas around the lake in case we decide to come back with the kids, and taking a few shots of the local shoreline around the (slightly) bigger town near us, Munising, with its Grand Island in the bay.

Back at the cabin we relax in the sun for a while on the pontoon, only to be disturbed by one of those ducks. If you look closely you can see what’s riled him, ferreting along the shoreline just in front of our canoe:


Just as we’re summing up our reflections about Lake Superior, Karen notices the neighbour’s boat trailer. It’s Karen’s YouTube and Instagram name. Serendipity. Seems to appeal to the gypsy in her….

Great Lakes Road Trip Day 18: canoeing the Au Train River

The Au Train river winds its way lazily from Lake Au Train to Lake Superior. Although the distance as the crow flies is only a couple of miles, the river meanders such a lot that a trip by canoe takes well over four hours, negotiating the shallowest of waters, hairpin turns, and – literally – thousands of logs and fallen tree trunks blocking the route.


But it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

And to our delight, along with the stunning views of the riverbank, we see all manner of birds and animals – including freshwater terrapins, water voles, and the ubiquitous ducks.




Great Lakes Road Trip Day 17: Three miles west of Christmas

Today we move into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) – sandwiched between three of the lakes. First, we cross the Mackinaw suspension bridge with Lake Michigan on our left and Lake Huron on our right. We’re saying goodbye to Huron, which we have enjoyed immensely – and we’ll be returning to Lake Michigan in a few days time. But our destination today is actually the smaller Lake Au Train, just a stone’s throw away from Lake Superior.

We drive for about three hours through Hiawatha National Forest, before coming to the vicinity of Au Train, and to our surprise…. look what we find:



It’s a reminder of what the winter months can be like out here – along with the signs for snowmobile speed limits and ski runs. However, it’s also a bit spooky for Dominic who has just finished writing this year’s LPAC Christmas show, Rapunzel. It’s like Christmas is chasing us…. but we’re keen to get to our base for the next few days, from which we hope to enjoy the outdoor life of the UP in the summer.

Well, we arrive: and Karen gets straight out onto the lake.

This is idyllic. Look at the view from our cabin’s sofa. We’re going to be happy here!