Editor’s note: The following article is the first in the series, “Keeping up with Aida,” which will chronicle Junior Ranger Aida Frey on her journey to our national parks.
By Jim Hagerty
and Aida Frey
Thirteen-year-old Aida Frey, of Algonquin, Ill., was one step closer to her goal of visiting each of the country’s national parks when she toured Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) over the Fourth of July weekend.
“We first went to Keweenaw National Historical Park in Calumet, Mich., and met with Park Ranger Jenny Eberlein,” Frey, a Junior Ranger, said. “She was extremely nice and expressive. She taught me about the copper industry and went through my Junior Ranger Booklet with me. She is very helpful, smart, and friendly. At this time, Sarah Blakely, a reporter from TV 6 Fox Network and Dan Roblee, a writer from The Daily Mining Gazette met with us at the Visitor Center. They spent two hours interviewing, taping, and photographing my family. It was so much fun!”
Frey and her parents, Shawn and Norma, also soaked in the area’s rich mining history, making stops at the Coppertown Mining Museum and Quincy Mine Complex before heading to Munising, Mich., the site of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
“On the way to Munising, we saw a bald eagle, two sandhill cranes, and we drove in some wilderness areas to try to find moose and black bears,” Frey continued. “Unfortunately, we didn’t find any.”
The lack of black bears and moose was offset by a visit to another of the UP’s most treasured locations, Da Yooper’s Tourist Trap, in Ishpeming, Mich.
“They had some really disturbing and crazy exhibits like deer taking places of humans—driving cars and putting people on the hood of the car and a deer in an outhouse reading a magazine,” Aida said. “As we were driving, I saw the Channel 6 news station just in time to see myself on the news! I even saw the studio and the control room! We saw how huge Lake Superior is! We had such a great and fascinating day!”
Following is Aida’s travelogue from Saturday, July 5.
We got up and it was rainy, cloudy, and cold outside! We went to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Visitor Center. We met two great rangers named Amber and Pam. They gave me a National Park mug, tote bag, rubber bracelets, and a cool patch. But, the most important was three free tickets for a Lake Superior cruise! I couldn’t believe it! Then, I went outside, took the Junior Ranger pledge, and received my badge.
This is my 165 National Park and I learned that President Johnson authorized this as the first National Lakeshore. This park is 43 miles long and protects a portion of Lake Superior’s Shore line and forest areas. I am so glad they saved a pretty area!
So, the cruise took three hours and took us along the shoreline of the national park, we saw sea caves, lighthouses, beaches, and plenty of kayakers in the water! If you don’t take the cruise, it is very hard to see the cliffs because they are no roads. We then drove the entire length of the park to Sable Falls. There, we met with Ranger Ron who taught us about the black bears in Pictured Rocks. He was very friendly and gave me twp wrist bands and a brochure about bears. We then walked down and saw a very beautiful waterfall. We walked all the way down to the sandy beach. I took my shoes off and walked in and oh it was FREEZING! 😀 I found out the lake is the largest freshwater lake in the world, the deepest, and the coldest. And this explains why it was freeing in July!
On the way back, we saw two more sandhill cranes, and went to a really cool restaurant named Dogpatch. The theme is the Lil’ Abner Cartoon and the food was delicious! I had such an awesome time!
Read more about Aida HERE.