Day Six: Kitch-iti-Kipi and downtown Manistique

Waking up to a huge storm we knew Plan A for the day was most likely going to get rained out. Since it’s cooler temperatures here in the morning we take our time getting ready and packing up for the day to allow for the temperature to rise.

We had planned to rent a pontoon boat to see the Pictured Rocks up close as the best way to see them is from the water. Around 8:30am the boat rental place called to tell us there was a rain delay for the day and most likely no rentals would be leaving the dock due to the rough waters. If the water on Lake Superior was anything like the water we were witnessing outside the RV from Lake Michigan there was no doubt it would be canceled altogether.

Before heading out for the day we moved the RV to our second site, which is waterfront. We have the most amazing views from the RV (inside and out).

Site 24

Before going on can we talk about these amazing picnic tables this campground has! You may not notice anything, but given the lens I see life through I immediately noticed the overhang. They are wheelchair accessible!!!!! Michigan and Manistique Lakeshore Campground for the win!!!!

Quickly we started thinking about Plan B. Not knowing where in the Upper Peninsula we would be staying when I started pinning places on Pinterest I got pretty lucky with one pin! And funny enough when Jeff (Will’s law partner and co-owner of the Super C) found out we would be staying in Manistique he told Will about Kitch-iti-Kipi…my pin.

Kitch-iti-Kipi is one of Michigan’s natural attractions and means Big Spring. It is the largest in the state at forty feet deep and over 10,000 gallons of clear water gush per minute from the fissures in the underlying limestone. The water is always a constant 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pathway down

When you visit you board a raft (we felt like Tom Sawyer) that is steered by a huge wheel by any passenger or passengers who would like a turn turning the wheel. A large cable brings you down and then back up but someone must be turning the wheel in order for the raft to move. It took 18 minutes to cross the spring and come back. In that time 180,000 gallons of water gushed out! What?!!?

The raft
It is not a glass bottom, that was a open hole
So clear
And beautiful
Anna Cate pointing to all the trout
The water gushing up

Here are some facts about Kitch-iti-Kipi: Although it was a black hole all but hidden in a tangle of fallen trees, John I. Bellaire fell in love with the Big Spring in the early 1920s. Bellaire had come south from Seney, leaving the rip-roaring lumbering town after the white pine was gone to open a Five and Dime store in Manistique. Around the oval pool (measuring 300 feet by 175 feet) vegetation grew lush, draping over the piles of trash left by a lumber company which operated nearby. The Big Spring wasn’t too different in formation from other sink holes in the area, except that it was tapped into a fast-flowing spring. Bellaire, however, saw through the debris, envisioning the beauty of the emerald bottom of the pool. He watched the sand bubble and roll as hydrostatic pressure forced water through the narrow openings at the bottom. Bellaire could have bought the property for himself, but his vision of preserving it through public ownership prevailed. In 1926 through an arrangement with Frank Book who represented the Palms Book Land Company, Bellaire arranged for the sale of almost 90 acres (including the Big Spring) to the State of Michigan for $10. Deed stipulations called for the property to be forever used as a public park, bearing the name Palms Book State Park. Kitch-iti-kipi is said to have many meanings in the Chippewa language-The Great Water; The Blue Sky I See; The Roaring, Bubbling Spring. Others called it the Sound of Thunder and Drum Water, even though the quiet is eerie.

Kitch-iti-Kipi is 100% handicap accessible and wheelchair accessible which is always refreshing.

We timed visiting Palms Book State Park perfectly as we waited less than five minutes to board the raft and when we got off the raft the line was tripled in size! As we were walking back to the car we all commented on how the weather was warming up and what a bummer it was the boat couldn’t happen; however while the weather was warmer the water was still rough.

Lunch time was approaching so we decided to go into downtown to get a bite to eat before figuring out the rest of the day. Downtown Manistique reminded all of us of a combination between Black Mountain, North Carolina and Williams, Arizona. We stopped at this cute restaurant Tap 21 and had a great lunch. Anna Cate and I split fish tacos, Betsie had a BLT on Texas Toast, Eli pork nachos on homemade chips and Will a bbq chicken sandwich. After lunch we went into a few shops and loved two, The Mustard Seed and Bostique.

Signs in our booth
Our booths felt like little pods
Will and Betsie’s lunch
Anna Cate, Em and Eli’s lunch
Hilarious sign in the restroom

During lunch we decided a low key afternoon is what everyone needed and wanted. We booked a cruise to Picture Rocks for Friday knowing the weather should be better, although the temperature will be cooler. If for some reason it gets cancelled we can still visit the National Park through a scenic drive. Instead of driving out to this area twice we decided to wait for all it till Friday. With this I knew we would be arriving to our next campsite later (and I would be driving the car) so I am very thankful I still have one dinner frozen and prepped when we arrive!

The kids and I brought Will back to the RV to work and we went to a local ice cream place, Dairy Kreme. It was the best! They had a drive thru, dairy free soft serve and it was nine dollars for four items!!!! Eli had a chocolate malt and the girls and I had strawberry dole whip soft serve.

Since it had warmed up downtown which is only one mile from our campsite we thought for sure it would be warm by the RV. Negative. It must feel 20 degrees cooler by the water! Even though we are in a lake we feel like we are looking out at the ocean as the waves are intense!

Back at the RV after ice cream Eli had some down time, Betsie and Anna Cate took a nap, Will held office hours and I took a shower to wash my hair which was long overdue! While everyone was still napping Will and I took Pawley for a walk before I started cooking dinner.

Will’s “office” with a view
View from the sofa

While it’s chilly outside we had some windows open to bring the campfire smells inside. You really can’t get any better views than the ones we have here! Making dinner inside was such a joy with the sounds of the waves crashing and the smell of the campfire. I have to say I can’t believe how many people are camping in tents in this weather! Clearly I am more of a glamping type of girl.

Listen to the waves
View from the kitchen

For dinner we had a pork tenderloin in the air fryer, edamame, fruit salad and an apple crisp with ice cream. It was delicious!

Today was a perfect day of activity and down time. It’s 10:15 and everyone is still up, the fire is still going and the sound of the waves will put us all to sleep.

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