September 5, Day 94: One of our favorite parts of Michigan is Chapel Rock in Painted Rocks National Shoreline. The Chapel Rock / Mosquito Beach hike along the Lake Superior shoreline was one of our favorites of the entire trip. At 13 miles, it was long, so we started at 7am. Already, there were a dozen cars parked at the trailhead lot.
The first leg of the trail was unremarkable, with a small but pretty Chapel Falls view. Then we arrived at Chapel Rock on the shore. It is beautiful; a solitary tree on an elevated pedestal of rock, framed by shadows and azure skies and water beyond. After clicking dozens of photos, we continued westward along the southern coast of Lake Superior. I noted to Jean that “It was a superior hue of turquoise and blue.” She at least laughed a little, and noted my wit in our travel journal. 😉
At one point, Jean saw a path to the sandy beach below. She motioned that direction, and descended. I was concentrating on framing up the perfect photo down the coastline and missed her signal. When I turned, and Jean was gone! I went further up the trail searching, while Jean went further down the beach slowly, waiting for me. Eventually, I doubled back, checked the beach, and found her photographing Driftwood and stones. We laughed but made a point to keep track of each other thereafter.
The walk along the shore was in deep shade, but with dazzling views to high white bluffs. The turquoise water was so clear we could see the rocks far below the surface. Farther along, sedimentary rocks cantilevered over the waves, offering arresting views. We sat to enjoy our Granny Smith apples and soaked it all in. Eventually tourist boats, blaring music, interrupted the idyllic peace, and we moved on.
The return to the car on Mosquito Trail was not particularly noteworthy. It did not live up to its buggy billing, thank goodness.
On returning to the Jeep, we found bedlam. Cars jammed both shoulders of the road into the park for as far as we could see. Anyone arriving now would add miles to their hike only to reach the trailhead and endure the crowds. There remained only a narrow one-way channel for those trying to depart, with a single ranger trying unsuccessfully to sort out the snarl.
We were glad to be on our way!