Au Train, MI: Au Train Falls

One of the other suggestions Tim, Eric's REU professor one summer, told us to do was to go to his construction-in-progress cabin in Au Train and go kayaking with his kayaks. His cabin is on the Au Train River and it leads out into Lake Superior. That sounded like an awesome idea, so we got directions and information for when we were up there, about 400 miles north of Holland, right on our way between Munising and Marquette.

Well...the day we were in Au Train, it was about 50 degrees outside. We successfully managed to find Tim's cabin despite the very strange way of labeling addresses in this part of Michigan (there are two different numbers but only one of them is supported by GPS?). We checked out his cabin and took some photos to send back to him on the building progress.

Cool view and cool little cabin by the river. We headed out to his boathouse to see the kayaks and quickly realized we would not be kayaking today without a significant amount of effort. The drop down from the boathouse into the water below was a good five feet (not something we wished to jump into), and anyway the clearance from the water to the bottom of the boathouse where you'd go out onto the river was not tall enough to even fit a kayak through, let alone a kayak with a person. We evaluated the other option of carrying the kayaks out onto the dock area and dropping in from there, but that was again at least a five foot drop, plus the work of carrying the kayaks out :) We decided that a) it was cold outside, b) the water was cold, c) the water was moving very quickly, and d) it probably wasn't worth it. So we gave up on our kayaking adventure (although I would say doing that was an adventure in itself) and went to get lunch instead. Apparently this is the thing to eat in the Upper Peninsula:

It's called a pasty (pronounced pass-tee), and you can see advertisements for them at almost every single restaurant you pass in the UP. My best friend Ali, who we were going to visit in Marquette, said it was one of the things we had to try while we were up there. It turned out that the only place to get something to eat in Au Train was this little convenience store and they made homemade pasties. I thought it was just okay (Eric thought it was fine), but everyone I said that to afterward looked slightly offended, so maybe I just need to try a different one sometime and readjust my opinion.

We still had quite a bit of time before heading to Marquette (we were trying to time it to get to Ali's place about the same time as she got off work), and since we no longer had our afternoon of kayaking, we decided to go off in search of waterfalls instead. We wound up seeing about a gazillion waterfalls while in the UP (I forget the official count now, but it was over 10).

Let me preface this section by saying that Eric is magic at navigating. In the lower peninsula he directed us to random lighthouses off the beaten bath. In the UP he found us waterfalls. (In related news, my car was super dirty after this trip.) I don't have any idea how we got here, but eventually we made our way to the Autrain Hydroelectric Project. The road we turned on had a little parking area at this lookout:


We found later that these were Autrain Falls. And we thought that might be all, but the road kept going, so so did we. Then we were rewarded with a larger parking area and these signs:

We walked down the 530 feet and saw this:

Definitely worth it! This page has a little bit more information about the actual location (scroll down a little until you see "Waterfalls near AuTrain, MI").

This bridge leads you across to where the hydroelectric building is. You can follow the stream down a bit too. It was very peaceful and secluded. We saw someone with a camera and huge tripod, but otherwise, there was no one else around.

I love finding random cool places like this. These sights are why I love road trips so much -- you can explore so much better (versus plane or any other form of transportation you can't easily control). Every form of travel has its own strengths depending on the situation, but I think road trips are my favorite in general (following closely by train, boat, plane, foot, bike, horse...). What's your favorite way to travel?
Au Train, MI: Au Train Falls Au Train, MI: Au Train Falls Reviewed by Maria on 3:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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