Sunday, July 14, 2013

Oscoda and Lumberman's Monument: a visit to Michigan's Sunrise Coast

The view of Lake Huron from the cabin resort just south of Oscoda. It just seems the water goes on for miles.

I've always spent time on Michigan's Sunrise Coast, driving US-23 to Presque Isle almost every summer to spend a week at Camp Chickagami with my family and members of my church, something I've written about here before. But this was an opportunity to see an area I've always driven through and explore a bit.

My wife's (yes, I just got married three months ago) family has spent many of their summers in Oscoda on Lake Huron, and she's always loved going. So this year, we both were invited to come for part of
One of my favorite wildflowers, the Indian Paintbrush. We
found this at Lumberman's Monument.
the week. We stayed three days up north, and I found Lake Huron to be as inviting and beautiful since the last time I saw it.

We stayed at one of the little resorts that dot the northern half of US-23. I've always been curious to see some of the conditions of some of them, since I've driven by them for many years. The place we stayed at wasn't the most attractive on the outside, but the cabins had charm. Besides, you're there to rent the location of the cabin, not the cabins themselves.

The lake was inviting, albeit cold for most of the weekend we were there. The lake was chilly this past Sunday, where it seemed I was the only one along the entire lakeshore that decided to swim. The currents a week ago had some shoots of cold water near the lake bottom, but the top of the water felt warmer.

It was a warm three days, save the rain that poured on the lakeshore the day we left. The cabins were quiet, and the days could be spent working on a puzzle, sitting by the waves and constructing a campfire.

Lumberman's Monument in the Huron National Forest.
My wife also took me to Lumberman's Monument, a location about 30 minutes west of Oscoda that's dedicated to lumberjacks that cleared lands near the Au Sable River and shipped them for development, especially out west. The site is located in the middle of the Huron-Manistee National Forest, and is complete with a ranger station, information cabin and the monument itself.

The site also have a great view of the Cooke Pond Dam, a part of the Au Sable River, and Horseshoe Island. The path had a set of several hundred stairs leading to the base of the cliff,
The view of the millpond from the Au Sable River.
complete with an overview of  the sand dune that loggers used to roll the lumber down to the river.

The base of the stairwell has a small hut filled with samples of the food eaten by lumberjacks, and showed more of the lives of the loggers. It was a fairly complex day, with time only really to eat the food prepared for them.

The visitors center had several attractions, including a local banjo band that was performing under the shelter for some local music:

Lake Michigan is typically the more popular lake, but Lake Huron has something special to offer visitors as well. It was fairly quiet the entire time we were there, considered a holiday weekend. The towns along the Sunrise Coast, starting with Standish and going all the way to Alpena, each have unique charm if you know where to look.

It's a great spot to get away, and not too expensive if you're looking for some lakefront property to wake up to every morning. We fell asleep to the waves crashing on the shore each night, something everyone should experience.

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