On to the Tip of the Thumb After a wet and dreary morning of exploring the outback of Michigan’s Thumb area (see the previous post), we moved north towards the tip of the peninsula for some historic lighthouse architecture. We soon arrived at one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes and were greeted with bright sunshine and blue skies. Origin of Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Located southeast of Port Austin, Michigan, Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse marks the point between lower Lake Huron to the east and Saginaw Bay to the west. The desired location for the building was on the point that bears its name at the tip of the Thumb. But practicality prevailed and instead, it was eventually sited 4.5 miles to the east overlooking Lake Huron. Before the lighthouse’s construction, ships had to navigate unaided from Fort Gratiot at the southern end of the lake, to Thunder Bay 150 miles to the north. The lakes can be very dangerous, with hurricane force winds sweeping across them in the winter months and unpredictable thunderstorms in the summer. The lighthouse was built to warn ship of a dangerous rocky reef, covered by a mere two feet of water, that juts out from the point almost two miles into the lake. This makes the name of the point, which translates to “Point of Little Boats”, make a little more sense because larger ships would be smashed on the rocks. In addition to marking the reef, the lighthouse also acts as a turning point for ships…
Considered Michigan’s answer to Arizona’s famous Horseshoe Bend, the High Rollways above the Manistee River is one of Northern Michigan’s hidden treasures.