Waterfalls that don't Exist
Waterfalls were my first love in the Upper Peninsula. I'd walk miles and miles searching out little known drops deep in the woods, guided only by rumors and intuition. Most of these quests resulted in discovering an unnamed wonder far from the beaten path, even if it meant returning several times to scour the area thoroughly. Not all of them were successful, though, and some of these hikes ended in frustration or worse.
Upper Sturgeon Falls was one of these waterfalls. Marked with a small tick mark and the enticing word 'Falls' on older topographic maps, this remote drop was located near the upper headwaters near the Tama-Siding line. I attempted to approach these falls from the south from US-41, the west from Herman-Nestoria, and the north from Celotex (spending a night lost in the woods), before taking the railroad tracks south and cutting in through the woods. After all these attempts I found the marked waterfall, several inches of drops over rapids between two sections of swampy lowlands. Needless to say, I don't consider this a spot worth returning to or recommending.
Other hikes didn't end with any sort of drop. Vista Falls on the upper reaches of West Branch Sturgeon River is marked on multiple maps. There are two forest roads in the area, both heavily overgrown, that follow the river upstream from S Laird. I've taken both of them multiple times and scoured the river up and downstream and found nothing. A huge swamp drains into an overgrown sandy channel to the north, never more than a trickle of water. I'm still tempted to revisit this spot in the spring with a GPS to ensure that I've checked it completely, since the area is so overgrown and confusing even with a map, but five failed attempts is very disheartening.
Another marked waterfall that has eluded me is Sandstone Falls on the upstream end of Victoria Basin. This one is very remote, miles from Burma Road in the black fly-festered reaches of Ontonagon County, but the few attempts at finding it have turned up dry. I haven't found a good resource as to where the waterfall is, Schatt or Johnson, both of which are tiny little creeks. Johnson is surrounded by logging and busy beavers, clogging up the area and creek with downed trees and brush, and Schatt is too small to sustain waterflow for most of the year. If there is a waterfall I'd imagine it'd be a small drop similar to Plover Falls in the east, but I've yet to find anything that resembles even that two-foot drop in this area.
There are also plenty of questionable waterfalls, like Tibbets Falls on Sturgeon River or Marquette Mountain Falls on Carp River, that resemble sets of rapids more than actual drops. However, the number of cool spots I've found on my adventures far outweight the occasional disappointment. Miles of hiking or even getting lost in the woods overnight has been a small price to pay for the hundreds of awesome adventures I've had in the Upper Peninsula.