It was one of those late summer days when a few trees are thinking about changing colors but none are fully committed yet, the air still warm but the nights gaining a bite. After a long day at work I was excited to get out in the woods. I convinced Katie that today's hike would be an easy one, an easy stroll down a two-track off the Herman-Nestoria Road, and together we headed south with Logan to find No Name Falls.
I had a small issue with a waterfall called 'No Name'. After a full summer of hiking up and down rivers it was hard to distinguish what was and wan't a waterfall. Some drops, like the foot-tall Tobacco Falls, barely warrant a tick mark on a map let alone a name. Other drops, like the five impressive waterfalls of Upper Silver Falls, are each tall and unique enough to deserve different names. But a waterfall called No Name on a small, unnamed creek deep in the Herman-Nestoria Swamp? If it wasn't for the Baraga County Tourism including this in their list than No Name Falls would have fallen off my radar months ago.
We parked along the two-track south of Herman. I knew from previous visits that this track was too flooded to attempt driving down, filled with water from the same swampy creek that the falls were supposed to be draining far to the south. Katie and I headed on foot here, wading through the ankle deep puddles, giggling at how immature it felt to walk and not avoid the puddle.
The track was easy to walk down and the day was beautiful. We walked slowly, enjoying being in the woods. I kept half an eye on my hand drawn map to make sure that we were taking the correct forks (there wasn't too many divides on the track, anyways). After a half hour or so Katie started to question how long of a hike this would be. I wasn't entirely sure, since I have a nasty habit not to check mileage on my maps, yet it was obvious that we weren't making much headway.
We headed out of the woods and I drove us north past L'Anse. One spot that Katie was interested in viewing was Point Abbaye, the very tip of of the small peninsula extended beyond Aura. I still wasn't good enough with the backroads to take Indian Road or anything tricky north from Herman so we just followed the highway and Skanee Road up towards Aura.
Thanks to my road atlas Katie was able to guide us up the long, winding dirt road to the point. The drive is only about 12 miles north beyond Aura Road but it took us well over a half hour, the bumpy road and twisting route slowing us down to a slow, cautious drive. By the time we reached the parking area the sun had set, a detached red glow barely lighting up the land around us in twilight.
The path and rocks of Point Abbaye were easy to walk along in the dim light. Long, flat slabs reached out beyond the forest into the lake, a last reach east before Lake Superior swoops back in to form Huron Bay. The Huron Mountains made a bumpy line to the south, a constant invitation that I had resisted so far this year, more interested in hunting waterfalls than climbing mountain. Directly to the east the Huron Islands rose up from the water with a regular blink of light reminding us of the faithful lighthouse on the lonely set of rocks.
It was hard to leave Point Abbaye, but night was fast approaching. We held hands on the way back to the car, mostly because, you know, we were dating and stuff, but also because the path was too dark to attempt alone. Only dim outlines of trunks showed us the way back to the car.
Driving from Point Abbaye was not easy. On our way out Katie had pointed out a herd of deer near the road and now I approached every corner expecting to see one waiting to meet our bumper. Thankfully the only deer we saw in the dark were beyond the shoulders, shining eyes barely visible through the trees, and we made it back to Houghton just fine. We had a lovely evening even if we didn't find a single waterfall.