No Mosquitoes or Flies (Part 2)
This past Friday turned out to be an unseasonably warm day. When we saw the temperature was going to be into the 80s on the Baraga Plains we headed down to the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness in the Ottawa National Forest to hike to Sturgeon River Falls. There was only one truck in the parking lot when we arrived and we would meet those people coming out as we reached the falls. Adding to the lack of congestion was the near total absence of mosquitoes and flies. With blue skies, low humidity, and enough clouds to periodically block the hot sun, we had the formula for a great hike!
The trail into the Sturgeon River Gorge has two very long switchbacks traversing the steep drop into the gorge. When I was younger, this place was referred to as the “grand canyon” of Michigan. Somewhere along the way the Canyon Falls Gorge hijacked that title. Comparing the two places from the standpoint of depth, there is really no contest. The Sturgeon River Gorge is significantly deeper.
Geologically, Sturgeon River Falls is a very interesting place as a basalt outcropping thrusts up into this otherwise sandstone valley to create a stricture at the point of the waterfall. With the last of the spring runoff still working its way downstream, the swollen river was thundering through the chute above and then over the falls!
It is worth hiking downstream from the falls to check out the tall sandstone cliffs looming over the river. This area provides you a better feel for the significant depth of the gorge/canyon.
Here is my Strava data on the hike:
On Saturday morning, Julie was helping the Keweenaw Co-op with their Adopt A Highway trash clean up along US 41 from the Masonic Temple between Paavola and the Airport. While she was doing that I put in a 6.4 mile run heading over to Lake Annie Road where I headed north and then north again on Salo Road. After stopping where Julie could find me, I ran ran into two pairs of cyclists including friends of mine who stopped to talk. While the run may have started at 68 degrees, it was quickly into the 70s and felt downright hot for this time of year!
With continued hot and dry weather on Saturday afternoon, we ventured back into the the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness to take a hike from the Pine Bluff Trailhead. Once again there were no mosquitos or flies to be found. The sky threatened rain, but none fell during the course of our hike. There is not much elevation change on this hike which takes you out to the edge of the gorge with an option to continue down a steep trail without switchbacks into the gorge. We opted to follow a trail along the rim and checked out tall pine stands along the way.
After the hike we did some exploring to check out the potential for a stream hike we would like to do this summer.
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