A Meditation on Pictured Rocks and Miners Castle

Miner's CastleOur last major stop in Michigan’s paradisial U.P. was at Miners Castle Pictures Rocks National Lakeshore near Munisingalong Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a spectacular 73+thousand-acre park which includes 42 miles of Lake Superior shoreline.Unusual Arches of Pictured Rocks If you ever get a chance to visit, Pictured Rocked Boat TourI’d really recommend taking a boat tour along the coast, Caves along Pictured Rocks because you can’t see the incredible colors and intricate designs of the rocky Pictured Rocks  formations nearly as well when you’re standing atop the sandstone cliffs. Hike to Munising Beach  However, there are also many memorable hikes along the forested ridges. Path full of roots Of course, they tend to be steep and rooty, but they’re absolutely beautiful! Miner's CastleOn this especially glorious August morning, we opted to visit Miners Castle Lake Superior from Miner's Castleand take a hike along the top of the 200′ cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. Kayakers in Lake SuperiorHowever, we got distracted when we saw groups of kayakers Kayakingplying the clear, quiet waters, Munising Beach.and we noticed that Miners Beach, which is usually quite deserted,Munising Beachwas brimming over with groups of kayakers! Sand PointSo, instead of taking a hike to Sand PointPictured Rocks National Lakeshorealong the rocky cliff tops, Beautiful colors of Pictured Rockswe decided to trek the trail down to Miners Beach. Miners RiverHappily, there’s a well traveled foot path that leads along Miners River Miners River reaches Miners Beachas it meanders from the high country down to Miners Beach. Miners River. Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreMiners River has its origin in Hiawatha National Forest, Looking back at Miners Riverand it’s the largest river in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Testing the water at Miners RiverThe water is cold but clear, Miners River Meets Beachand it’s very clean, despite looking brown from all the tannic acid (due to decomposed vegetation). Children playing in Miners River However, the color doesn’t stop anybody (like these children) from playing! Crossing Miners RiverNear the end of the trail there’s a footbridge across Miners River,Miners Riverand then it’s just a quick jaunt along the sandy river shoreline Miners Beachbefore you’re out to Lake Superior and ready for a swim! Lake SuperiorWell, we could have if we’d only thought to bring our swimsuits! Too bad. 😦 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore 2The other thing we’d failed to consider was just how hot and thirsty we might become. Water water everywhere, but ne’er a drop to drink! Picking Wild BlueberriesThankfully, it was blueberry season, and even the little bursts of wild Wild Blueberriessweetness were enough to invigorate us for the return trek (uphill). Miners River 2

It struck me that we took fewer precautions for this hike because we were so familiar with the area. Instead of my usual “Semper paratus” attitude (“always ready”), I felt so at home that I became careless. Not exactly that “familiarity breeds contempt” but that—at least in my case—familiarity bred a lack of normal precaution and thoughtfulness in planning. Munising National LakeshoreIs there any chance you and I are so familiar with this world that we’re not making adequate preparations for our spiritual journeys? Are we packing the swimsuit (garments) of salvation and the water of life so we don’t miss out?

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7).