October is one of my favorite months to be at camp on Horseshoe Lake in Republic, Michigan. It’s the time of year when the skyline resembles a water color painting from heaven. On my most creative and eloquent day, my description would still not do it justice.
I can’t describe how the golden leaves of a birch tree fall on a narrow path that winds through the forest creating a walkway reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz’s Yellow Brick Road.
I can’t describe the fresh smell of the falling leaves or the crunchy noises they make as both people and animals frolic in the freshly fallen foliage (say that fast three times).
I can’t describe the way the beautiful Indian summer sky sparkles through the leaves as they dance in the breeze celebrating the end of summer and coming of winter.
And on the calmer days, I can’t describe the magnificent reflection of the tree line on the lake and the bed of leaves that drift on the surface of the water basking in the sun.
I can’t describe it because it is simply something that one needs to not only see, but smell, hear and feel to appreciate.
These are the days I love to be in a kayak or on an ATV with my husband and friends. Soaking up the beauty of the Upper Peninsula. It’s a level of appreciation that can only be felt in your heart and soul.
For tourists that want to truly experience the Upper Peninsula fall color season, you should plan to take a trip north in early October. Book ahead, however, because many people have the same idea. It is also the time of year when Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, Finlandia University and Lake Superior State University are planning their homecoming activities.
Some of the best locations to view the leaves in a car include the Keweenaw Peninsula, specifically Brockway Mountain Drive. Not only are there several locations to stop and put your camera to work, but there are also some quaint shops, inns and fabulous food.
One of my favorite spots is The Fitzgerald. It is literally on Lake Superior, or at least it feels like it is on the water. It’s located just off the road in Eagle River, Michigan and provides one of the best venues for sunsets in the Yoop. If you get there, try the Pork Belly French Toast. It is smoked and fried pork belly with a maple bourbon glaze. Need I say more? Their Cuban Sandwich is also mouthwatering.
If you are into four-wheeling, just unload your ATV or ORV on the appropriate U.P. trail and you will be driving through a forest full of color. Be careful, there are plenty of moose also sharing the trail, not to mention other ATVers.
Newberry, MI home to the Taquamenon Falls is a great location for ATV and ORV lovers. They have a site that has specific trail information (click here).
The Jack Stevens Trail in the Keweenaw starts at the Portage Lift Bridge in Hancock and runs 14 miles to just south of M-203 in Calumet on the former Soo Line railroad grade. There are bikers and walkers on this trail as well so drive carefully. Suggested trail heads include the Swedetown Ski Trail site on Osceola Road in Calumet, Porvoo Park in Hancock, the Houghton County Airport on US-41 and the Houghton County Historical Museum in Lake Linden.
There are also many inland lakes and waterways for you to explore the fall color from your kayak or canoe. If you aren’t feeling brave enough to go it alone, try the Keweenaw Adventure Company for a unique guided tour.
Whether you do it by land or by sea; whether by bike, kayak or atv; whether by foot or by car, you simply must come to the Upper Peninsula during the fall color season. I would tell you how much you’re going to love it, but I simply can’t find the words.
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