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smooth pebbles with concentric rings. Also, give yourself plenty of time to explore the Grand Sable Dunes. The giant sandlot is ideal for romping.


CAMPING DETAILS: Spaced every two to five miles along the trail are 12 hike-in campgrounds and seven group sites. Permits are required, and you can get them at visitor centers in Munising (year-round) and Grand Marais (from Memorial Day to Labor Day). But all backcountry campsites are available for advance reservations. The park also has three rustic drive-in campgrounds.


AQUATIC DETAILS: Beaver Lake, Little Beaver Lake, and Grand Sable Lake are favorites for kayakers and canoe- ists. Only very experienced paddlers should venture out on Lake Superior, which can be extremely rough and often unpredictable. If you choose to brave the challenge and plan to


stay overnight, backcountry camping permits are required.


OF INTEREST: Lake Superior may seem benign on a calm day, but the shoreline between Munising and Grand Marais has been dubbed “the graveyard coast” because of the numerous ships that rest beneath the surface of the water here.


WHEN TO GO: Plan now! Late summer and autumn are ideal for a Pictured Rocks visit. People and bugs have all but disappeared, and fall colors are beginning or at their peak.


LOCAL WISDOM: The proximity of Lake Superior moderates the climate, but sudden storms can develop year-round, and hypothermia is always a threat. Bring rain gear and layers of warm clothing. If you camp in late summer or fall, be sure to walk out to the lake before turning in at night. The open


vista to the north often provides glori- ous views of the northern lights.


GETTING THERE: Pictured Rocks can be reached at its western end by fol- lowing highways M-28 and M-94 to Munising. State highway M-77 leads to Grand Marais on the east.


RESOURCES: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, 906-387-3700, nps.gov/piro. Trail maps are available at both visitor centers. Hikers can take a shuttle bus to the starting point and hike back to their vehicle. For a schedule, reser- vations, fee information, and more, contact: 906-387-4845, altranbus.com/ backpack.html. ¿


An avid backpacker and paddler, LARRY RICE resides in Buena Vista, Colo., and is a former contributing editor for Backpacker and Canoe & Kayak magazines.


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