Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hurricane River to Log Slide Hike

A whole group of us decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather a couple of days ago.  We used a couple of vehicles, leaving one at the Log Slide, and hiked east 3.5 miles from the Hurricane River.  On the shore at the east end of the campground lies a big piece of shipwreck.

The 1.5 mile trail to the lighthouse is actually the gated Coast Guard road.  It is flat and doesn't challenge you much for exercise, but it is a delightful walk.

The beach in front of the lighthouse is lined with Jacobsville sandstone.

Back in the mid-1800s, sailors dreaded the eighty miles of dark shoreline that stretched east from Grand Island Lighthouse near Munising to the light on Whitefish Point. Unmarked by any navigational light, these dangerous shores claimed dozens of ships. To fill the gap, a lighthouse was placed on Au Sable Point in 1874. An eighty-seven-foot brick tower was built on a rise, placing the light about 150 feet above Lake Superior's surface. The light tower's base diameter is 16 feet. A fog signal building was built in 1897.

The original two-story keepers dwelling was attached to the light tower in the back. In 1909, the building was added on to the front so it would accommodate two families. One lived upstairs, one down. The head keepers residence was built in 1909.

The Third-Order Fresnel Lens displayed a fixed white light. The attached, two-story brick keeper's dwelling was large, but those who lived in it knew theirs was one of the most remote mainland light stations in America. The nearest town, Grand Marais, was more than 12 miles away, and there was no road. Keepers either hiked in or came by boat.

The Coast Guard automated the light in 1958, later turning the property and buildings over to the National Park Service for inclusion in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Although the light remains active, the old Third Order Fresnel Lens has been removed from service and is in the lens room in the light tower. The lighthouse tower, the attached red brick keeper's house and the red brick fog building are still standing. The light is presently powered by solar power.

The billion year old Jacobsville sandstone serves as a platform for the waves and the ice to move large boulders toward shore.  This red and cream mottled sandstone is a half billion years older than the other sandstones in the Lakeshore.

After leaving the lighthouse and continuing east,  there is a two mile trail mostly uphill to the log slide.  We call it the hill that never ends.

Summer Lighthouse ToursAu Sable Light Station tours are scheduled Wednesday through Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day (as staffing permits). (No tours on Monday and Tuesday.) Tours begin at 11 a.m. and run through 5 p.m.

The 30-40 minute Park Ranger guided tours begin at the lighthouse east porch. Check with the volunteers at the Au Sable Maritime Museum for the next tour time. Tour fee is $3 for those 6 and older. Correct change is greatly appreciated.

Summer Transportation The Lakeshore has partnered with the Munising-based public transportation company Altran for van transportation to the light station on a limited number of Saturdays in 2011. Altran will transport people with mobility limitations on the hour for a $5 round trip fee ($2.50 one way).

The van will be available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can meet the driver in the picnic area parking lot.

Once the van arrives at Au Sable, getting around the site is up to the individual. Visitors should be aware there are very sandy soils, narrow sidewalks, and only the boathouse is accessible on one floor. The other buildings require climbing steps

NOTE:  Some of the information for this posting came from and the National Park Service web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment