The Toonerville Trolley people offer the return train ride as a separate 2-hour-45-minute excursion. But the real point of the narrow gauge line is transportation to the Tahquamenon River, at a point otherwise not easily accessible by vehicle, for boarding a tour boat for the 21-mile journey down the river to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. And that makes a day trip of it.
|The Toonerville Trolley, which follows the path of a 19th-century logging road, itself dates from the 1920s and takes its name from the cartoon created by Fontaine Fox. (See "The Real Toonerville Trolley" from the February 1938 Railroad Magazine.) |
Numbered plaques along the route allow riders to identify trees and shrubs from the list each one receives upon boarding. My trouble (and everyone else's, too) was seeing the numbers, as the train bounced along at 15 or so miles per hour, in time to check the list. Tree #2 is a Jack Pine. Some of the ones I was too late to photograph were Black Spruce (#1), Bigtooth Aspen (#4), Swamp Maple (#6), Skunk Spruce (#8), and Balm-of-Gilead (#10).
We were told to be on the look-out for eagles and hawks, bear and deer. But the day was cold with a bit of rain, which must had made the wild creatures seek shelter -- certainly they apparently felt no need to make themselves known to a trainload of tourists.
Once on the river boat -- the one I boarded was named Hiawatha -- I settled down to watch the scenery through a rain-smeared window, venturing out occasionlly simply because I didn't want to "waste" opportunities to see what was to be seen. Fortunately, the rain fled before too very long and, though the sun never assumed complete control, it became possible to remain outside on the boat's upper deck.
most may be reached only by boat.
perhaps the wildlife are forced to share it with humans?