Apr 07-05

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: April: Apr 07-05
Rapids beginning    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Nathan Alwine
Boys will be boys    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Nathan Alwine
Towards US 141    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Nathan Alwine

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 07:13 am:

Nathan Alwine seems to be a regular at Piers Gorge, in Dickinson County. After looking at these pictures I can understand why. There are at least five different rapids (which Nate calls piers) along the hike up the gorge, each one just as scenic as the next. The area is known for some good viewing of bald eagles, osprey, common loons, and it's said that the river, which is part of the Menominee, has the fastest-moving water in Michigan. With the ice still hanging onto the edges, it's a good time of year to revert back to your childhood and spend time breaking some good size chunks off, just so you can watch it careen down the rapid moving water. Then after all that sweat producing work, you can take a break on one of the cliffs and check out the view off in the distance. Ahh... and finally, breathe that vitalizing fresh air!

By julie b., MI on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 07:16 am:

I hope that ledge they are standing on is secure!!!

By smf in troll land on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 07:22 am:

Thanks for the nice pictures - hope nobody fell in!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 07:31 am:

Great shots! Wish I could have been there to get my own. Super!

By lansing yooper on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 07:46 am:


By LZ, MI on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 08:21 am:

Now I am homesick!!!

By FLYIN on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 08:37 am:

New area of da U.P. for me to explore this summer...thanks again

By JOHN AND ANNIE KENTUCKY on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 08:57 am:

We look at the cam every day. First time leaving a note. Piers gorge is always a stop for us every time we go up. For us it is like going across the big bridge.Cant wait to get back to the Keweenaw!!!!!!!!!!!!

By LZ, MI on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 10:00 am:

If you decide to visit the area and are hungry for Italian, try Fontana's supper club. Wow!

By Joanne of white lk on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 11:02 am:

Mike of Hartland Have you ever been to these Rapids with your two friends Toby & Sam?I wonder exactly where they are.

By Joanne white lk on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 11:05 am:

Liz mi What town is Fontana's in?

By Nate, MI on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 11:31 am:

These particular rapids have 2 names. Either "4th Pier" or "Sand Portage Falls". They are located about 2 miles down the trail from the Piers Gorge Parking area. Check out http://www.americanwhitewater.org/rivers/id/2299/ for more info on this stretch of river.

Also, Fontana's is located in Iron Mountain, MI. Its on US 2 right in the downtown area.


By Jim Copper Country on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 11:36 am:

The Piers Gorge area is easily accessed via a side road off US 8 on the Michigan side of the river, about three miles south of Norway.

By julie b., MI on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 01:52 pm:

What is the origin of 'piers' for rapids? Looked it up and don't see any definition even remotely related to rapids in good ol' Websters!

By jAPEi on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 01:59 pm:



By maijaMI on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 02:05 pm:

jAPEi: whoa! what is that!?

By Taana on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 02:10 pm:

Looks like someone took a jump in the lake!

By Nate on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 02:23 pm:


The true reason for the origin of "Piers" is a bit of a mystery. I've been told that "Piers" is French for ledges. However I do not believe this to be true.

Here is the theory I subscribe to: In the logging days many logs were floated down the Menominee River to Lake Michigan where they could be easily tugged to other places. Piers Gorge was a nightmare for this process because the logs would intertwine at the the major drops and become so jumbled up that the loggers could walk out on the logs as if they were piers jutting out into the water. Since this happened at 4 major places the loggers called those places the "Piers" and they were numbered 1-4. Somewhere I have a black and white picture in an old tourisim magazine for Dickinson County that shows 3rd Pier so choked with logs that you cannot see any water. Seems reasonable to me...

By Jim Copper Country on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 02:45 pm:

The "piers" in Piers Gorge relates to some rather odd or unusual rock formations found there....sorta like little cutoff walls. There's another example of this over at Copper Falls State Park near Mellen, Wisconsin.

By Karen P, MN on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 03:26 pm:

one of the meaning of piers is "buttress". The piers at Piers Gorge jut out of the canyon walls like buttresses.

This is an area that I've visited many times. My Grandparents and some Aunts and Uncles live(d) Quinnesec and Norway.

By sur5er on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 03:40 pm:

Hey Nate,

Great pics of your 'backyard', eh. Bet you are homesick.

Glad to hear that you are safe and sound. How many more days until your feet touch Keweenaw soil?

We suspect that you may be thinking of Nate Tormala, serving in Afghanistan. Today's shots were provided by Nate Alwine. Both Nate's have wonderful collections of albums in the Pasty Cam Guest Gallery

Nate Tormala
The other Nate (and friend)

By julie b., MI on Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 08:14 pm:

Thanks everybody for all the theories on the 'piers'! Just goes to show you that once again the Yoop is unique - in word usage as well as so many other ways!

By sur5er on Friday, April 8, 2005 - 01:02 pm:

Ooops...sorry bout mixing up da Nates. :)

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