Swimming All Summer Long

All Summer Long in Northern Michigan, photo by Craig’s Obsession

CBS Chicago reports that after today, it’s illegal to swim in Lake Michigan until next May, and violations are subject to a $500 fine!

According to Chapter 7 of the Chicago Park District code: “Entering or remaining in the water at [Chicago Park District] beaches shall be permitted only during the bathing season.” The part district does have the authority to extend the season.

As most folks who live along the Great Lakes know, September typically offers warmer water and better swimming than June, so on behalf of the State of Michigan, let me extend an invitation to our oppressed Windy City brethren to enjoy the beaches of Michigan this fall!

View Craig’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Milky Way and Stars over Ludington Lighthouse

Milky Way and Stars over Ludington Lighthouse, photo by Craig

Craig writes:

The beacon shines brightly from both the North Breakwater Lighthouse and the South Breakwater Light in Ludington Michigan at night. The Milky Way and other stars shine brightly on this Lake Michigan scene.

View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Many (many) more Michigan lighthouses and more night shots on Michigan in Pictures!

Beach House 2

Beach House 2, photo by Lori Hernandez

Amy Arnold has a cool feature on the West Michigan Pike called Highway to History at Seeking Michigan that says (in part):

You may know it as old M-11, old US 31, the Red Arrow Highway or the Blue Star Highway – all names for a road that was originally called the West Michigan Pike, the first continuous concrete highway in West Michigan. Begun in 1911 as part of a strategy to bring auto tourists from Chicago to Michigan, the road was completed in 1922 and ran from New Buffalo to Mackinaw City.

…In the 1920s, an effort to create a series of connected, safe places for auto travelers to stay resulted in the development of a series of parks along the route, including seven state parks between New Buffalo and Ludington. During the Depression, Ludington State Park was the first state park in Michigan to be constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and was a showplace for the National Park Service program. The West Michigan Pike was also important in Michigan’s early conservation history. Much of Michigan’s land had been clear cut and abandoned by the lumber industry. The state incorporated highway beautification and reforestation as part of its work to create good roads in Michigan.

Read more at Seeking Michigan, and you can also check out Amy’s historical study of architectural resources along the West Michigan Pike at Michigan Beach Towns. If you’d like to retrace the route, here’s an old flyer with the West Michigan Pike route.

Also, they note that there’s an exhibit titled Yesterday on the West Michigan Pike: Photographs by Vincent J. Musi, that shows the noted National Geographic photographers photos taken along the Pike in 2008. View some right here.

View Lori’s photo background bigtacular and see more in her Ludington State Park slideshow.

More beach wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Big Sable Point from 2,000 feet

Big Sable Point from 2,000 feet, photo by Innerspacealien

The Detroit Free Press recently had a fun article by Ziati Meyer titled Michigan Lighthouse Trivia that related:

LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS: The deaths of 48 people in one year prompted the building of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The stretch of water between Big Sable Point and Ludington saw 12 shipwrecks in 1855, so Congress was asked to send money to help. The result — after a Civil War delay — was a $35,000 lighthouse to help ships navigate that area of Lake Michigan

Read on for more fun facts and definitely check out Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light and our Michigan in Pictures archive for more info and photos of this iconic light north of Ludington.

Check this out background bigtacular and see some more aerial views of the area in Craig’s slideshow.

More great aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.

lighthouse with chocolate and whipped cream

Lighthouse with chocolate and whipped cream, photo by Craig Sterken Photography

Craig shared this photo of the North Breakwater Pier and Lighthouse in Ludington on the Absolute Michigan Facebook the other day.

See it bigger on Facebook and see more on the Craig Sterken Photography Facebook page or at craigsterken.com!

More shots of  Ludington (and this lighthouse) on Michigan in Pictures.

Chipping Ice on the City of Flint, photo by Captain John Meissner

Wikipedia explains that the Armistice Day Blizzard struck November 11  (Armistice Day) and November 12, 1940. The intense early-season “Panhandle hook” winter storm cut a 1,000-mile-wide path through the middle of the country from Kansas to Michigan.  Carferries.com has a great article on The Armistice Day Storm of 1940 that begins:

The “storm” of November 11, 1940 was one of the worst storms in the recorded history of Lake Michigan. In all, the storm claimed 5 vessels, and 66 lives. The storm occurred on Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of World War I in 1918.

The storm hit late Monday afternoon, November 11th, with winds of hurricane proportions. The winds struck suddenly from the southwest at about 2:30 P.M. and were accompanied by drenching rain, which later changed to snow. The winds reached peak velocities of 75 miles per hour, the highest in local maritime history. Telephone and power lines were down by the hundreds around Mason County. Several local firms had “gaping” holes where roofs once were. Trees were uprooted, small buildings were overturned, and brick walls were toppled, causing at least 1 serious injury. Very few places escaped without damage. Ludington, on the morning of November 12th, appeared to be a deserted city.

The Pere Marquette carferry City of Flint 32, attempted to make the harbor but wound up on the beach about 300 yards from the shore. She was ordered by her relief captain, Jens Vevang, to be scuttled to avoid being pounded by the incoming seas. On November 12th, a breeches buoy was strung and 27 year old crewman Ernest Delotowski of 406 First Street, Ludington, was brought ashore. Delatowski made a good portion of the trip in the icy waters of Lake Michigan. As a precautionary measure, he was taken to Paulina Stearns Hospital and was released later that day. He said he carried a message with him, but it got lost in the water. Later the buoy was used to carry a message to the ship, and then crewman Luther Ryder of S. Washington Avenue (Ludington) was brought ashore.

You can read more including first-hand recollections of the storm and also see more photos taken by Captain John Meissner and also photos of the grounding and other wrecks as a result of the storm at carferries.com.

More shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures.

This morning north of Ludington, photo by Debbie Maglothin

It seems only fitting to follow up waterspouts with rainbows. The National Center for Atmospheric Research has an incredibly comprehensive page about rainbows. After explaining the optics behind rainbows (complete with diagrams), they delve into double rainbows:

Sometimes we see two rainbows at once, what causes this? We have followed the path of a ray of sunlight as it enters and is reflected inside the raindrop. But not all of the energy of the ray escapes the raindrop after it is reflected once. A part of the ray is reflected again and travels along inside the drop to emerge from the drop. The rainbow we normally see is called the primary rainbow and is produced by one internal reflection; the secondary rainbow arises from two internal reflections and the rays exit the drop at an angle of 50 degrees° rather than the 42°degrees for the red primary bow. Blue light emerges at an even larger angle of 53 degrees°. This effect produces a secondary rainbow that has its colors reversed compared to the primary, as illustrated in the drawing, adapted from the Science Universe Series Sight, Light, and Color.

It is possible for light to be reflected more than twice within a raindrop, and one can calculate where the higher order rainbows might be seen; but these are never seen in normal circumstances.

You may have noticed that the sky is brighter inside the rainbow above. They explain why the sky is brighter inside both single & double rainbows:

Notice the contrast between the sky inside the arc and outside it. When one studies the refraction of sunlight on a raindrop one finds that there are many rays emerging at angles smaller than the rainbow ray, but essentially no light from single internal reflections at angles greater than this ray. Thus there is a lot of light within the bow, and very little beyond it. Because this light is a mix of all the rainbow colors, it is white. In the case of the secondary rainbow, the rainbow ray is the smallest angle and there are many rays emerging at angles greater than this one. Therefore the two bows combine to define a dark region between them – called Alexander’s Dark Band, in honor of Alexander of Aphrodisias who discussed it some 1800 years ago!

Read on for much more about rainbows including supernumerary arcs, why we don’t often see rainbows in winter and even lunar rainbows! If you want to go rainbow crazy, head over to Atmospheric Optics for tons more rainbow information & photos.

Check this photo out bigger on Facebook and see more at Debbie’s Cha Bella Photography page.

See more rainbows on Michigan in Pictures. Also, I’ve added a new “science” category to Michigan in Pictures. I’ll tag past posts like the post about sundogs, rainbow-like formations you often see in winter. If anyone has a favorite, just post a comment on it mentioning that it would be a good fit for science!

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