|Marquette, MI -Lake Superior|
The upper peninsula is heavily forested. The eastern portion, where I entered, is bounded on the south by Lake Michigan. The terrain is flat, sandy, and swampy. Characteristic of the whole region are large forests dominated by evergreens and birch trees.
One of the first things you notice after entering the U.P. is that you can purchase "pasties" every 100 yards. Be careful how you pronounce this! Large, doughy, meat turnovers, "pass-tees" not "paste-tees," are a regional staple. They were brought by the Cornish miners and adopted by all in the U.P.
As you move farther into the U.P., the land remains heavily forested, but the terrain starts to show gently rolling hills. To the north, it becomes more rocky. The U.P. is interspersed with numerous lakes and rivers, but be careful when you're hiking. The ticks are ferocious. I was crawling with them after hiking in the Lake Fumee Natural Area.
|Big Lake Fumee|
In the early part of the twentieth century, Ford Motor Company had an Iron Mountain Plant. In the 1920s and 30s, significant amounts of wood were being used in the construction of conventional and steel-bodied cars. According to Henry Ford in his 1926 biography, "We used about a million feet of lumber a day."
The U.P. comprises one-third of the state's land mass but only 3% of the population. This remote, cold, and beautiful place contains warm friendly people. Mining attracted the Finns, Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians. To this day there is still a large population of Finns along with the only Finnish language station in the United States.
In the following weeks, I will be posting excepts from interviews with my three interview subjects from Iron Mountain, MI.