Monday, August 6, 2018

Pictured Rocks and Lakenenland on the U.P. of Michigan

There are many ways to see Pictured Rocks.  We decided to just see what we could see without going on a water based excursion and were pleased that we got a good sampling.

Check the kayak near the rocks for size perspective.

The water was so clear.  They say you can see large fish from high up though we did not see any.

We walked a trail to a lower overlook.

Of course, along the way we were sufficiently distracted by things that were not pictured rocks like this Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

and this cute little slug.

We asked a Park Ranger about a particular waterfall that we had heard about.  She informed us of an even better one (Exquisite, was her actual word) and told us an easy way to get there.

Think we messed up the simple directions.

No matter though as it was a nice day to be on the beach

and take in the scenery.

Which, in our case, meant getting distracted by

the smaller components of the scene.

Meet Rana clamitans melanota; the Northern Green Frog.

Before we left the park we followed a new-to-us bird call into the forest and hiked a (miniscule, nearly imperceivable) portion of the 4,600 mile North Country Trail.  We never did find the bird but a lot of mosquitos found us delicious.  So, our time in the woods on this day was short.

We are aware that we did not even begin to touch the surface of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore but we were o.k. with that.  If you wanted to see more there are boat rides, kayak trips and other opportunities available that would give you more variety of color, shapes and even some caves and arches.

Back on the road we were excited to visit a unique place we had read about.

We've got a thing for out of the ordinary and Lakenenland is definitely that.

Lakenenland is the creation of Tom Lakenen and is a free sculpture park open seven days a week.

Tom did not originally intend to have a free sculpture park.

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He actually intended to keep sitting on a barstool drinking beer when he wasn't working.

His wife "suggested" he think twice about that one and all of a sudden he had a lot of free time on his hands.

Since he was an iron worker by trade he started bringing home scrap pieces and making things out of them.

Tom originally displayed them in his front yard but the township wasn't too fond of that idea.

So, after years of storing them in his backyard where no one could see them,

he decided to purchase property on which to display them.

Locals and tourists alike are just going bonkers for this free park.

He even built a stage for real live folks to play their music on.

Seeing as how snowmobiling is more important than auto-mobiling on the U.P. the park is set up on the main snowmobile path.

In the winter time it is quite the destination and the locals enjoy gathering around the bonfire that Tom builds. 

That's not to say it isn't busy in the summertime though.  When we arrived it was quite busy.

Although he made the entire viewing route drivable, we opted to walk so that we could take our time with each piece.

As you tour the sculpture park you learn that he uses his art not only to express himself but at times some of his opinions, as well.

Much of his art involves a great sense of humor.

This is definitely not your run of the mill stop and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

He even had a little taste of FLA for us while we were way up on the U.P.

       “If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together.” - African Proverb