Steve and I decided to kick 2016 off right; waterfalls, hiking and a cabin in the U.P. We took some free time away from work and family for just the two of us – and the beagles, of course. I looked at it as a blessing for the new year and that this will be the year we finally purchase the perfect property for our home.
Running Bear Resort is a small establishment in Paulding, Michigan. There are a few cabins there, simple and nothing fancy. We stayed in Whitetail. It had two bedrooms, one with bunk beds and one with a large bed; a living room area with satellite TV; a bathroom; and a kitchen. It had a furnace for heating that was very easy to operate and kept the cabin nice and toasty. It was perfect.
Not too far away from Paulding, Michigan in Ottawa National Forest is a 30 foot, several drop waterfall called Kakabika Falls. This was a new waterfall for us and has been on my list for almost as long as Ecstacy Falls. It’s in a very scenic, private area and the hike back is pretty short. The landscape is always completely different in the winter than any other season so it was hard to see the waterfall well. This is one I’d love to return to in the Spring.
Waterfalls of the Middle Branch Ontonagon River
Bond Falls is one of my favorite Michigan waterfalls and ever since the first time I laid eyes on it, I wanted to see it in the winter. So this year I did and I wasn’t disappointed. Although a bit more difficult to get to due to icy, smooth trails and steep ice-covered steps, it is still much easier to access than some of my other favorite waterfalls. Don’t be surprised if even in the winter you’re not alone.
Agate Falls is an impressive neighbor of Bond Falls. It is at scenic rest area, with a nice platform that takes you above and next to the falls but it is difficult to see through the trees. In the past, we’ve climbed down (very carefully) the steep river banks to reach the base of Agate Falls for a much improved view. There was no way I was going to do that in the winter time. It’s hard enough when there isn’t snow and ice. Instead we climbed up the steep banks and got on the bridge that crosses a few hundred feet above the river. The view is spectacular. Not only does the large waterfall look tiny, but we could see the snow covered pines for miles.
Hiking in the Porcupine Mountains
Getting to Porcupine Mountains is nearly impossible for cars in the winter. Despite closed roads, there are still some access points where you can hike in. We parked on south boundary road near Presque Isle River and followed the North Country Trail/West River Trail to Lake Superior. We loved this hike when we took it in August a few years ago and it is even more beautiful in the winter.
There are three main waterfalls along this route; Nawadaha Falls, Manido Falls and Manabezho Falls. Most of the way it’s a dirt trail, but as you get closer to Manido Falls, the trail changes to a boardwalk where you can view Manido and Manabezho. Manabezho surprised me with how heavy the water flow was, despite large formations of ice all across it. We continued down the trail, to see the pot holes and Lake Superior. The pot holes were very difficult to see due to high waters, but they were still pretty neat.
Steve and I hiked Sugarloaf Mountain for the first time Memorial Day weekend 2015. We fell in love with the vast views; seeing Marquette’s Ore Docks from afar and speculating where the town of Big Bay was to the west.
Hiking up the mountain in winter requires a bit more gear, like hiking poles, to prevent slips and slides but seeing the snow clouds rolling in over Lake Superior truly makes the hike worth every moment of it.