Wednesday, January 18, 2017



Located deep in Zaleski Forest in Ohio near Lake Hope State Park, the Moonville Tunnel is all that remains from a small mining town that existed in the late 1850s. The Moonville Tunnel lies just across Raccoon Creek.

After getting camp set up we were running out of daylight fast. Everybody was up for a run over to the tunnel to finish the day before relaxing around the campfire. I warned Scott though, about going there after dark and that we may end up in that very situation - the tunnel is after all haunted !!!

Off we went anyway. The tunnel is not far from our camp, just down to the first road called Wheelabout and hang a left. Stay to the left as the road branches and it becomes a small gravel road through a fantastic forest. After crossing a small one lane bridge you arrive at an area that you can park in, right where the rail trail is now. The tracks have been removed.


The bridge and rail crossing the creek is gone, so you have to climb down the side of the embankment and then navigate some rocks across Raccoon creek to keep from getting wet.
Then climb the other side and after a short walk you arrive at the tunnel.


You can still make out the MOONVILLE in the stonework above the archway.


There are several legends and ghost stories surrounding Moonville Tunnel.

 The first story is the most popular and familiar in relation to the tunnel.

- On a dark night in the late 1800s, a brakeman was killed by a train. The brakeman was drunk after playing cards with some others and decided to walk through the tunnel to either get back to his home or his post. A train approached the tunnel and the brakeman attempted to stop the oncoming train by swinging his lantern back and forth.

 His attempt did not work and the brakeman was hit by the train, decapitating him.

 His ghost is said to haunt the tunnel, frantically swinging his lantern back and forth for eternity.

 In fact, the railroad had to install a signal at Moonville in 1981 because so many trains were going into emergency mode when they saw the ghostly lantern frantically waving. Wokers were informed not to pay attention to any lantern or flashlight signals and only use the signal.


The second legend involves a young lady who was going to visit her lover in Moonville in 1905.

She was struck and killed by a train as she crossed the train trestle that spanned Raccoon Creek.

Her ghost is said to roam the old train trestle looking for her head.

Since the trestle is no longer there, we are not too sure where she would haunt today. Perhaps she floats along where the trestle used to be, but there have been no reports of such activity.

Some of this grafitti I photographed must pertain to the girl ghost.




The oldest of the legends claims that a conductor was having an affair with an engineer's wife.

 This enraged the engineer, so as they were going through Moonville, he stopped the train and asked the conductor to check a brake line underneath the train.

 When the conductor crawled under the railcar, the engineer kicked the throttle causing the train to lurch forward.

 The conductor was killed instantly.

Another version of the story states the conductor accidentally fell from the train.

In either case, the conductor's ghost has been sighted since the 1890s.


There were several other deaths at or near Moonville over the years.

 One man who was involved in a fight at a local saloon was attacked on his way home along the tracks. He was left to die on the tracks close to the tunnel. His body wasn't found until the follow morning after having been run over by several trains.

 Another man named Charles Ferguson waited for a train to pass before he crossed the tracks. Little did he know some of the train's cars had somehow uncoupled. He was struck and killed by the second half of the train.

The last death was in 1986 when a 10-year-old girl was struck by a CSX train on the trestle that crosses Raccoon Creek.


A large stone in the wall with a repair date.


I'm not liking this - it's getting dark fast !! This place will give you the chills.


Wait a minute, If there are only 3 of us, and I am taking a picture of the other two, what is that light at the other end of the tunnel !!


We are outta here !!

Oh no - look at Scott's eyes, they look glazed over like a zombie.


I think the old man's spirit may have got in Scott's head - or penetrated his soul.



Lying at the furthest point of Old Mission Peninsula is - you guessed it - Old Mission Point Lighthouse.

Mission Point Lighthouse has been a Traverse City and Old Mission Peninsula icon for decades.

Located at the end of a picturesque drive along M-37 through cherry orchards and vineyards, Mission Point Lighthouse stands as a classic piece of Michigan history.

 While it no longer guides mariners through West Grand Traverse Bay as it did from September 10, 1870 until it was decommissioned in 1933, Mission Point Lighthouse now offers visitors a peek into what life was like around the turn of the century for lighthouse keepers and for others who lived and worked in the area at the time.


This lighthouse has a unique feature in that the water is very shallow out front and there are many sporadic rocks dotting the surface of the bay giving it a special effect.


Another bonus to visiting lighthouses (similar to National Parks) is stamp collecting. Most of them have a rubber stamp and many are sharp looking. A $1.00 donation is recommended. Passport books specifically for this are offered, but I prefer to have my travel journal stamped, thereby combining some writing along with the random stamp. Something I picked up at Barnes and Noble.
This Lighthouse stamp was indeed interesting. It even had the 45th parallel line incorporated in it.


Michigan Sand Dunes

The glaciers left behind an ideal setting for building sand dunes: a sandy coast on the windward side of Lake Michigan.Prevailing westerly winds blowing across the lake build two kinds of dunes in Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Beach dunes develop on low-lying shores of Lake Michigan.Their main ingrediant is beach sand.

The Aral Dunes, along Platte Bay's north shore, are good examples of beach dunes.

Perched dunes, on the other hand, sit high above the shore on Plateaus.

Glacial sands atop these surfaces supplied material for these dunes.

The Sleeping Bear dune of Anishinaabek Indian legend is a perched dune.


Some dunes migrate, pushed by the wind.

Sometimes shifting sands bury trees.

As the dunes move on, ghost forests of dead trees are exposed, stark reminders of the dunes' passing.

Not even humans have escaped the influence of windblown sand.

U.S.Coast Guard buildings now in Glen Haven had to be moved from Sleeping Bear Point in 1931 because migrating dunes threatened to cover them.

Beachgrass and sand cherry are among the first plants to grow on newly built dunes.

They play an important role in dune development by acting as obstacles that slow sand laden wind and force it to drop its load.

Their roots hold sand in place and stabilize dunes.

But strong winds can strip plants from a dune and carve out a bowl-shaped blowout.


Long ago, in the land that is now Wisconsin, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire.

They swam and swam, but soon the cubs tired and lagged far behind.

 Mother bear finally reached the opposite shore and climbed to the top of a bluff to watch and wait for her offspring.

But the cubs drowned.

Today "Sleeping Bear," a solitary dune in Michigan overlooking Lake Michigan, marks the spot where mother bear waited.

Her lost cubs are the two Manitou islands.

-Anishinaabek Indian Legend



Cream City brick - Named for the city where it was made, Milwaukee became synonymous with cream colored brick. The red lacustrine clay turned to a pleasant shade of yellow after firing, and Milwaukee's large amount of brick structures soon led to the Cream City nickname.

Another hard to reach lighthouse. Why ? First of all - it is all the way up at the very far tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior. That is 650 miles, one way, from Detroit. Imagine that - you ride for 650 miles and never even leave the state of Michigan. For comparisons sake, the Smoky Mountains are no further away.

Secondly - you can only reach the lighthouse by boat; the light is actually on state-park property, but since there is no public access road, you can only reach it by a chartered boat.

That being the case, It almost didn't happen. I'd only be in Copper Harbor for the one night, so I promptly rode up to the gift shop / boat dock, to inquire about a ticket for the sunset lighthouse tour.

They informed me there was a 4 person minimum required for the boat to launch, but that a few people had called expressing interest and were hoping to make the departure time.

The captain, the shop keeper, and I hung around waiting and wondering.

We waited ... and waited .... it wasn't looking good. With just a few minutes to spare before all hope was lost, a handful of customers showed up - we were going for a boat ride !

The captain was a playful type with a big sense of humor. He was from Ohio and ran these tours out of his old, but pristine, Vietnam-era MK-10 boat from 1974. An impressive vessel and built like a tank. 

It was a beautiful night and a wave of relief came over me once under way. Who knows if I will make it back up here. Would have been disappointed if not given the chance to reach the lighthouse.


It is a short ride; maybe a mile or two. Once ashore, our first stop was the old light keepers quarters; the old quarters is the oldest structure on Lake Superior - dating back to 1846.

The old light keepers quarters had some interesting features. Besides a lot of historic information on the walls, there were also a couple of fireplaces in tact. One was a rough looking cobblestone structure that looked to be an after-thought, the other was built-in and had an iron swing arm crafted alongside the opening to hold a pot for cooking.

Another feature that caught my eye was a cut-out section of the floor. It was covered with plexi-glass allowing you a view of the foundation and crawl space.

On to the lighthouse itself. It also had various rooms and office areas that were still furnished with original period correct items. The tour guide (captain) pointed out an elegant free-standing wood stove that was valued in the vicinity of $30,000.

Dusk was starting to creep in. It was time to get back on the water.

We all climbed aboard the ship, with our sights set on catching an epic sunset across the waters of Lake Superior.

The captain took his time, giving us our money's worth. He circled around a few times allowing us to observe the lighthouse activate and - light up - as the darkness began to fall. It was an excellent night overall. The conditions were fair, but not perfect.

 The setting sun was gorgeous right up until the final moments, when it broke the water. There was a layer of haze just above the water line, which detracted ever so slightly from the clarity, before the sun bid us it's final farewell.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Au Sable Light Station

In this modern world we live in, there are only so many remote lighthouses in existence. One of which is situated along the banks of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

In order to reach the Au Sable Light Station, a four mile round trip hike, from the log slide overlook, must be made through the forest to Au Sable Point.

As usual, I was torn whether or not to allocate the time necessary to make the journey. I'm always trying to condense a month's worth of activities into a handful of days, and was enroute to Copper Harbor. After making it this far, I had to make the trek to the lighthouse.

The trail there was incredible. It was a small but well worn footpath traversing the gently rolling terrain, as I transitioned from the dunes to the lighthouse, along this finger of land - protruding out into the waters.

Along the way there were sections of boardwalk necessitated by boggy areas. Occasionally the forest floor would disappear under a vivid green blanket of wild ferns.

As a bonus, the trail would intermittently break out to the edge of the great lake's shoreline. Rewarding you with a remote pebble beach. It felt as if I was the only human being on earth.

Eventually, the light tower popped into view and loomed above - as I stepped out of the forest.

This light tower was built in 1873-1874. The base of the tower is 16 feet wide and it is 87 feet tall.

Tours are offered at this light during certain hours, allowing you to climb the tower. They also have passport stamps available if you are a collector.

Monday, January 16, 2017



" The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

" We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

" Let no man pull you low enough to hate him."

" Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."

" Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness."