Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hurricane River to Au Sable Point Hike - Post 2

Today I'll post the second of three set of pictures from the wonderful hike I took with my son and daughter-in-law, Jonathan and Jessica.

It had been years since I walked the beach the whole way from the Hurricane River to the lighthouse.  It is a beautiful stretch of beach.  When I walked to the lighthouse a couple of weeks ago with my other son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Jericho, the waves made the walk impossible.

Since there were no waves, we could see the shipwreck sections a lot better than we could a few weeks ago.

Although the shipwrecks occurred a century ago, the sections of shipwrecks have been preserved because they have been spared the human pressures of population and industry.  The "shipwreck coast" will now be preserved into the future with the creation of the Alger Underwater Preserve.  The three shipwrecks visible during the walk between the Hurricane and Au Sable Point include:

Mary Jarecki This wooden bulk freight steamer fell victim to the power of Lake Superior on July 4, 1883.  The ship, heavily laden with iron ore, ran off its course and ground ashore in fog off the mouth of the Hurricane river.  Today, the remains may still be seen resting on the bare sandstone bottom just outside the breakers near the trail to the lighthouse.  The long oak keelsons, studded with iron treenails, are just above the water level.  No lives were lost in the incident.

Sitka and Gale Staples The remains of these two ships are mingled at Au Sable Point.  The two craft were much alike -- both were double decked wooden bulk freighters.  Each had two masts and were 272 and 277 feet in length, built in 1887 and 1888.  The Sitka stranded on October  4, 1904, in heavy fog and high winds.  Downbound and loaded with iron ore, the ship ran aground, filled with water and was abandoned in heavy seas.  Lifesavers from Grand Marais rescued 17 men from the ship.  The Gale Staples was upbound on October 1, 1918, laden with coal for Port Arthur.  Driven by high winds, she veered off course and grounded off Au Sable Point.  All hands were eventually rescued. 

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