COLUMNISTS

Long car ride worth trip to visit falls in U.P.

Susan Manzke
Susan on the Ontonagon River at Bond Falls, Michigan.

Today I’m remembering car rides Bob and I took with our four children. Those rides came after a day of rain when spring fieldwork was halted. The ride was our way of getting out of the house and Bob’s way of seeing what was planted by neighbors near and far.

Of course, this ride took place in the 1980s and early 90s. Rob, Rebecca, Russ and Rachel didn’t have modern machines to keep them busy with movies and games in the car. They had to rely on each other for fun and/or mayhem.

One question from the back seat was often repeated. “Are we there yet?”

There wasn’t a good answer we could give that satisfied the kids. “No, we aren’t there yet. We’re just driving to look at farms.”

Our answer did not please our brood. The destination, in the end, was home again, though sometimes we stopped by a nature preserve to listen to and observe birds.

Last weekend, I was taken on a three-hour drive with my daughter Rebecca and her husband Andy. There was a destination though. It was Bond Falls in Upper Michigan.

Rebecca and Andy by Canyon Falls.

Our day started early. By seven we were on the road trying to view the Wisconsin countryside. Too bad an early fog limited our sightseeing for the first hour of our trip.

Eventually, the fog was replaced with fluffy clouds in a blue sky, though even with the sunshine, the temperature remained in the 50s.

I was told that I had no excuse to pass up this one-day road trip, especially since my sister-in-law, Ginny, said she would take Sunny out for a mid-day potty break.

Images of Bond Falls were in my computer, yet I had never been there. Rebecca had snapped numerous photos on other past trips to the falls.

I didn’t utter, “Are we there yet?” even once. I didn’t have to. The internet map image displayed the miles and hours yet ahead of us.

Pit stops along the way added a little bit to our time, but never too much.

Rebecca walks along the Sturgeon River, near Canyon Falls, Michigan.

When we arrived, Andy parked in the lower parking lot where a blacktop path took us to the boardwalk around the falls—the upper parking area leads down steep steps, which would have been a bit tough for me. Also, water streamed across a few of the steps, making them slippery.

The falls were beautiful. I agreed with Andy. I could have set up a chair at the base and watched them all day. But after wandering around Bond Falls and taking more photos, we were off on another falls adventure.

Canyon Falls was about 45 minutes away, which added to our day, but what did that matter after a three-hour drive?

Walking to Canyon Falls was a bit tricky for me. First, it was farther from the parking lot. Second, only part of the trail had wood boardwalks. The rest was earth, rocks, and roots.

The rocks and the roots crossed the path everywhere—I give this fact as a warning for those who have trouble walking.

I really watched where I put my feet. Those toe-catchers seemed ready to trip me and I envisioned myself falling and conking my head on a rock. If that had happened, it would have been a difficult chore getting me back to the car again.

Canyon Falls.

I did not fall. As I went up and down a few rocky areas, Andy held my hand. He also followed me everywhere, just in case.

Meanwhile, Rebecca was traversing the rocky shoreline around the falls, snapping photos and enjoying the day.

Though the path to Canyon Falls was long and tricky, it was well worth the walk. I stopped when I wanted to take in the view, not wanting to risk a fall. When I walked, I watched carefully where I was putting my feet.

I can heartily recommend a waterfall excursion to Upper Michigan. It was a wonderful day and in the end, as usual, I was pooped.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.