Deep in the forests of the Huron Mountains in the northwest Upper Peninsula is a huge gash in the solid rock terrain. It was created in the 1890s to run the Iron Range and Huron Bay Railroad from Champion to an ore dock near Skanee. A group of investors in the Detroit area thought they could make a fortune on hauling iron ore by train from a mine near champion. They spent about two million dollars and employed 1500 men building a railroad and ore dock. By the time it was completed the mine had stopped producing iron ore and the railroad was no longer needed. Shortly after the railroad was sold for about $100,000 and the tracks were removed and used downstate.
The Huron Bay Peshekee Grade Road from US-41 will take you near the famed rock cut. The road follows along the Peshekee River and constructed using part of the old railroad grade. It is not a trip for the faint of heart. It is about 20 miles of rough road back into the wilderness. When I got the rock cut it was pouring rain and the mosquitoes were eating me alive. I think I know how Percy Fawcett felt looking for the lost city in the jungle in one of my favorite books The Lost City Of Z. Although it was a long and rough trip back to the rock cut, it was one of the most impressive things I have seen in Michigan. I can only imagine what kind of hell the men endured to create it only to never be used.
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