Date: June 14, 2018
Location: Tahquamenon Falls State Park - Paradise, MI
Distance: 4.3 miles
Trails: River Trail
Tahquamenon (like phenomenon) Falls is located in the Eastern portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and one of the most beautiful places in the state. It is known to attract plenty of tourists, but we went early enough to avoid them! My other half, my mom's other half, and I took off around 6 am and made the 2.5 hour drive up to the state park. The mosquitoes were immediately thick and it was not looking good from an enjoyment perspective, but we had bug spray and hoped for the best.
We set out on the paved portion and made our way to the viewing area at the Upper Falls. There are 96 steps down to the viewing platform, all worth it. Between the car and the falls, a bird pooped on me, or I put my hand in bird poop on a railing, or some other situation in which my hand/arm came in contact with bird poop, so that was a good time and made everyone laugh and distracted from the mosquitoes everywhere for a second.
Back up the 96 steps we went and headed towards the dirt path that led to the Lower Falls. It started up on a ridge, with the river below and the trees thick. We met one family along the way, and they didn't really seem to be bothered by the mosquitoes. The bugs didn't start out too bad on the upper part of the trail, but the second we descended to the river level, we were eaten alive. In my 33 years on this Earth, I have never experienced mosquitoes THIS bad. We probably made it a third of the way to the Lower Falls and decided to turn around because it just wasn't enjoyable. I was a little disappointed, but ultimately wasn't enjoying the hike enough to continue. My goal of 10 miles was missed and I settled on 4, but distance isn't always everything. In just 4 miles, in and out, I saw plenty of nature's splendor to be satisfied. We had some laughs and I'd definitely return during the fall or winter to do the path.
This hike revitalized my desire to be outside, invigorated my senses, and reminded me that it's not about the distance but overall enjoyment. I've scheduled a bunch of hikes in my calendar for upcoming weekends to keep me motivated. If anyone is interested in tagging along, feel free to contact me! Happy trails.