Munising Falls

Munising Falls

Two days ago, as Cristal and I made the long, tedious journey to Munising, situated in the Hiawatha National Forest, we sought ideas to amuse ourselves. Cristal decided on reading the epic poem, Hiawatha—a notion that soon lost favor when she saw the length of it, and realized it might prove as tedious as the journey. Instead, she looked up Wikipedia information on the background of the poem to settle our dispute: I said the poem was based on the Iroquois in New York, she said the poem was based on native Americans from the Lake Superior area. In a way, we both were correct.

Inspired by the native Americans he met on Boston Common, as well as stories told by an Indian agent and other narratives, Longfellow set out to tell the tale of Manabozho, an Ojibwe hero, whose history is usually set near The Pictured Rocks here on the lake. For whatever reason, Longfellow decided to change the name of his hero to Hiawatha, a name he believed a commonly accepted alternative to Manabozho. It wasn’t. It’s an Iroquois name of the Five Nations settled in NY and PA. Thus began a long history of misinformation resulting in numerous Hiawatha place-names and company names in the Lake Superior region, an area devoid of any Iroquois. You might say this gave Cristal and me a bit of a mini-haha (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

We were due to go visit these famed Pictured Rocks

Cristal at Sandy Point, The Pictured Rocks in right hand background

Cristal at Sandy Point, The Pictured Rocks in right hand background

by boat, the first designated National Lakeshore in the U.S. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. On arrival at the ticket office, we were told that some boats were coming back as there was a three to five foot swell, yet we should go anyway as our boat might make it. Stalwart veterans of yesterday’s four minute cruise to Grand Island, we took our new tickets and walked away, pictures of the two road-trippers dying by drowning in our head. We returned to the desk and the woman reassured us it was safe and we would get a refund if the boat didn’t make it. Not only that, but Dramamine was sold at the souvenirs desk. Dairy Queen having been recently guzzled, we thought again of the five foot swell and returned once and for all for a refund.

So…no pictures of the Pictured Rocks. We took two walks to waterfalls and are watching the boats from our window.

Miner's Falls

Miner’s Falls






  1. Ah, what’s a bit of a swell? Truth is, after 20 years of boating, Steve and I tended to wait for calm waters. He’s more urpy than I am…so it was easy for him to say…’let’s wait a day.’ Glad you’re having mini-ha-ha’s’


    • The thing is, if you have to take Dramamine to go, what’s the point? You sail in a stupor? See the blasted Pictured Rocks through foggy eyes? We’ve been much happier sitting here looking out to ‘sea’ at the beautiful sunset–I know you’d appreciate all this.


  2. And so they sat by the shores of Gitchie Goomie, (sp) by the shining big sea waters and contemplated their fate. To sail or not to sail, that is the question. But prudence is the better part of valor they say, and so they sat and sipped wine from Kansas wine glasses and enjoyed the calm assurance of a longer lifespan.


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