Presque Isle River

…hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. — Shawshank Redemption

Yup. As mentioned before, there are a lot of good beaches remaining. This is one. Arriving here late in the evening, I had little light for taking photos, and many turned out darker than I would’ve hoped. I also had a camera battery problem after walking down a lot of stairs to the beach… which was unfortunate, but a kind lady watching the sunset volunteered to send me the pictures of me floating on an inner-tube (you’ll find those below). Anyhow, all the pictures can be found in an album using this link. The sunset that evening was simply amazing. The above picture is really nice, but even that doesn’t jive with the image still ingrained in my mind. The beach was strewn with campers and day trippers hoping to catch a good sunset… and were they ever fortunate!

Presque Isle River is a Legally Dedicated Natural Area (National Natural Landmark) located in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. CR-519 / Presque Isle Road is located just North of Wakefield, and is a nice 16 mile stretch of scenery. The road ends at the Presque Isle River Campground, which has 50 camp stations which are semi-modern… meaning there is drinking water and bathrooms. There is also a nice picnic area. The campground itself is situated on a high bluff with a long wooden staircase heading down to the water. This is where the campers head in the evening, to see the magnificent sunsets over the Great Lake Superior. Click here for a map.

And as with a few previous beaches, my friend Kristin came along. I asked her to write a little summary:

“The Beach with the Beer In It”

In the idealistic fog of memory, I’m writing about a breathtaking area where land enjoys the caresses of the great Gichigami. Directionally challenged, I can’t recall exactly where this was or how to get there; you can leave that to the ever-calculating Nils. Instead, I recall only the divinely created aesthetics and will do my feeble best to articulate–and hopefully recreate–these settings in your capable imaginations.

As the sun dove into Lake Superior water, so did Nils–with a not-quite-big-enough inflated tube and an open can of *beverage*. With pure joy dancing its way all over his face, he shouted “I’ve always wanted to do this!” over the sound of crashing waves.

‘Always wanted to do what?’ I remember thinking. ‘Always wanted to climb into freezing cold water to consume high-calorie beverages while balancing yourself above sharp rocks on a tube?’ And the sky spat rain on us, little spits; just enough to make our towels damp and the hair on our arms prickle up like chicken skin. But his joy was infectious, and I found myself tickled when he dropped his can of liquid bread into the water. He quickly retrieved the can and continued to consume its contents. “It’s still good!” Sure it was. But I’m sure the lake did not mind–Gichigami got a taste of *beverage* and Nils got a taste of Gichigami. I would say that the lake got the better end of the deal.

Adventure can be found anywhere. But when adventure is created in a place as majestic as that beach… alas! One cannot feel more blessed, I assure you. With the antics that occurred on that evening, well. I’m certain that even the sun hesitated to set.

Yes, I did indeed fall off my inner tube and dunk my beverage to the bottom of the lake. But I also did exclaim “I’ve always wanted to do this” a mere moment before a HUGE clap of thunder and the downpour of rain…

Aside from the campground,  picnic area and long staircase to a beautiful sunset beach, there is also a nice network of trails along the river with viewing platforms for the scenic waterfalls and rapids that populate the river. There are at least 3 really good waterfalls marked on the Google map which I linked to earlier. The river traverses a series of low falls and cascades before dividing into two channels that cutting through the underlying bedrock – though water only flowed through one when I made this trip in the late summer.

This next photo is taken from the wooden suspension bridge just below the last falls – which are the neatest ones. Many people have photographed these falls, but the best photo I’ve ever seen was one published by National Geographic, taken by my friend Gowtham. A link to the picture is here, and his blog posting is here.

The surrounding forest is dominated by old growth maples, hemlock, and white pine. The trail from the bridge leads to an area islanded by the river, which has more of an open wooded floor with dispersed hemlock and cedar trees. In the waning light, it was an eerie feeling to walk amongst the trees and then out to this incredible view of the river mouth. Simply spectacular.

One response to “Presque Isle River

  1. Jenny says:

    Thank you for this awesome website! So much wonderful information. We’re excited to head here and Black River in a couple weeks, thanks to your recommendations! Can’t wait 🙂

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