Literally across the street from Kewadin Christmas Casino is the US Forest Service’s Bay Furnace campground. It has no electricity, but features water and a dump station, all for $8 a night with your America the Beautiful card. Thus we have all we need, if in different locations, in the fashion of Jack and Mrs. Sprat. We left the casino for the much more scenic Bay Furnace with our batteries fully charged, used the Bay’s dump station and reloaded our water. We are set for a couple more days.
The Bay Furnace is the centerpiece of the campground. It’s a rehabilitated blast furnace first built in 1869. This facility produced pig iron to be loaded onto ships headed for steel mills on the eastern end of Lake Superior. The furnace was powered by charcoal made from the surrounding forests. In 1877 a fire destroyed everything but the furnace, and badly damaged it. By then the trees for charcoal were coming on wagons from miles away, and freight on the fuel made the facility less productive. And don’t forget The Long Depression of 1873 to 1879, the second worst recession of that century (only The Panic of ’93 was worse). Fire insurance existed back then: might we suspect arson? Forensic crime scene investigations pretty much started and stopped with the brand on a horse in those days. Motive had to have been present. I bet they knew how to start fires, and there was already a lot of fire in the vicinity. My verdict: Yooper Lightning.
Kat found some wild raspberries near the Furnace and a lush patch of fat blueberries. We’ve had fresh blueberry pancakes a couple of times, and I’m cooking a sauté of blueberries and boneless chicken breasts, with white and wild rice tonight. Roughing it, eh?
Scant miles away is the Pictured Rocks National Seashore. It consists of brightly colored cliffs above the beaches of Lake Superior, some nice natural rock formations, streams and waterfalls, and tens of thousands of acres of dense north woods forest. It looks as beautiful as the weather has felt. Highs are in the low 70’s, lows are in the 50’s, often with a light night rain making music on that aluminum roof. There are some mosquitoes, but not in swarms, and they tend to respect repellents.
The Upper Peninsula is a wonderful place in summer. Let’s stay another week.