Day 5: Tuesday, June 15th

We awoke in Manistique to yet another gloomy day - rain and thick, dark clouds.

The plan for the day? Head up to East Lake, the site we had reserved the previous day, and set up the tent if the weather allowed.

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This gorgeous Lake Michigan sunrise made me think of "Red sky at morning, sailors take warning".

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We arrived at East Lake at 10am to the same gloom and rain we had in Manistique. We decided to hold off on trying to set up the tent in the rain and instead unloaded the boats and the bikes, cabled locked them all together around a Pitch pine tree.

After making our way down a very narrow and winding access road we found our site - #3.
Site #2, which we had passed was empty. Site #1 was across the lake and we could not see it. But, as we would find out later, it was also empty. So, it looked like we would have the whole lake to ourselves.

One thing which did concern us was seeing two "cabins" on the north end of the lake. No mention of this was made in the "Dispersed Camping" booklet which listed and described all the sites. All we could do was hope they were unnoccupied and stayed that way.

After securing the boats and bikes in a steady rain and hoping for better tent set-up weather later, we headed back out to SR 94 and made our way up to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to go hiking. We drove 94 north to Shingleton and county road 15 then picked up county road 58 to Melstrand and then picked up Chapel Road which would take us to the trail head for Mosquito Falls and Beach.

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The rain had finally stopped as we got to the trailhead. We fixed ourselves a lunch of PB&J, loaded up our day packs and hit the trail.

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1 fine specimen of the Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris).

As we were to find out there are countless specimens just like this one - some in colonies of 100s of plants.

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An Equisetum only a FernFreak could love - the Variegated Scouring Rush (Equisetum variegatum).
This was growing along the edge of the trail only a few hundred feet from the trailhead.

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A fuzzy look at the Variegated Scouring Rush. The light was quite low and I was too lazy to carry my tripod. Compared to the Scouring Rush we have back home this Horse Tail is quite small and slender.

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Two nice specimens.
The one on the left is Allegheny or Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis).
I love the shaggy, often bronze colored bark.

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The low light forced me to resort to the on camera flash.

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I think this is the Hemlock varnish shelf fungus (Ganoderma tsugae). This fungus is most often found on Hemlock trees such as Tsuga canadensis, thus the specific epithet "tsugae".

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More cool ferns. This one is the Northern Oak fern. (Gymnocarpium dryopteris). It is a rarity in West Virginia, but up here it is quite common.

Is sort of resembles a delicate and miniature Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum).

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If you dig ferns then this is like icing on the cake!

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Equisetum scirpoides !!

Yes, you guessed correctly, this twisted little plant is the Dwarf Scouring Rush.

I first saw this plant in the late 70s while on a "Fern Survey" with the great Fernologist Herb Wagner. I have seen it rarely over the years as it is a North Woods plant. I was astounded to see so much of it here and elsewhere on this trip

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A dark shot of the Cow Parsnip flower.

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Heracleum maximum can grow to 5-6' in height and is quite impressive when seen in groups of a dozen or more plants.

The juices of all parts contain a phototoxin that can act on contact with skin and exposure to ultraviolet light, causing anything from a mild rash to a blistering, severe dermatitis, depending on the sensitivity of the individual. The plant is a pernicious weed especially in pastures, where it can ruin the milk of cows that eat it.

Various Native American peoples had many different uses for this plant; all parts of it were used by one nation or another. Perhaps the most common use was to make poultices to be applied to bruises or sores. In addition, the young stalks and leaf stems — before the plant reaches maturity — were widely used for food with the outer skin peeled off giving a sweetish flavor. The dried stems were also used as drinking straws for the old or infirm, and to make flutes for children. A yellow dye can be made from the roots, and an infusion of the flowers can be rubbed on the body to repel flies and mosquitoes.

Source: WikiPedia

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The trail to Mosquito Falls was dark, cool and lush.

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Still more cool ferns!!

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Here we have the Long Beech Fern ( Phegopteris connectilis). This is another rare one in West Virgina. But, up here we saw many fine specimens and some very large, dense stands.

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Mosquito Falls and the Lovely One.

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We had seen these folks earlier in the hike. They were loaded down with many pounds of camera equipment.

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The falls is not huge, but the setting cannot be beat!

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More Ostrich Ferns

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We saw these weird little things almost everywhere we went. Betsy thought they looked like bean sprouts. Any idea what they are?

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A small trib of the Mosquito River.

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A happy colony of Beech Fern hanging from the bank above the stream.

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How lucky can a fella get??!!

This is Brauns Holly Fern ( Polystichum braunii). This was a real treat for me as I was not expecting to see it here. I consider it a bit of a rarity, even this far north.

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I hope to get some better pictures later in the trip.

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Ferns! Ferns! Ferns! Heaven...

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A nice sized Sugar Maple.

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Close to Mosquito Beach there is a group campsite complete with solar powered potty.

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We saw this contraption near the mouth of the river. I think it was being used to count Steelhead bass which had been planted with some sort of emitter.

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Note exactly good weather for lounging on the beach, but it is wild and beautiful and we saw only two other people while there.

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The sandstone layers reminded me of phylo dough.

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This reminded me of Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park where we spent part of our Honeymoon.

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With nothing for scale this pillar could be 10" of 10'.

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The iron in the rocks give it an orangey color.

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When you see Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis) growing out of a crack in the rock, you know you in an area with a lot of moisture. This was a first for me.

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We hiked the trail on the east side of the river going back. We slogged through the mud while enduring nearly constant, heavy downpours.

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A soggy, (but smiling) Betsy.

We got back to the car at around 3:00 and then drove over to the PCNL visitors center in Munising where we got a few brochures and postcards.

Then it was back to the campsite at 5:00 to set up the tent. We fixed a big salad for dinner which we ate in the screened-in vestibule of our new tent, an L.L.Bean King Pine Dome Tent. Betsy picked it out and I am glad she did!

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Not quite getting enough of The Great Outdoors, Betsy went for an evening paddle while I set about the task of emptying some cans of beer.

Our new tent provided plenty of romping room and we both enjoyed our first night in it!

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