Tahquamenon Falls, Upper Peninsula

A few weeks before leaving for Mackinac, my boss at the time and her family were going up for the weekend. I asked what she was planning on doing, hoping she’d have thought of some adventures I didn’t know about. She didn’t disappoint.

She told me they were going to make the drive up to Tahquamenon Falls in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula).

Never having been to the U.P. (isn’t that amazing? I grew up and spent the majority of my life in Michigan and hadn’t seen, until a few weeks ago, an entire peninsula that’s part of my state) or seen a waterfall. I immediately added it to my bucket list and was determined to visit.

I had visions of standing amongst pines, admiring all that nature has to offer. Basically something like this:

 photo Wanderer and Wolf Tahquamenon_zpsy4qu3mxp.jpg

Come the morning we were set to traverse off, I sprung out of bed (no coffee yet . . . yes, I was that excited), ran to the window, threw up the curtains to find . . . a horribly gray sky and rain.

Well, you should know from my Twitter, that I am an avid lover of weather and storms. I refused to let it slow me down.

We bundled up, jumped in the car and headed out across the Mighty Mac.

 photo Mighty Mac Bridge_zpso6klv2tn.jpg

If you ever come to MI, I highly recommend a trip across the MM. It’s spectacular!

 photo Mac Bridge_zpss8seg8g1.jpg

We crossed over onto flat land and drove for an hour on winding roads, passing another car only occasionally with only the pines to keep us company.

 photo UP Highway_zpsxqseieev.jpg

Being in the U.P. was incredible. Even though it’s part of my home, it felt like a completely different state. There are more trees than buildings, you can drive for miles without a soul in site, cell reception is spotty and all homes are set back along long drives.

I’ve honestly never seen anything like it in my life.

Finally, we turned at a bend in the road and saw the entrance to the falls.

 photo Tahquamenon Falls_zpsumyoraw8.jpg

The falls are located in Tahquamenon State Park. When driving up, you’ll first see the entrance to the lower falls and 15 minutes later you’ll reach the upper falls. You have to go to both. Trust me.

We started with the upper.

 photo WW Falls_zps4unua6vo.jpg

We hopped out of the car and started along a walking path that mimicked the highway we just drove on. A long, winding path, surrounded by sky-high trees.

 photo Tahquamenon Path_zpsgq3ys7xk.jpg

 photo UP Michigan_zpszrbzwxme.jpg

After a while, you’ll start to hear the rumble of the falls. First you’ll see the river. . .

 photo Tahquamenon River_zpssy4b7ltj.jpg

And then there it is. The upper fall.

 photo Northern Michigan_zpstmnx4jdg.jpg

 photo Northern MI Tahquamenon Falls_zps08mkrypm.jpg

It’s incredible. Smaller than your typical tourist falls like Niagra (still large though – the water stands 200 feet across and drops 50 feet down) but no less beautiful. In fact, I loved the size.

The thundering of the water and rushing of the river showed you the power of the water but didn’t consumer your entire focus.

You are able to divide your attention between the river, falls, gorgeous trees, bushes and shrubs all around it for a complete nature experience. It’s beautiful, haunting and utterly peaceful.

 photo Northern MI Boardwalk_zpsfdbjrlzi.jpg

 photo Tahquamenon Lower Falls_zpshlq0eu9s.jpg

Cell reception is almost nonexistent which makes you live in the moment rather than worrying about sending snaps, texts or Instagrams.

You are forced to experience that moment with no distractions. Complete and total bliss.

 photo Tahquamenon_zpshvtaviq3.jpg

The thundering of the falls, rush of the river, wind in the trees, wildlife scuttling across the paths, the smell of the recent storm. It’s perfect.

 photo Lower Falls_zpswvhdsep4.jpg

 photo Wanderer and Wolf UP MI_zpsusecw0aj.jpg

 photo Tahquamenon Hiking Trail_zpsrjzfsyng.jpg

To get to the lower falls, you can hike or drive.

There is a sign by the hiking path warning of no cell reception (traumatic for a girl who lives and breathes Google Maps) and my mom’s lack of proper hiking shoes, led us to skip the hike and drive over to the lowers.

 photo Upper Peninsula MI_zpsvtj72yho.jpg

While all part of the same river, the lower falls and upper are completely different from each other. You stand elevated, looking down on the tops of trees, river and falls at the Upper.

At the Lower, you’re right there level with it all.

 photo Tahquamenon Upper Falls_zpsx0h9vn6y.jpg

 

 photo Upper Tahquamenon Falls_zpsfy6xlfec.jpg

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It’s unbelievably peaceful and makes you want to dance around singing like a Disney princess as you call to all your woodland friends. What? Just me?

 photo Tahquamenon Lake_zpshwd6si2n.jpg

You gaze out across the river  (you can rent kayak boats too!) with the falls (there’s five here) cascading around an island in the distance.

If you don’t tell your travel buddy, “everything the light touches is our kingdom . . .” I will be so ashamed of you.

 photo Northern MI State Park_zpsgaylysz3.jpg

When you can pull your attention away from the island, follow the boardwalk. You’re in for a treat.

 photo Tahquamenon Boardwalk_zpsx8qgv15v.jpg

 photo Mamma Wanderer_zpsxwrlzntp.jpg

 photo Prayer of the Woods_zpsct8drmqs.jpg

 photo Northern Michigan Waterfall_zpsjtejk497.jpg

 photo Tahquamenon Wilderness_zpsqmxttq43.jpg

You’re led right out over the water, to the very edge of one of the falls as the water rushes by, thundering down, spraying you with water and giving you the most unbelievable views.

 photo Tahquamenon Waterfall_zpsqm3wca4d.jpg

 photo Michigan Waterfall Tahquamenon_zpsh8iq2gya.jpg

 photo Tahquamenon Falls Upper_zpsxbuxwp4p.jpg

By far one of the most spectacular and mesmerizing places I’ve ever been. I can’t believe this is the same state I’ve lived in my whole life, never knowing that this existed.

While I love the city, I also love being in nature. There really is nothing more beautiful than nature, completely unobstructed by our modern lives.

It’s also the perfect place to sing Just Around The Riverbend. On repeat. Off key. All day. My poor Mom.

More adventures tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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