After graduating from Michigan Tech, I started to realize just how much free time I was going to have after a normal work day. The month of May was a bit hectic; moving into a new house, starting a new job, and adopting an 8 week old puppy was enough to keep both Katie and I occupied, but when my birthday rolled around in early June, we were looking for something new and exciting to do. Remembering a fun adventure in the late summer of 2007, where Katie and I had gotten lost near Skanee looking for the Mouth of Huron and accidentally found Lower Silver Falls, we decided to check out waterfalls in the Keweenaw Peninsula for my 23rd birthday.
Researching for waterfalls to stop at became more difficult then I had originally planned for. Though I found several websites with information, I also found inconsistencies, confusing directions, and poor descriptions of Keweenaw waterfalls. We finally picked out a route that included three waterfalls and several other local attractions, including the Gay Bar and Mt. Horace Greeley. We set off early in the morning, heading north of the bridge, and enjoyed the first half of the day exploring roadside sites. It wasn't until we visited Lower Montreal Falls that the real, if somewhat fearful, adventure began.
After turning down several wrong roads, we started driving down Smith-Fisheries Road in Katie's Saturn Vue. The only major incorrect detour took us a half mile down the Mandan Loop and over a shaky log bridge. The scenery was amazing on the way, even if it did take close to an hour to drive the four miles out. Parking at the end of the road, we headed down the footpath along the shoreline with new sites around every bend. Lower Montreal Falls was also incredible, as it was one of the largest waterfalls I had seen in the area. Since the visibility was good that day, we could see all the way across the bay to the Huron Mountains. Everything about the hike was perfect.
On the drive back, I decided that I would visit every waterfall in Keweenaw County so I could create a website with directions and descriptions for fellow hikers. Not only could I make a centralized and complete website, but the project would give me an excuse to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors in a way that I had never dreamed of as a student. My scope continued to grow, though, until it included the majority of the western Upper Peninsula - well over a hundred waterfalls spanning several counties.
Looking back at this project I have a hard time believing that I've been to so many places in a single summer. While I did use other waterfall sites and databases to collect hiking locations, there's many spots I've been to that are unheard of online - Mulligan Falls, St Louis Falls, and Quincy Falls to name a few. There have been injuries and mishaps along the way, but it's hard to imagine a better way to enjoy the Keweenaw Area then to hunt down its many beautiful waterfalls.