Hello from da UP

If you like trees you like the UP. That’s mostly what’s up there.

I saw a Lynx sitting on the RR tracks driving down from Munising one evening, Was heading for Qajaq TC in Frankfort area.
That was a an additional dose of great medicine after a Pictured Rocks Paddle day. I had never seen one before or since and sighting was probably a one time gift. Loved the UP paddling / camping I have done over the years both Michigan and Superior shores. I’m envious.

Yeah, lots of trees. And very cold water. I did not care for it, though we camped and paddled there a few times during my years in GR. I like mountains and hills on the horizon and it was too danged flat for me, the entire state, in fact. Look at the topo maps for the state – road layouts make it look like graph paper. Very disorienting at night. I had to carry a compass with me because I was always getting lost, even in town. Here in hilly Western PA you can always see where you want to go, but you can’t get there! Lot’s of steep hills, ridges, deep valleys, winding streams and rivers. When our Michigander kin come to visit, we take them up the cable cars and switchbacked streets to look down on the skyscrapers from up above and freak them out. I think my own yard has more vertical elevation from bottom to top than any place in Michigan.

You can’t have it all. For example, sure, western Pennsylvania has beautiful mountains (folks from parts of the west would proudly call them hills) but no lakes (and no, dammed rivers don’t count. They even look totally fake if you are accustomed to the real thing). Same can be said for all kinds of natural features. They are only found where they are found, and some of the people who live there will like them. Oh, and winding rivers? Pennsylvania rivers (and mountain rivers in general) are practically straight compared to those that actually do meander. And of course, some people like meandering rivers!

Have you never looked at a map of the West Branch of the Susquehanna? I think not if you think our rivers are “straight”. Next time you are in an outfitter or book store that stocks the Delorme state topo map books, look at the lower quarter of page 47 in the Pennsylvania one and then bite your tongue, Or my home streams, the Mon and the Yough on page 71.

Yes, rivers in flatter and sandier terrain like Michigan will tend to meander more due to natural depositional and scouring flow and few solid obstacles. And Michigan terrain is a baby compared to PA – it was overlain by mile deep continental glacier ice that scoured it flat until about 20,000 years ago – isostatic rebound of the Canadian shield means that all the ground water will eventually trend and drain south as the whole state elevates…

Our geography is much older and our rocky terrain is more resistant to erosion and deposition but we get winding watercourses because of the variable density of our millions of years of strata. Consider that the tortuous New River in adjacent West Virginia (which is essentially the same geographic region as SW PA) is the oldest river in North America that is still flowing in it’s original basin.

Our Appalachian Alleghenies were once higher than the current Colorado Rockies. Speaking of which, that state also has few “natural” lakes – you don;t get lakes in deeply corrugated terrain unless there is an artificial or natural dam.
If you think about it, PA and the state of New York are the only states within which you can access BOTH the Great Lakes and the Ocean (the latter in PA’s case via the Susquehanna and Chesapeake Bay through Maryland or the Delaware .).

And Lake Erie (yes we have Great Lakes access here) is certainly no puddle. A lot of Michigan’s internal ponds (absent the Great Lakes) are simply dredged swamps. In fact, most of the suburban developments around Grand Rapids have “lakes” that the builders had to scoop out to draw the groundwater to one place so they could excavate basements with less flooding. And what they call a “river” in the Mitten State, we would call a “crick” here.

Yes, I’ll give the state credit for Houghton Lake (apparently one of the largest natural inland lakes in the country) but at an average depth of 7.5 feet it’s not very impressive and the whole shoreline is overdeveloped and flat, with no interesting scenery. I took my kayak up there once while I lived out there and was extremely underwhelmed – it was jet ski and power boat hell. But then MI has access to 3 of the best of the Great Lakes, so their wimpy rivers and motorboat clogged lakes are kind of irrelevant.

Willowleaf— I got a chuckle out of your “very cold water” comment. It is rather invigorating. It can also take longer for the water heater to recover.

During our youthful days of boozing, partying and other craziness, we and a handful of friends each Mothers day would go out to Sherman Park and “test” the water. Had to get completely submerged once. Often there was still a tad of ice on the surface.

It’s refreshing if you’ve spent a half hour in the sauna first…

@willowleaf said:
It’s refreshing if you’ve spent a half hour in the sauna first…

Funny you mentioned the sauna— our last house downstate we built a nice one in the basement. Not as “enjoyable” as how we first learned the joys/experience of sauna.

Dear friend had an original at a cabin north of Searchmont Ontario. About 6 and 1/2 foot ceiling, Log walls and an old pot belly style wood burning stove surrounded by stones, sitting next to a babbling creek. The creek was where we cooled down. Talk about shrinkage.

Remember being in it one day. That old stove was glowing from the heat-- just knew it was going to be a roaster when the water got sprinkled. Water went ---- nothing. Repeated 3 or 4 times, with the same result nothing.

Turns out it was like -45 outside. Best explanation we had. Loved that old sauna. The creek eventually washed away the foundation and one got put in the cabin.

Welcome, to another “Yooper!” Gosh I wonder what ever happened to “Yooperchic?” Laurie and her crew were great folks!

Guideboatguy, you’re bad. Made me remember what we called Illinois drivers when I lived in N. Wisconsin all those years ago. It was not a “Compliment,” that’s for certain. I find myself using the same term when I see one driving recklessly here in MO too.

Also made me remember the good old days, listening to “The Yoopers.” I still have some cassettes of them(anyone remember CASSETTES?) When I liven in WI, “The Second Week of Deercamp” and “The Second Week of Deercamp, Just One More Day to Go” got lots of play. And what would Christmas up there have been without “Rusty Chevrolet?”

Heheheheh, as the Bob Hope theme used to say, "Thanks…for the memories…ta da da da da dahh…