The winds of Change are blowing. The trees are shedding all their apparels (leaves). Fall is “falling” off and winter is slowly creeping in.
The first thing I loved about the US of A when I arrived here for my first visit was – Seasons. If you have ever lived in Chennai, you would know of only one season – Summer, though you would read in your text books that there are 5 seasons. It is in this country that I could see the varied differences in these 5 seasons – spring, summer, Monsoon, Fall/Autumn and winter. The two seasons I love most are Spring and Fall.
This Fall Season we decided to put our big $$ investment to some use – our Nikon digital camera (for which we spent quite a buck). When I researched on the best places to visit in USA for Fall colors, I found that almost all of them were very far off from where we stayed, and we could not afford to “fly” at this time. So, we decided to drive to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan state to visit the Tahquamenon Falls.
After some rounds of “Are you interested/will they join us”, finally the participants of this ‘Program’ were decided – it was just two families – ours and Monica-Prasad.
So, on Friday(10/6) we started from here in their Camry(this was the deciding nail in the coffin to buy a camry). About 5 hours of masti filled journey ensued. This was the first time we were going out with them and were really surprised to find just how easily the two of us couples gelled well. Probably since we were in the same age group, faced similar issues during marriage and worked in similar kind of environments – we had plenty of things in common, to discuss, debate, laugh over. The last 100 miles was ruled by the boys’ best topic of discussion – how much their wives trouble them!
We stayed over at Mackinac city. It was 11 by the time we reached our motel and we were pretty tired already, but still we decided to go and see the Mackinac Bridge which we knew was decorated with lights by night. And were we glad that we made that trip. See these photos – what do you say?
After a scrumptious breakfast of golden waffles with maple syrup, boiled eggs, toast, pastries and orange juice we started off for the falls. The breakfast was provided complimentary by the hotel. There was an elderly lady making waffles for everybody and helping out in getting things that got over or anything else we needed. And she was making cheerful conversation with about anybody in the room. I was thinking – for something that was given free, she was doing such a great job. There are places you go where you pay out of your pocket and still hardly get a smile out of the people who serve you.
There are two falls in the Tahquamenon state park – the lower falls and the upper falls, separated only by 4 miles on road. The Tahquamenon state park itself is about 2 hours from the Mackinac City. We were forced to stop on the way to admire the beautiful colors on the trees, golden yellows, bright oranges, and glowing reds. After a while my jaw ached from shouting “Oohs and Aahs”! The Lower falls is a very small fall and can be viewed from a far off distance. One can hike for about an hour to reach to a point that is nearest to the falls (we did not do it). We Monkeyed around the place for a while clicking snaps. The best part of going with another couple on a trip is that you get somebody who can click snaps of both the partners together. This was something which we never had in our earlier trips – so all snaps would either have the Mr. or me, and very few that we were lucky enough to get people to click one of both of us would have either one of hands cut of, or trunks chopped and so on. The upper falls were more interesting and magnificent than the lower falls. It is more like a miniature version of Niagara only that it is pretty dirty. The local guy there explained that dark murky wood color of water was because of the dilution of the pigments of the fallen leaves. There was so much foam coming out of the water. This place is also one of the most famous fishing spots for whitewater fish.
After spending some leisure time there, and having a nearly-good (for vegetarians getting good food in typical American spots is kinda difficult) lunch we left this place and rushed to make it to the “Pictured Rocks” cruise about 2 hours from Tahquamenon – we just had about 2 and half hours in hand.
The “Pictured Rocks” cruise is a 2 hour 20 mins cruise on Lake Superior that takes one around rocks that have been shaped, scrapped and deformed by nature. There are huge caverns scooped off the sides of huge cliffs containing deposits of various minerals causing the walls to glisten with different shades. Some natural formations of the rocks are very beautiful to watch like one shaped like the side profile of an Indian. It was pretty windy and chilly to sit on the top of the boat. While returning back, we returned to the warmth of the inside of the boat and slept off. The end of the cruise is a small fall called ‘Spray Falls’. One amazing thing we saw was this tree, which is standing on the edge of a small cliff and derives its ‘food’ from another cliff by the way of its extended roots. Amazing ways of nature na?
The next day we went to Mackinaw Island. It is a very beautiful place. The only means of transportation on this island are rental bicycles or horse driven carriages. There is an 8 mile road around the island where one can rent bicycles and drive around, stopping at the different vantage points. It was a good exercise as much fun it was. Mackinaw Island is full of fudge shops. Americans usually say that Indian sweets are too sweet for them – then what about their fudge? The Mr. – who has a very very sweet tooth – could hardly eat one half of a fudge stick all by himself!
After a hearty ride of almost 3 hours, filled intermittently with loud Antakshri, we started back on the boat back to Mackinac City and back to the daily grind of life. Ah! What would I not give for a weekend like that again?