Faith and I were planning an epic adventure on Sunday, a trip back to the Yellow Dog Plains and beyond, so Katie and I decided to take things easy on Saturday. It was late in the afternoon when we took Logan with us down to L'Anse, driving south through beautiful fall colors. I turned east down Dynamite Road just past Hilltop. It was a cool but sunny day, the leaves really hitting their stride in the highlands around Arvon, and I had big hopes for today's trip.
Middle Silver Falls was the last waterfall on Silver River that Katie hadn't been to yet. We had visited the lower Silver Falls several times and even been to (most) of Upper Silver Falls together, but not the middle ones. When we arrived at the gate for Dakota Farm Road we found it open so I drove us into the gravel pit near the river, parking near a towering pile of soft dirt.
We headed over to the river together. As soon as Katie saw the steep bank, though, she bailed. Our definition of an 'easy' hike tends to differ a lot and she was not up for the steep descent over slick leaves. I ventured down quickly to the riverside, catching a few quick glimpses of the river before we turned back. We had other stops to make today, anyways. Before we left the area Logan and raced to the top of the tall pile of dirt, unable to resist the fun climb and views from the sandy peak.
The last time I was driving through this area I was dealing with a heavy summer downpour, soaked to the skin and skidding slowly on a muddy, unfamiliar Arvon Road. I wasn't really keeping a close eye out for side adventures. Today we had the window open and were cruising through the gorgeous autumn lighting. When we reached Slate River (right where the main road turns away from the slate pits) we heard the sound of falling water crashing through the trees. I knew that Black Slate Falls, our next stop, was less than a mile down the road. Curious I pulled off at a small parking spot, wondering if there were more waterfalls this far upstream.
The small drops of Black Slate Falls continue upstream, almost a mile and a half around a few bends, to where we had parked today. They were pretty, if small, and we climbed the flat slabs of slate that reached across the river downstream. The river wound and dropped around the slabs, forming dozens of tiny stepping chutes. We spent a good amount of time here, enjoying the river and leaves, relaxing a bit in the pretty scene.
After hopping around the boulders and cool waters we reluctantly headed out and drove down to the wooden bridge. Both Quartzite and Black Slate Falls are here, one on each side of the bridge, and we chose to go to Quartzite first. Hand in hand we meandered downstream through bright leaves and a cedar forest to the picturesque drop. The small falls, wide and smooth pool, and thick trees surrounding the spot makes for a ridiculous spot. It was a scen from a painting.
After a few photos of the sliding waterfall and bowl we headed back to the car. We stayed near the bridge for Black Slate Falls, just peering at the falls from the bridge, before jumping back in the car. Hungry by now we stopped in L'Anse for a quick dinner before heading back to Houghton. There was no new lands explored today, no new waterfalls to check off, though it was fun to share these spots with Katie on such a perfect autumn day.