Sunday, June 5, 2022

When in Michigan, You Must Climb a Lighthouse!

I got one last roadschooling field trip with my babies. 

One last adventure incorporated into two kids' homeschool plans. 

One last time earning two Girl Scout badges (Lighthouses of Michigan) and two Girl Scout fun patches (Discover Michigan) by studying for what we'd be sightseeing.

Essentially, one last trotting out of the key word "homeschool" to justify whisking my girls away with me to make magical memories while we let Matt pretend like he has to work, thereby justifying staying home and not doing annoying things like climbing the tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes that can be climbed by the public.

It is so tall, and yet so climbable!

Alas for its storied climbability, for Syd, the tallest of us, was looking down to watch her feet on those terrifyingly narrow and see-through stairs, and did not notice that the ceiling essentially came down towards those stairs at the top, meaning you had to duck quite low to make it out onto the landing.

She did not duck, and absolutely slammed the top of her head into the ceiling. I'm feeling VERY lucky that she didn't lose consciousness and tumble backwards down those stairs, but man, she hit her head hard. She was hurting even more the next day, the poor kid, like she'd been in a car crash or something. It seriously sucked.

For those of us short enough to not knock ourselves into a concussion at the top of the steps, the view was marvelous and well worth the 113-foot climb:

Here's the lantern room. You can see the original Fresnel lens that used to be visible for over 25 miles away on display inside the light keeper's house:

The light keeper's house also holds some historic ship artifacts:

There's supposed to be a nearby shipwreck that's often visible from shore, so we drove down that little dirt road that you can see in my vista shot, above, and headed out for a hike on what the children soon deemed Spider Beach, Part One:

The shore was so rocky and amazing, paved in a billion interesting rocks and fossils. And underneath every single rock was a spider. Spiders sensed us coming and would skitter between rocks in our path. When we paused to look around, spiders scuttled along on their merry ways around us, emerging from under one rock and scooting under another. 

Pick up a rock, find a spider. Look around, see spiders. Dare to take a beach nap, and you'd surely wake up with your ears full of spiders.

But those spiders must do great maintenance work--look how shallow and clear the water is!

We did not spy the shipwreck, which I was super bummed about and the kids pretty much had to lock arms with me and march me back to the car to keep me from walking just five more spider-lengths to see if maybe the shipwreck was around just one last spider-boulder, but I guess that's what future trips to Michigan will be for. 

Instead, we tiptoed between the spiders back to the car, then drove to the OLD Presque Isle Lighthouse!

This one is only 30 feet tall, and yet the view is even more marvelous:

The Old Presque Lighthouse even has its Fresnel lens in place!

Someone in particular, however, could not be convinced of the marvels of the top walkway, not even after a good pilfering through my first aid kit for Ibuprofen. She preferred the view from the other end of the lighthouse:

Probably just as well for my darling who does not love heights, because this staircase was somehow even steeper than the last:

The beach here was even lovelier, even shallower and more interestingly rocky, though still quite chock-full of spiders:

The kids both refused to put their noses up against a spider's, the better to identify it in our nature guidebook, and therefore they both failed the Practical Arachnology component of their Discover Michigan fun patches, but they did find other lovely natural wonders to look at:

Gneiss rock!

I even got Syd's picture with the definitely haunted statue of Patrick Garrity, Sr., a former light keeper who's now lighthouse famous, so we'll have a lot of fun when he comes crawling out of the photo one night and, I don't know, shines bright lights into our sleeping faces?

Anyway, that's a problem for another time. Now, on to Mackinac Island!

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