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Gay Stamp Sands

The stamp sands at Gay are what's left of the copper ore that was processed at the nearby Mohawk Stamp Mill. In the early 1900's, the Mohawk Mining Company built the stamp mill to process ore from their mines to the northwest. After the copper was liberated from the ore, the left over stamp sands were dumped and piled up in Lake Superior. Now over a century later they've migrated miles to the southwest as lake currents move them. Because of this and the toxins found in the sands, some people get pretty riled up about them.

The sands beach extends about 5 miles from the center of Traverse Bay to Gay. Towards the upper limit of the sands are the remains of the Mohawk Mill (to the northwest, see above). Should be pretty obvious due to the huge looming smokestack. Following the woods to the southwest there's some cool ruins too. There's a long tunnel that runs along the surface of the sands too that are kind of cool to climb through.

This is a pretty cool place to visit for bonfires and maybe camping. Most of all if you have dirt bikes or ATVs, this is a huge spot locals come to rip up and down the beach and berms. Just look out for steep drops, especially towards the big lake (above).

To get here from Houghton, head north across the bridge and turn left onto M-26. Continue till you get to Lake Linden and turn right onto 9th Street. Drive 0.6 miles and turn left onto Traprock Valley Road. Drive 1.5 miles and turn right onto Gay Road. Drive about 10 miles and turn right onto Gay Park Road. Continue 0.6 miles and turn left. You can park here if you're worried about getting stuck or drive onto the sands. There are some more packed down road-like spots that are usually fine for driving. You might also be able to park at the gate northeast of the mill but some locals don't like people parking on the roads to get to the sands for whatever reason.

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