Gone Ahead

 Tahquamenon Falls Upper Falls.

“On that far shore, your journey o’er, than look you out for me.” — Alice Parker, O Happy Souls

One of my best memories from when I was a young teen come from a wonderful day spent wading through amber waters of the incredible Tahquamenon Falls. The upper falls are breathtakingly beautiful, more than 200 feet across with a drop of around 48 feet. The lower falls are beautiful as well, but not quite as picturesque.

I’ve been there twice, but the first trip is the one that left an indelible memory of this magnificent natural wonder. I made the trip with my mom, my sister Dorothy and Dorothy’s German friend, Eva. We spent hours exploring the park, most of them wandering about the tiny falls that precede the upper falls. It’s an area where the Tahquamenon River runs wide, and shallow, spreading across a wide shelf of rock as it gradually drops in a series of small steps over embankments that are only a few inches tall each. Although this area was no longer open to the public on my second trip in the 1980s back to Tahquamenon, in the late 1960s we hiked in following a well-maintained easy trail. Once there we waded through this entire area of the river, studying the rock formations while the warm amber water flowed around our ankles looking like rich maple syrup.

It remains one of the most beautiful peaceful experiences of my life.

I hope heaven’s like that.

Dorothy Dawn Michalek, September 7, 1946 – February 27, 2007. Gone ahead. Never forgotten.