Friday, August 14, 2009
We have arrived in the upper peninsula of Michigan and are camped at the edge of the Hiawatha National Forest, which covers much of the peninsula, in the town of Rapid River. The area is largely involved in logging, mining and outdoor activities for all seasons. There is a lot of wild space in all directions.
We visited two local state parks that have unique features. The first was the Fayette Historic State Park that is home to the Fayette Historic Town site. This village was developed in 1867 by the Jackson Iron Company as an iron smelting facility and at its peak had a population of 500 workers, tradesmen and family members. After the facility closed in 1891, the population of the town quickly declined. In the mid 1900’s the property was turned over to the state and has been restored and preserved to its current state. This site provides an opportunity to envision what life would have been like for those who toiled here. The beautiful surroundings today may mislead the casual observer in to thinking that this was an enjoyable place to work.
The second state park is home to Michigan’s largest spring. The spring is two hundred feet across, and forty-foot deep and called Kitch-iti-kipi. Over 10,000 gallons a minute pour into the spring from the fissures in the floor. The spring feeds into the nearby Indian Lake. Visitors can cross the spring on a self-operated observation raft and observe the spring floor and a number of large fish that are in the spring and can travel to and from Indian Lake.