Today I am visiting the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest city in Michigan marking 350 years.
I was totally taken back when I found out that the Soo Locks are actually on the St Marys River. Yes, I thought it connected Lake Huron and Lake Superior. I was badly mistaken.
The St Marys River actually connects Lake Huron (east) and Lake Superior (west). The reason for the Locks was the St Mary Rapids which falls 21 foot.
I felt the best way to experience the Locks was to take a tour boat that actually goes through the Locks. It cost $30.00 and the girls were content in the camper.
First thing we saw was a huge 1000′ freighter. These ships can carry up to 60,000 tons.
There are 3 Locks that are in use on the American side, the Poe Lock, the MacArthur Lock and the Davis Lock. Today we took the MacArthur Lock.
Here we are approaching the Lock.
Once inside the Lock you will notice the Lock closing behind us.
While the Lock in front of us is already closed, the water level starts to rise bringing us to the top of the locks and to the same height of Lake Superior.
The back lock remains closed and the front lock is now open for passage.
The bridge connects Sault Ste Marie, Michigan to the city of Sault Ste Marie, Canada.
Just past the bridge is the International Train Bridge. The bridge carries a single set of tracks on one of the two set of verticle lifts.
On our return trip we came through the Canadian Lock. It was much smaller and does not accommodate the big ships. On this part through the Locks the water lowered us to the same level as Lake Huron.
The history of the Soo Locks is amazing.
The Chippewa Indians who carried their canoes around the rapids to reach Lake Superior were the first settlers here. The second were European pioneers who built bigger settlements and needed bigger boats for trading.
The first Lock was built on the Canadian side but destroyed in the War of 1812. The Americans built Locks on the US side in 1853. In 1881 the Locks were transferred to the US Government giving jurisdiction to the Army Corp of Engineers who now oversee use of the Locks
Now its time to relax!