Keweenaw Peninsula, MI (part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula)
This is the first major stop of our adventure. We stayed here 5 nights at the City of Hancock Campground located on the north side of the draw bridge over the canal that connects to Lake Superior on each end. This campground is centrally located in the Keweenaw Peninsula and our site was a great site and just right for our Airstream. Our goal was to explore the Keweenaw Peninsula that extends into Lake Superior and visit Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, and learn about the copper mining and Finnish history of the area. The evidence and accounts of tenacity and resilience of the immigrants who settled and worked in the sometimes very harsh conditions and environment as well as the folks who currently reside on the Keweenaw Peninsula and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are compelling.
We started our first day spending some time touring the western coastline visiting state park beaches, lighthouses, and trails.
Our second day adventure took us up the middle of the peninsula to the Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet. The museum was very interesting. Along the way to and from Copper Harbor we stopped at many beautiful scenic overlooks, lighthouses, a snow depth meter (a LOT of snow falls every year), Fort Wilkins, and meals that included Lake Superior whitefish–yum!
Our third day here was rainy so we hung out at the camper and after the storms finished we headed off to tour the nearby Quincy Mine in Houghton. This is an amazing experience. First, you are issued a warm jacket and a required hard hat, then you are taken by a cog train down a steep grade to the entrance of the mine, and then you transfer to a rail car that takes you deeper into the mine where the tour group walks you through various stages and depths of the mine. Displays, demonstrations, and narrations of the many aspects of how early copper mining was carried out are done very well making the whole experience very interesting. A glimpse into the “primitive” techniques and working conditions is fascinating.
4th/5th days was spent cruising down the east shoreline of the peninsula stopping at various sites and overlooks along the way. The three main sites we stopped and explored were:
Hanka Homestead Finnish Museum: We ventured down a winding, tree covered dirt road to find this unique historical homestead. This is a working farm on weekends, but was closed the day we stopped by. However, we could walk around the grounds of the homestead and explore the area. We ran across a gentleman doing some road work at the site and he offered to open the buildings so we could tour them. This surprising opportunity was much appreciated as there were many unique items and history to see. View Pictures
Sand Point Lighthouse: This lighthouse sits close to a wonderful beach that was very busy this day. Some areas along this shoreline shows how much Lake Superior has risen and is eroding the shore line. A lot of restoration is being done to build up the shoreline to prevent further erosion. Another sign of climate change with water levels rising. View Pictures
Canyon Falls Trail, US41, L’Anse, MI: This is an awesome 3.9 mile trail out and back. The trail follows along a scenic stream with lots of rocks and several big falls. The waterfall is well worth the hike. View Pictures
Next stop: Apostle Islands National Park!!!!