Now that the barren days of November are upon us, I’d like to brighten our hearts with a few reminiscences of autumn’s more golden days in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where Alan and I spent two weeks earlier this fall celebrating his retirement (and as a last fling before my hip replacement). Due to COVID concerns, we waited until the last minute to do our planning and were disappointed to find that many of our favorite campgrounds were booked solid—which is really unusual.
Before COVID closed schools and cultural attractions in the lower part of the state, autumn was considered a great time to travel . . . no crowds and lower prices. This year, there were plenty of people in the more popular parks who were trying to get away from “people” (COVID) and enjoy the great out of doors. Sadly, this has resulted in the present distress of Michigan’s highest rates of COVID so far (along with much of the world).
On the bright side, being forced to try new campgrounds had the benefit of introducing us to many lovely places that we’ve never been before!
For instance, the first night we camped at Bewabic State Park, which is on the National Register of Historic Places for it’s CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)-related architecture.
Why had we never explored this gem of a state park before? We would definitely visit again!
Among our numerous new experiences, of my personal favorites was discovering Bond Falls. By some, it’s considered the best waterfall in the western U.P. and others suggest it’s second only to Tahquamenon Falls as “best falls in Michigan.”
Planetware lists Bond Falls first in their list of Michigan’s top 15 waterfalls! At any rate, no matter how you cut it, it’s a wonderful series of waterfalls!
We visited on a brilliant September day and were completely bedazzled!
Bond Falls is in the Porcupine Mountains on the middle branch of the Ontonagon River (Waypoint: 46.40889N 89.13278W).
I’m guessing that unless you’re a Michigan native, you’ve probably never heard of the Ontonagon River, but it runs through the heart of the western U.P. and drains an area larger than the state of Rhode Island!
The water was abundant in mid-September when we visited, but at its peak run-off in the spring, it can drain over 4 billion gallons of water per day!
The main falls drop about 50 feet across a 100+-foot waterway, and there are easy-access wooden walkways to make viewing very pleasurable and handicap accessible.
If you can handle a simple footpath, there are also walkways on both sides of the falls so you can enjoy not only the big fall but a beautiful series of smaller, cascading falls as the Ontonagon River splashes its way to Lake Superior.
Visiting Bond Falls wasn’t on our agenda, but we couldn’t resist exploring this “rabbit trail” after seeing a tempting road sign. The falls are just a few miles off the main road, and as we discovered—totally worth the time and effort!
If I had it to do again, I’d have allotted a couple of hours to explore.
In fact, I’m already daydreaming about bringing our kids and grandchildren up this way next summer. If you live in Michigan and enjoy hiking, I highly recommend your checking out Bond Falls sometime!
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, we are most often so focused on our work that we rarely take time to explore any byways of life—physical or spiritual.
May I suggest that God intends for us to take time to rest and be refreshed—actually, one day out of seven: a sabbath rest each week. This isn’t just a command for retirement; it’s a huge gift and blessing for all who will accept it at every stage of life! Taking time to meditate on the Bible in a special way can fill you with surprising joy . . . like finding a beautiful, new waterfall of life in your soul—providing such insights that you’d like to return again and share it with your loved ones!
You might not have time for a big vacation, but you probably wouldn’t have to travel far to go for a walk in nature and spend some time just reveling in the beauty and goodness of God’s wondrous creation! What do you think? Can you stop and take a restful walk with God this coming sabbath?
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11).