Fall Road Trip Day 2- the morning in Camp Chevy, Pictured Rocks, Munising
If you left off with us at Day 1 then you are aware of our last minute, drunken high five decision to sleep in the truck. And that we did.
I think we did this for 2 reasons. One was that the whole point of this trip was to not have any expectations, cares, or stress. So I think we were eager to prove how much we were just going to go with the flow. And 2 the cost. I called around to see what we were working with and what I was getting was most were either full, close to $200, or had reviews with literal cockroaches in them. $200 would get us lots of morning coffees and a few beers so we figured we could tough it out for one night. We’ve back country tented before on hard ground in a thunderstorm. What’s the big deal about the truck?
Let me tell you the big deal about the truck. It’s chilly. It’s not that big of a truck, I’m 5 ‘ 2” but the hubs is 6’ 3”. Enough said. And lastly, we didn’t expect to sleep in the truck so we’re kinda unprepared.
I take the back seat and Jake takes the front. We crawl under puffy jackets and say goodnight. I will admit. It didn’t start out bad, I may have even slept. But around 2 am I work up thirsty, hungry, cold, and I’m trapped in the back of this truck with rear hinged doors.
To make a long story short Mr Savior crawled outside in the cold, got me water, snacks, and more jackets and after a brief intermission of snacks and discussing our lack of sleep, we were back down in Camp Chevy. The morning crept up on us, we cracked an eye, and our backs, and agreed that maybe that wasn’t the best idea we’ve ever had, but we made it! Now let’s go get coffee!!
Day 2 has officially begun!
Downtown Munising is pretty small, but quaint with a few little cute shops and 1 coffee shop we've been visiting for years every time we're in the area- Falling Rock Cafe and Book Store. Awesome food, great variety of coffee, cozy setting of floor to ceiling books all around you.
We hoped no one would realize we just slept in our truck, but honestly didn’t care enough to get our shit together, and fell into the cafe. We ordered and sat at a table planning out the day. These moments of not caring what people might think of us and living strictly in the moment makes me remember why my husband and I are together- he reminds me to block out everyone else and just do what makes me happy. But in all honesty- people up north are pretty chill and I don’t think they noticed, nor would have cared.
Pictured Rocks National Shoreline
Now that we’ve been refueled we decide to check out the shores of Pictured Rocks first. We’ve been here several times before but every season, every month brings changes. But before we decide to take on the shoreline, freshening up wouldn’t hurt. We pulled into a trail head parking lot where everyone else is walking their dog, coming off the trails, or gathering to enjoy the calmness of nature. Us on the other hand, we’re laying down our tailgate, brushing our teeth with a gallon jug of water, spitting in the woods, changing our clothes, and I apply the finishing touches by doing my makeup while standing outside using the side mirror of the truck. Ok. Now we were ready to take on the day.
We took the short path to the water. Our hope was to take out our blow up paddle boards and cruise along the shore. It was chilly but with good balance we’re hoping we won’t get wet. And then we reach the drop off. We were greeted by large, mean, loud waves, and brutal wind to match. We laughed to ourselves with the same mental picture, I’m sure, of us even attempting to get even 1 foot off shore. Ok. So water sports were out of the question on this trip.
Seeing the Cliffs
If I’m being honest, late Fall isn't the most ideal time to visit this area. The colors are great and you're not fighting off crowds so everything just feels more natural and powerful, instead of like a tourist trap with a daycare inside it, but you came to see the cliffs, right? You’ll want to get in the lake somehow because it’s the best way to actually see the cliffs, otherwise you’re either tucked in between them or on top of them. Summer would be ideal. Kayak, swim, have a beach day, hike, take a boat tour around the cliffs... warm weather would really allow you to make the most of this trip.
With that being said we’ve also been here in the dead of winter and the frozen waterfalls are a MUST to see in your lifetime, no matter what state you are from!
Fall was a new experience for us, and it was still invigorating! The Earth felt powerful, and when standing in the middle of it you got swallowed up by all the elements working together at once. We took some time to explore the beach and the tiny trails next to little creeks that twist and turn into the forest. It was quiet. It felt primitive. And much like Walden’s quote about why he went to the woods, I found myself there again.
Munising Falls Trail
Quietly, with only nature talking, you can take in glorious waterfalls, rugged trails, and intense rock face shorelines if you’re willing to do a little walking. The quick hike to Munising Falls is paved and we’ve done it several times, including on this trip. We casually and comfortably strolled down the path which leads you to a wooden platform, which is perfect to view Munising Falls from. It’s also perfectly boring and practical to stay right where you’re supposed to be and that’s why we crawled between the wooden fence posts and scrambled down the rough trail of loose rock to get to the base of the falls where you could feel the water on your face and be one with everything.
When I was growing up we traveled a lot, we saw a lot, but I never knew what it was like to truly explore the Earth until I met my husband. He forced me, encouraged me, and challenged me to go IN to the Earth instead of just look at the top of it from afar, and that has forever changed the way I think about travel.
When we were planning our honeymoon we also made a list of all the place we hoped to travel to one day.
We searched google to see what was out there and I remember saying,
“They always show all these awesome pictures but it’s not like we’re ever going to see any of that, you can’t get to it!”
And Jake’s reply was simply,
“No. You just make sure you get to it.”
And that’s exactly what we have been doing. I can’t explain to you the feeling of stepping up to a scene and realizing you are experiencing something in person, in the flesh, that many will never know or understand like you have. They will never SEE in person what your eyes are taking in, or know that same crunch of dirt under their foot. They will only know seats under their butts and pictures, and that blows me away that 12 years later I am one of those people in the unobtainable pictures I use to look at.
Once out of the woods we decided to leave the park and check out a beautiful beach near by that had soft sand and astonishing views, truly film worthy, and had the weather been better I am sure we would have gladly spent more time there. It was a view that stopped you in your tracks, literally, and you just had to stop and stare, quietly, for a few moments.
I am sad to say that’s where our travels of this National Shoreline end for the day. We were stoked on getting to Marquette so we hit the road, and the story is short after that- we checked into our cute AirBNB (which I’ll talk more about in Day 3 when it’s released), grabbed a drink in town at The Ore Dock, which was a small place downtown that had a very chill vibe, and called it a night!!
To experience Pictured Rocks in the Fall and to see more behind the scenes of the trails, beaches, falls, and our set up watch the insta video below! I always share our trips on my instagram stories as they happen, so be sure you’re friends with me over there so you can easily ask question, stay inspired, and tell me about your trips too!