I have never thought of myself as much of a rule-breaker. But sometimes it's just irresistible ... The day after the race, we went to visit Munising Falls. They're very pretty! We stood on the platform at the end of the trail, took some nice photos of the falls, read the signs about "don't leave the trail, falling rock, erosion, blah blah blah", and then we hopped the fence and walked over to the falls. Let me tell you, it's a much cooler experience standing underneath the waterfall than looking at it from the platform. Standing on the platform, I was an observer of nature; standing underneath the falls I was part of nature.
We had a little more off-trail fun on our way back from the falls - there was a terrific mossy ledge on the side of a hill that was just begging to be the background for some group photos. Over the fence we went again. This was one of those moments when it was crucial to have friends around - friends who are better at climbing up mossy hillsides off the side of the trail - I may have chickened out if they hadn't been there to show me the right footholds and lend me a hand to grab onto.
We spent the entire next day at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. One of the highlights was Miner's Castle, a sandstone formation that used to have two castle-esque turrets - now it has just one - but it is still a gorgeous sight to see, perched on the edge of Lake Superior. After the Castle we hiked around to Miner's Falls, which was even prettier than Munising Falls. What a pity that the viewing platform was at the top of a steep rocky-looking hill and we couldn't possibly climb over ... then I saw someone climb over. I can't remember who went first. Even after the first person went, I hesitated - it just didn't look do-able - but after a few moments I knew I would regret it if I didn't climb down.
The climb didn't turn out to be too bad, and it could have been ten times worse and still worth it. [Sheila pauses for several moments trying to figure out how to describe the Miner's Falls experience to her readers. A picture is worth a thousand words, so she gives up and just uploads a couple more photos.]
Later at another waterfall I decided I could not possibly follow my friends across the rushing stream since they crossed on a fallen log that looked really unsteady. Then I climbed down the bank and crossed on the unsteady log and had a great time at the top of the waterfall. Overall, some of the best moments of this trip happened off the trail. And if I hadn't been there with my adventurous friends I wouldn't have had nearly so much fun. Thanks, guys.