Upper Peninsula Adventure Trail (UPAT - 1250 miles)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    In 2003 this was part of a serious flood that even took out stuff in Marquette. A levee broke loose up at the Silver Lake Basin and flooded stuff downstream. It threatened the dam here at the Dead River Storage Basin. If that one failed, it would have been bad. Pictures here.
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    This bridge was brought in from Pennsylvania in 1919. It used to cross the Allegheny River upstream of Pittsburgh. It was part of a project to put a state highway through the Huron Mountains.
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    This highway map shows the route. The "impassable" part happened to go through the exclusive Huron Mountain Club land. Henry Ford wanted into this club bad. Through his extensive land holdings in the UP he stopped the road and coincidentally was accepted into the club where he promptly built a $100K (at that time) "cottage".
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    The forest was beautiful.
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  2. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The view of Big Bay from Gobbler's Knob.
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    There is gas in Big Bay.
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    Henry Ford used to have a mill here to provide matrials for production of automobiles. Prior to Ford, Brunswick bowling pins were made here.
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    Once Ford died, the company trimmed off a lot of these smaller facilitites. This one has been closed for many years.
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    The inland lake at the bay.
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    The elegant Thunder Bay Inn - another Ford era facility where Henry and the boys would stay. Some filming for Anatomy of a Murder was done here.
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    The scene of the murder in the Anatomy of a Murder story.
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    Required artillery picture for the report. I couldn't really count that line launching beach gun. :D
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  3. Tee2

    Tee2 I SAID! Woo Hoo!

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    Great RR. Wish I would have seen this a few weeks ago when I had the time to get up there and enjoyed the ride and the colors.

    Maybe next year.:thumb
  4. lm248

    lm248 Been here awhile

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    Cannonshot,
    Thanks for all of the effort you put into these reports.
    I love the photography and the history.
    When I retire I want to grow up to be just like you.
    BTW if anyone is interested,,
    There is an awsome B & B at the lighthouse in Big Bay.
    It's kind of expensive,
    But it's cool to be up in the tower when a storm comes in.
  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks! I think a bunch of folks will be riding this next season. Looks like a lot of extra interest from the big bike people who don't often get a track like this one.

    Thanks. That lighthouse is beautiful from the air or the lake, but the B&B owners have it locked down pretty well for all but their guests. Not much to see from the road so I left it out of the report.

    Here are a couple of pix of what can be seen that I took some time ago. If anyone wants to go there, it is out on the point on the east side of the bay.
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  6. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    The road across this wild area was pretty typical for a forest area.
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    Kennecott Minerals has 1,600 acres here that they want to mine for nickel, copper, and silver. Sulfide is an issue (can produce sulfuric acid).
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    There is a lot of controversy about this project. Part of it is environmental. The mining would run under a pristine river. The State of Michigan environmental people support the mine. Many local residents see it was a source of good jobs for about 20 years.
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    The old AAA road was being widened and improved. I suspect this has to do with the proposed mining operation. This woman is hoping for the mine as a source of a good job.
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    I left the AAA and eventually took a more rugged route.
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    Nothing a big bike can't handle.
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    I ran up on a pair of wolves out here. The smaller wolf slipped into the woods next to me. The larger wolf stayed with the trail as if he was reluctant to give it up.
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    It was pretty clear from the body language that these wolves were not habituated to people.
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    As I was being drawn into the lens with target fixation while snapping these pix that "safety voice" in my head tried to get my attention by saying "You do remember that there is a second wolf just off to your left, right?" :lol3
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    Once I took a few pix, I kept pushing the wolf down the trail. He would trot for a bit, then stop and look, then continue to trot as I advanced. Finally he turned into the woods and slithered down a narrow deer trail into some brush.
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    I'll rat out these wolves to the biologist by giving her a waypoint and telling her it appeared they were using this road. When she goes trapping to collar wolves next season, maybe she will snag one of these.

    In hindsight, I should have done more to haze the wolves than just push my way down the trail. I probably should have honked the horn and yelled to get the big one to run away. Habituation can be fatal for wolves.

    Here is a problem we are having with a pack in west central Wisconsin.

    "Bear Bluff Pack, Jackson County
    Wildlife Services has confirmed that a wolf injured a German shorthair pointer on September 18th. The report indicates that the wolf approached a hunter within 50 feet, and when he got in his vehicle, was right in front of the vehicle. This is believed to be the first verified attack by wolves on a bird-hunting dog in a bird hunting situation in Wisconsin. The Bear Bluff pack that was responsible for the attacks included 5 wolves last winter, and a yearling female (778F) and adult female (790F) were captured & collared in this pack this summer. Pups were produced in the spring as well. The recent attack was the first attack in a hunting/training situation for this pack in 2010. The Bear Bluff pack has been involved in four other verified attacks during 2010 (see map).

    There have been numerous incidents of close approaches by wolves to people by this pack, and there has been extensive work done by WDNR and USDA-Wildlife Services to create aversive conditioning and attempt to haze the wolves away from cranberry beds and areas of human activity, but the pack has become overly habituated to people. As a result, lethal control actions for this pack are beginning to used to address human safety concerns. Trapping of wolves will begin, and hunters with dogs using the area will need to be cautious of both wolves, and avoid areas with traps. General areas with traps will be posted along forest roads ahead of locations where traps will be set."
    WDNR

    By the way, this is in the same general area where on a different ride I found a girl trying to walk out after mistakenly following her GPS into a wild area. She broke down and after a few miles her young dog gave up on walking. The girl was carrying the dog when I found her which is not a good policy in wolf country. I delivered her and her dog on the back of my DL1000 to the State Police.
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    Slick67ss likes this.
  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    You can take a side trip to the top of Mount Arvon if you like.
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    People used to believe that Mount Curwood was the highest point. They named it Curwood to honor some conservationist. In 1982 the federal government resurveyed and found that Curwood was 1978.24 feet high and Arvon was 1979.238 high.
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    I tell people that the climb to the very top isn't really worth it as there is no scenic view (and some may not enjoy the walk).
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    An old slate quarry from back in the day.
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    Tribal conservation warden.
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  8. OldSilverFox

    OldSilverFox Let's Go!

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    Thoroughly enjoying the posts Cannonshot. Thanks again for the hard work and the education.
  9. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

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    Great stuff! An enviable ride in ideal fall conditions.


    :thumb :thumb
  10. trailmarker

    trailmarker n00b

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    You are so lucky to have those trails. I like more of the tight trails but all those pictures look great . Not much like that here in NY. What camera do you use ? Those pictures are very sharp.
  11. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    On the subject of running into wolves, don't know if that is always such a lucky thing. :D A guy in north central Wisconsin just ran into a pack of 13 at once. Here is some video he shot.


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  12. Ed@Ford

    Ed@Ford Long timer

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    That's absolutely amazing.....the one that appears to be the "Alpha male" with the big black tip on the tail is frikkin huge
  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks. Very glad that you are are enjoying it. Hope you get to enjoy it in person next season.

    I was lucky with the temperature and the sunlight. It really made things much more scenic.

    Much of the UP is forest and forest roads. You can roam around for miles on the forest roads and trails. There are some areas with wetlands and rivers that present some limitations to through routes, but otherwise it is nice. Most of the time I use a Nikon D60 with and 18-200 lens or a Pentax Optio point and shoot.

    That guy was very lucky to have the experience he had. I wonder how he felt about climbing down from his tree stand later on. :D
  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    In 1890, some investors thought it would be a good idea to build an ore dock in L'Anse to ship ore from the mines around Michigamme. They spent a couple million dollars on this project building the dock and a 42 mile rail line to haul ore that never carried a train. It was tough going building the line. They bought two locomotives, but one never saw the track. The one that did made it 20 yards before the bed gave way sending the locomotive into a ditch. After ten years and two million bucks, a Detroit Construction company bought the operation for $110,000. They sold the rails to other lines and disassembled the dock and sent it to Detroit. The chief engineer on this project fled to Mexico. This is an approximate path of the line to L'Anse. Some of it is now a road.
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    This is where the dock was.
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    They make ceiling tiles here.
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    On your way out of town, you will ride down to a bay on Lake Superior.
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    On your left you will see a shrine to a guy named Baraga who was the "Snowshoe Priest" in this area many years ago. Baraga has an interesting history. He came from Europe to minister here.
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    If you look up the bay you can see Pequaming where Henry Ford had one of his operations and a house.
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    If you were closer it would look like this.
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    This bay is a premium fishing spot.
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    Baraga is across the bay. They have a prison and some light manufacturing.
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    Sometimes when you ride near Lake Superior you get some serious lake effect temperature drops. That can be good or bad, depending on how you are dressed. Hot inland can quickly turn to chilled lakeside.
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  15. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    We take to a scenic and winding road that runs up and away from the lake.
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    It is such a sporty run that some other groups incorporate it into their activities as well.
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    We then turn onto the Baraga Plains ORV trail. Part of it is wooded and fantastic. Part of it is in the open and sandy. There is a go-around for big bikes.
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    Turning sandy.
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    When damp, not so bad.
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    When it gets dry in the open, it gets deeper and more sugary.
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    A look over the Sturgeon Gorge. There is a nice waterfall down there.
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    Forest roads in the Sturgeon Gorge area.
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    Sturgeon River
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  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Chassell is an old lumber town along the lake.
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    Coast Guard station at Dollar Bay.
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    They have a fancy 47' motor life boat. It is a first response rescue boat for rough seas and weather. They are self-bailing, self-righting, almost unsinkable, and have a good cruising range. Boats like this are being added to the fleet monthly as replacements for the 44' MLB fleet. Over five years, 200 will be delivered. (This may be complete by now.)
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    I guess this thing has shock absorbing seats so the crew can take a beating in the surf. This thing can operate in 20' breaking seas.
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    This was a huge mining region. This used to be a school of mines.
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    Miner on the way to work.
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    1886 Court House still in use.
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    Old 1888 firehouse up for rehab for another use.
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    Headquarters for Isle Royal National Park. To get there, you have to take take a ferry.
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    An abandoned smelter from the copper mining days. The National Park Service has this contaminated superfund site now.
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    They are doing alittle work to stabilize some of the structures.
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    They used to ship a lot of copper out of here.
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    Birthplace of professional hockey.
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    Hockey would be a natural for this area back in the mining days.
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    World's heaviest lift bridge.
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    The double deck was intended for railroad trains on the bottom and vehicles on the top. During summer, they keep the bridge raised a bit to accommodate boat traffic without having to lift the bridge too often.
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    No more trains since the mining stopped. Now they run snowmobiles across the lower deck during the winter.
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    The first bridge connecting these two towns was constructed in 1875 and rebuilt and repaired a few times since then. The present Portage Lake Lift Bridge was built in 1959. On the day before this bridge was dedicated, a ship came through and almost hit it. The ship signalled for the bridge to open. When it didn't, the ship tried to stop but couldn't. The shipped dropped anchors and tore up some underwater telephone cables but managed to stop before hitting the bridge.
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    Once we cross over the bridge, we take to an old RR right of way that is now an ORV trail. It runs past the old smelter.
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  17. Askel

    Askel Perma-n00b

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    Da UP, eh.

    At speed in old VW Bug. :evil

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  18. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Broke it/Bought it Supporter

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    That's nice!
  19. gettr

    gettr What not to do..

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  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Much of this segment is RR grade ORV trail.
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    There are two companies in the UP that make hardwood sports floors. (Conner and Horner) This is the Horner plant in Dollar Bay.
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    The Connor plant in Amasa had the contract for the custom NCAA floors. I think they are building one that can be assembled in only a few hours. The winning school gets to keep the floor. Some take it home and use it. Some cut it up and sell the pieces. Apparently there is a lot of science to sports floors.
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    There were several mills here that processed copper ore. They dumped the waste into the lake. After WWII they realized they could still get more copper out of the waste sands so they started dredging the stuff up to reprocess it. There were two dredges like this on the lake. Both sank. One out in the middle and this one here.
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    Over time they filled in about 20% of this lake. Superfund site now.
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    Old mill site near the dredge.
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    The mining companies had some stamp mills and smelters along the lake. Stamp mills smash rock into sand like particles so it can be processed further. By 1873 10,000 tons of ingot copper was being shipped out of here each year. The stamping mill and smelter here were among the world's largest. They closed after the 1968 stike that killed off mining in this area.
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    This company reclaimed one of the old plant sites. PCI is Peninsula Copper Industries and has something to do with copper chemicals.
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    There is a nice historical society museum along the path. They have a narrow gauge train.
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    This device was used to groom snowy roads for horses and sleighs.
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    Nicely restored restaurant.
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    Good place for lunch or ice cream.
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