We have all heard of the legendary giant American logger, Paul Bunyan. If you haven’t, you should have someone fill you in, since Paul is the one who dug Lake Michigan as a drinking hole for his giant ox, Babe.
If you feel particularly inclined to pay Paul and Babe homage, as gratitude for such a beautiful body of fresh water, I would recommend you take a pilgrimage to the lovely St. Ignace, journey three miles north, and exit off of I-75, prepared to be wowed.
At first glance, Paul Bunyan and his trusty sidekick appear larger than life. And then you look up and see Castle Rock.
Castle Rock, an unexpected geological jetty, rises nearly 200 feet above water level, offering a panoramic view of up to twenty miles worth of Lake Huron, Mackinac Island and beautiful Upper Peninsula nature, untouched by Paul Bunyan’s hasty axe.
The Ojibwa Tribe used it as a look-out, and called it “Pontiac’s Look-out,” until one St. Ignace photographer, Clarence Eby, reopened it for tourists in 1929 as Castle Rock.
Now augmented by a unique gift shop, it’s a great destination, or unexpected stop. The hike up is a guaranteed way to make your restless children pass out in the car, or just stretch your own legs while taking in unreal beauty. Even though the trail isn’t handicap accessible, the gift shop is, and leashed pets are welcomed to stretch their legs too!
Castle Rock is currently run by Clarence Eby’s grandson, Mark, a member of the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce, and a well-known family man in the community. The attraction is open seven days a week, May through October from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (and later on summer nights), and comes heartily recommended at all times of the year, but particularly during color season.
If, for some reason, you’re unimpressed by the view, at least you can get a picture with Paul and Babe, just so you can tell people you know the man who made Lake Michigan.
But if you, like the generations before you, fall in love with the scenery, then pass it on, so that people from all over can enjoy Northern Michigan’s Castle Rock.
~ Lyndsay Israel, Feature Writer