After four days of camping (check out the posts on the Apostle Island and Porcupine Mountains if you missed them) we decided to break up our 10-day road trip with a stop in Marquette, Michigan. We passed through Marquette last year to pick up some sleeping pads for camping (which we still use to this day) but now we were ready to spend a little more time in this unique and iconic town.
After a very hot couple of days in the Porcupine Mountains, we were greeted in Marquette with rain and temperatures 30 degrees cooler than the previous day. Welcome to Michigan. We showered off some of the camping grime and went into town to find some grub.
We stopped at the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse. It was breathtaking even in the rain and gloom. We didn’t go in but there was a walkway out to the point and we almost got locked out there when a gentleman (whom I assume works at the museum) started putting a padlock on the gate! We ran for the exit but it was a strange experience and also how I imagine my dog feels whenever I leave and close the door in her face.
We picked up some pasta from The Pasta Shop near Northern Michigan University’s campus and ate it in the car while the rain poured down on us. Not wanting to spend any time in the hotel room, we ended up grabbing a beer at Ore Dock Brewing Company before deciding we had finally done the appropriate amount of activities to earn a good night’s sleep at the hotel.
The rain started to let up the next day and we were ready to do some hiking. There are are a TON of hiking trails near Marquette all within a few minutes drive. We started the day with a drive around Presque Island. It was still drizzling so we parked the car at various outlooks and each time I was in awe of the black rocks.
We then went to Sugarloaf Mountain. It’s a pretty short and easy hike (1.2 mile loop), whether you choose to go up the “difficult” rocky path or take the stairs. Once at the top, you get a stunning view of Marquette, Lake Superior and Presque Island.
From there, it was on to Dead River Falls. We had seen a coffee shop in town that was named after these falls and figured it was worth checking out. The trail was suuuuper eroded from the amount of visitors over the Fourth of July and we found it semi-difficult to follow, especially with our dog. We had to pick her up a few times because the sandy trail was so badly eroded and steep or obstructed by fallen trees. The falls were beautiful though and you can walk right onto the rocks.
Our last hike of the day was the most difficult but also the most rewarding. Hogback Mountain. My friend and my foe. The supposed 2.8 mile hike began easy enough. Just a simple wooded trail with some big rocks but nothing too crazy. At what I think was about the 1.5 mile mark, the trail markers stopped making sense. We met another couple that was giving the hike a second try because earlier in the day they could not figure out how to get to the top. Keep in mind that we did not have cell service to pull up a map and the small map on the sign at the beginning of the trail did not have clear markers. This couple told us that they thought we were within a half mile of the summit and pointed in the direction in which Glenn and I had just came from. I was thinking, “Thanks but no way am I taking directions from you two.”
Glenn and I started on a different route and made some progress towards to the top but then got stuck again. There was a steep rock wall in front of us and that was about it. At this point I started to get hangry but I didn’t let it defeat me, it fueled me. I was not letting this mountain win!!
A family of 5 with teenage boys came up behind us and they were also unsure how to get to the top. So like any responsible parents, they sent the youngest (and obviously least important) up to see if he could make it. He came back and reported that, yes he could get to the top but, no he wasn’t sure if it was the correct way. Ultimately, another set of hikers arrived that knew what they were doing and they confirmed that we did in fact have to climb the giant rock wall. So up we went.
The summit was incredible. Laid out before us was basically all of the things we had accomplished that day. Sugarloaf Mountain looked so small. All in all I think my phone said I took 23,000 steps that day.
We rewarded ourselves with a delicious burger and whitefish at Iron Bay Restaurant and ended the night back at Ore Dock Brewing Company because it was so good we had to go back two days in a row.
Marquette might be my new favorite town in northern Michigan. Up there with Copper Harbor for sure. We got so lucky that it only rained on the few nights of the trip that we stayed in a hotel. The next stop is Tahquamenon Falls and back to sleeping on those sleeping pads I mentioned earlier.
Until next time!