Today’s hike was heading west of Grand Marais to Coves Campsites in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This is a little odd, since we’re ultimately trying to get to St. Ignace, which lies to the east. But we wanted to explore a little of Pictured Rocks, and have enough time to hike a day here and still make it to St. Ignace before a conference I’m attending. So that’s why we’re doing this.
Anyway, the itinerary called for hiking about 25 miles (40.2 km) through Pictured Rocks and into Beaver Basin Wilderness.
We were told the path through Pictured Rocks was perfectly signed. Um … not quite. Blue blazes are the sign for the North Country Trail. But in Pictured Rocks, there are wooden sign posts for the trail at the intersection of the trail with major points of interest, but not one blaze otherwise. Okay, that’s not too difficult to figure out.
Hoofing it Toward Coves Campsites
During the morning, we took in Sable Falls, hiked through lovely hardwood forest and discovered the Log Slide, an old path through the sand and down to the lake below. Loggers used to get massive logs down into the water this way. We also passed Au Sable Light Station, the tallest one in this area of Lake Superior’s southern shore. The day was lovely, and the sights very impressive.
But at the very end of our long day, we were looking for Coves Campsites, from which we’d take a connector trail back to our car. Coves was right after Beaver Creek Campsites, but in between were a wealth of side trails around Beaver Lake. Suffice it to say, we never found the path we were looking for, and were told by several others that they found all of the signage confusing. We ended up hiking an extra two or three miles (3.2-4.8 km), which was tough.
But that’s life on the trail! The scenery was gorgeous and we had an excellent day.
Snowshoe and Ed
MI NCT miles today: 24.8 (39.9 km)
MI NCT miles to date: 29.1 (46.8 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 29.1 (46.8 km)
Total NCT miles to go: 4,570.9 (7,356.2 km)