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      Hike Up Sugarloaf Before It was Called Sugarloaf

      Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was the first Indian Agent of the Lake Superior region. He was also part of the first permanent American settlement in the Upper Peninsula at Sault Ste. Marie. A prolific writer with a penchant for exploring, Schoolcraft made five voyages across the length of Lake Superior during his 19-year tenure in the region.

      On July 1, 1831, Schoolcraft, along with a team of voyageurs, soldiers and scientists stopped to camp at the Dead River near present-day Marquette after an all-day paddle in canoes from Grand Island. In the Marquette area the party "examined the bay behind this peninsula." The bay is now called Middle Bay and the peninsula Presque Isle. He observed that the bay "appeared to be capable of admitting large vessels." It never did become a harbor owing to its exposure to northwest gales. The lee side of Presque Isle, protected from the northwest wind, eventually became a docking place for vessels; the Upper Harbor still serves as Marquette's industrial dock today.

      Schoolcraft and his companions climbed the rock knob the Indians called "Totosh" (Chippewa for breast, now Sugarloaf). As he gazed upon the landscape, Schoolcraft noted "the lower saddle-shaped mountain...named "The Cradle Top" (now Hogsback) by local Indians. He noted that the granite hills to the west reminded him of "the rolling appearance of the sea in violent motion." The vista from Sugarloaf looking west has not changed all that much in the 180 years since Schoolcraft made his observation. Probably around the turn of the 20th century the granite hills would have looked bare because of clear cutting. However, in the intervening years, the forest has recovered.