Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Root Beer Falls

On the way to the falls, we stopped at Mission Point cemetery just for this view.

Wow! It's an amazing view, isn't it?

On to the falls...

Root Beer is the nickname of these falls because of the foamy amber-colored water spilling over at the current rate of nearly 6,000 gallons per second (which pales in comparison to the over 50,000 gal/sec maximum which has been recorded). The root beer color is the result of tannins leached from the cedar, spruce & hemlock trees.

The real name is Tahquamenon Falls - pronounced Ta Qua Ma Non- nearly as beautiful to say as they are to see. Tahquamenon is an Ojibwa word referring to the place of the dark berry swamps.
These falls are tucked into a wooded area near Lake Superior in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan near the village of Paradise.

By these pictures, I would say that the village was appropriately named, wouldn't you?

Once again we decided to navigate many steps to get to alternate viewing areas. You don't have to go down any steps to get good views. The pics above were taken on the easy walking paths.

The 116 steps noted here was only to get down to the lower level.
From there we walked up and down another 35 or so steps to get to different viewing areas.

I think we went up and down over 500 steps, counting the lighthouse. We must be somewhat masochistic! I could feel a moderate pulling of the calf muscles the next day. But it was worth it. We got to see some interesting rock formations that we would not have seen from above.
You can walk about five miles down to get to the smaller lower falls. Or you can drive like any sane person would after climbing 500 steps. We drove.
The lower falls are not nearly as tall or wide as the upper falls, but have even more breathtaking scenery.

This is the land of Longfellow's Hiawatha."By the rushing Tahquamenaw" Hiawatha built his canoe (there have been many variations on the spelling over the decades). Longfellow loved this area and I think you can see why.

When we finished at the upper falls, we spent a moment enjoying the outdoor fireplace before heading to the second set of falls.

At the lower falls we went inside the store to get a drink. The power had gone out and the soda fountains did not work. There were no lights, no soda, no food. All they had left were a few cans of juice. We bought some and sat down at one of the checkerboard tables beside a window.

Checkers are not my strong suit.

It took less than ten minutes for me to go down in an embarrassing defeat after jumping just three of DH's red checkers.

Playing checkers in a general store reminded us of Sam Drucker's store. Anybody remember that show?

At 2:10 p.m. we left the falls.

At 2:15 p.m. this was the view from our car window:

By this time it was down to 39 ° so we were thrilled at our good luck to not have been caught a half mile back in the woods in this rainstorm.

We were even thrilled the next morning as we sat in a soliarium eating breakfast and watching the big white flakes glide to the ground.

Yes, it was the first snow of the season.

Nonetheless, I had a wonderful weekend. I hope you did, too.


  1. Rootbeer Falls..what a neat name and what gorgeous scenery.
    Oh yes we had snow too and it was gorgeous only a bit early in the season I'd say.
    Wow did you ever do steps..don't know if I could have.

  2. Beautiful pictures. Thank you for taking us on a journey.

  3. What lovely scenery! And like Carole, you got your first snow too. We are expecting a bit of rain over the next few days-just rain.
    I remember the lighthouse last year-250+ steps-really knocked me for a loop. But when I feel achy, etc. I remember it wasn't that long ago and I managed to do it. Just think how good all those steps are for your calf muscles!

  4. Thanks for taking us all along on your wonderful journey to the falls! Snow? You have had snow already? And folks think Maine is cold! "-)

  5. Oh, Zoey, what a beautiful area indeed! Love the name Root Beer Falls, it's truly fitting since it does resemble root beer. lol The scenery is breathtaking and I can imagine it being more so in person. Not too sure about the stairs, though, over 500 of them sounds like exercise to me! hehe What a treat it must have been to be able to sit by that outdoor fireplace, such a great idea. I sure do remember Sam Drucker's general store in Hooterville! hehe Gosh, Petticoat Junction, that sure brings back memories!! Yikes, you sure did get back on the road in time, imagine being caught in that rain while still in the woods. Loved seeing all your pictures:-) xoxo


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