Outside In Marquette, Icy Plunges And Beautiful Sunsets

Outside In Marquette, Icy Plunges And Beautiful Sunsets

One of the main draws that led me to choosing Marquette for my #MittenTrip was the opportunity to be surrounded by a plethora of outdoor adventure opportunities. I knew of the man-made sights that the city boasted, like the Lower Harbor Ore Docks and the Superior Dome on Northern Michigan’s campus, but I personally wanted to see what Presque Isle Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, Wetmore Landing and the Black Rocks had to offer.

Lighthouse - #MittenTrip Marquette - The Awesome Mitten
Photo by John Kalmar.

Based simply off of a map of Marquette, Presque Isle Park seemed like the ideal location to take in the sunset to cap off our first night in the city. We made the 10-minute drive from the Landmark Inn to Presque Isle Park, following the aptly titled Lake Shore Boulevard along the lakeshore. We walked out on the pier and toward the Presque Isle Pier light, turning every few seconds to catch the fiery red sunset that was appearing just over the horizon. While on the pier, we struck up a conversation with a local who gave us more than a few minutes of her time to tell us the must-see places during our Saturday. She told us, “I hope you enjoy your stay,” several times, contributing to the positive stereotype of Yoopers being outgoing and friendly folk.

Lake Superior Sunset - #MittenTrip Marquette - The Awesome Mitten
Photo by Kale Davidoff.

The real highlight of the evening trip to Presque Isle was when we hopped back in the car and navigated the windy and wooded trail around the island. Without a destination in mind, we pulled off to the side of the road to see the colorful and ever-changing-by-the-minute sunset before our eyes. What I thought would be a short stop turned into an hour long overlook of the bay. It was one of the most picturesque sunsets I’ve seen, and hands down, my favorite over Lake Superior.

Black Rocks at Presque Isle Park - #MittenTrip Marquette - The Awesome Mitten
Black Rocks at Presque Isle Park. Photo by John Kalmar.

We had heard about cliff diving at Black Rocks, but didn’t realize that we had driven right past them during our Friday sunset adventure. In addition to the upper 80s temperatures, there were a couple of wedding parties taking photos at Presque Isle, which added to the traffic and crowds around the island. We parked short of the Black Rocks and decided to follow a trail through the woods and see if it would lead us closer. After emerging from the brush, we weren’t closer to our destination, but we were greeted with a gorgeous view of the rocks and lakeshore. Battling black flies, we took the opportunity to take in the views and capture some photos before hiking back into the woods for an up close and personal view of the rocks.

Black Rocks - #MittenTrip - Marquette - The Awesome Mitten
Jumping off of Black Rocks. Phot by Kale Davidoff.

I’ve had a couple of low-key “cliff diving” experiences before—both at about 30 feet—but I still had my reservations about taking the plunge into the chilly Superior. Cliff goers lined the edges of the rocks, jumping at sporadic intervals and then climbing back up for more. After observing enough of these jumpers with a 100% survival rate, I decided it was time to join in on the fun. Nearing the edge was the easy part—it’s all about clearing your mind and taking that literal leap of faith. After I plunged into the waters and surfaced, my friend yelled toward me, “How was it?” It was a real rush—the only thing that kept me from answering was the icy waters made my chest feel as if I had just done a shot of whiskey. I quickly regained feeling in my lungs and replied to take the plunge—the water’s great. I enjoyed it so much that I even made a second jump. The 100% survival rate was still intact.

What other outdoor activities do you enjoy in Marquette for our next #MittenTrip to the area?

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Born in Detroit, raised in Grand Rapids and schooled in East Lansing, I'm a Michigander, through and through. After receiving my B.A. in journalism with a specialization in graphic design from Michigan State University in 2011, I ventured outside the comfy confines of the Mitten to take a newspaper job in Louisville, Kentucky. After a bourbon and KFC fueled year in the fake south, the pull of the Great Lakes was too strong to keep me away, and I soon returned home. While West Michigan will always be home, I'm enjoying my second stint as a metro Detroiter. Despite being more than a little rough around the edges, I'm continually drawn to and amazed by the city of Detroit. The art, architecture and history of this city is almost unlike any other place in the world. Detroit City really is the place to be.