September 13, 2013
John McCormick comments that it won’t be long and we will be seeing scenes like this one again. With a north wind blowing and highs not expected to reach 60 today in Michigan’s northern half, it’s pretty clear that fall and fall color is right around the corner! I hope you get the time to plan a color tour or two to enjoy places like the Lake of the Clouds. Michigan is especially amazing when the hardwoods catch fire, and the show only comes once a year
John is one of my favorite photographers, and his Michigan Nut Facebook page is on fire right now with new photos every day!
September 7, 2013
Today’s photo is the latest cover for the Michigan in Pictures Facebook. It was taken at a beach known as The Coves in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and is one of those photos to show your friends who don’t know Michigan.
More great beaches on Michigan in Pictures!
September 4, 2013
Grand Mere State Park is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan near Stevensville. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Sand Mine Restoration Plan explains that Grand Mere:
…contains some of the most unique sand dune features in the world. The park also contains three lakes, called North, Middle, and South Lake, and has over one mile of Lake Michigan frontage. The sand dunes within the park are part of the largest freshwater dune system in the world, lining the shores of the Great Lakes. These dunes historically supported a wide array of natural communities, including dry-mesic southern (oak-hickory) forest, rich conifer (cedar) swamp, southern (mixed hardwood) swamp, wetpanne and interdunal wetland (shrub swamp/emergent marsh), open dunes, and a wooded dune and swale complex.
The dunes at Grand Mere fall within a state-designated “Critical Dune Area.” The area containing the present-day park was also designated a National Natural Landmark in 1968. The park was first created on 393 acres of land in 1973, and more than doubled in size with the acquisition of 490 additional acres in 1986. The master plan for Grand Mere State Park, approved in 1986, cited “sand dune preservation” as the primary management objective for the park. A highly diverse flora exists at Grand Mere, with over 550 species of plants documented within the park. Furthermore, Grand Mere lies in a unique place on the southern shore of Lake Michigan where plants typical of both northern and southern temperate latitudes grow together in the same community. Because of the unique flora, fauna, and geology of the dune and wetland features at Grand Mere, the park has long been used as an “outdoor laboratory” for natural resource teaching and research.
…Within the park, the dominant landforms are the sand dunes along the shore of Lake Michigan. A large bay of the glacial Great Lakes was present where Grand Mere State Park is today. During Algonquin Great Lakes time (roughly 12,000 years ago), a large spit formed from the south along the west side of the bay, nearly cutting it off from the glacial lake (Tague 1947). Most of the dunes at Grand Mere formed on this Algonquin sand spit during the later Nipissing Great Lakes period, approximately 4,500 years ago. During the more recent post-Algoma period (3,000 years ago until present), a smaller spit from the north merged with the larger, dune covered southern spit, closing off the bay. As water levels fell, five lakes formed in this bay. The two southern lakes have subsequently filled in and have become the present-day tamarack swamp south of South Lake. While the lakes were forming in the bay as water levels fell, some smaller foredunes were formed along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The topography and sandy soils of the park can be attributed to this glacial history.
Read on for more about the history & geology of this unique park, and check out Grand Mere State Park on the Absolute Michigan Map.
More dunes on Michigan in Pictures.
August 24, 2013
Miners Falls is located in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. To reach the Falls, take H58 west from Munising. Take H13 north 3.5 miles towards Miners Castle. There is a dirt road on the right that leads to falls. There is a sign marking the road. The dirt road is less than a mile and leads to a parking area. The walk through the woods to the falls is about 20 minutes. There are stairs at the end. The viewing area is a little frustrating. I do not know if there is an easy way into the gorge.
Little Miners Falls is about a mile downstream but you would have to bushwack to reach it. Chapel Falls, Spray Falls and Sable Falls are also in Pictured Rocks. Wagner Falls, Munising Falls, and others are in nearby Munising.
Many more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!
August 15, 2013
I was surprised to learn that I haven’t posted anything about Sugar Loaf on Mackinac Island. Here’s a summary with help from Wikipedia’s entry for Sugar Loaf Rock, the Mackinac State Historic Parks geology page and some other sources I’ve linked to.
Located not far from the shoreline on the east side of Mackinac Island, Sugar Loaf is a 75′ breccia limestone stack. Thousands of years ago Lake Algonquin covered all but the center of Mackinac Island. When it receded, this tower of rock remained. The people of the region packed maple sugar into cone-shaped baskets of birchbark, and Sugar Loaf Rock was named for its resemblance to one of these cones.
Sugar Loaf was said by some to be the home of Gitchi Manitou, while another tale explains that the rock was the final form taken by a man who asked for immortality and received it, albiet not as he expected. A distinct profile remains in the limestone face of Sugar Loaf Rock. The rock was also used as a site of ritual burials. In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and his friend Gustave de Beaumont visited Mackinac Island. De Beaumont reported that the rock was filled with “crevices and faults where the Indians sometimes deposed the bones of the dead.” A natural cave passes through Sugar Loaf from side to side, but it’s too small for any but children.
More from Mackinac on Michigan in Pictures!
August 12, 2013
We interrupt this summer to check in with winter. James writes:
I’ve been visiting Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes all my life but it wasn’t until I was an adult photographer that I hazarded a trip up to our northern Michigan National Lakeshore landmark in the depths of Winter. I was confident it would be awesome and I wasn’t disappointed. Driving north on Route 22 from the little town of Empire I turned left onto South Dune Highway and soon could see Glen Lake to my right and Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes to my left. The Visitors Bureau is officially closed in Winter and so I parked my Cherokee at the side of the road and proceeded on foot along Hunter Road to the base of the mountainous dunes. Ahead of me was the leeward side of the dunes and as such they are steep. Part way up I saw an ominous sign that read “Avalanches Stay Off”. I noticed that there were other brave souls already on the dunes and so I figured it was safe to climb.
With Linhof camera on Gitzo tripod and a 35 pound Domke camera bag the climb up the dune was a challenge. Flat, and with small undulating hills punctuated by the occasional tuft of intrepid dune grass, the top of the dunes resemble the high desert plains of the southwest. As if trying to brave the frigid gale winds of nearby Lake Michigan, the sandy hills had solidified into rows of spiny ridges with the top of the hill resembling a marble cake with layer upon layer of sand and ice. In the distance the luminous midday sun lit a gently sloping bank upon which a barren stand of trees proudly stood. I moved my gloveless hands frantically over tilt and swing controls and finally turned the aperture ring to F22. The wind chill was well below zero. I snapped off but two 4 X 5 exposures and quickly donned my Baxter gloves to venture off in search of another Sleeping Bear winterscape.
August 9, 2013
Michigan in Pictures regular Nina Asunto is posting trip reports about her trip at the end of June to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. In Day One: Chapel / Mosquito Trailhead to Chapel Beach she writes about a common June annoyance in the Upper Peninsula that this year proved more that annoying:
We arrived at Chapel Beach campground just before noon and had to put our bug nets on as soon as we got there. The campground consists of six sites, which are in the woods at the top of a bluff above Lake Superior. One of them (#6) is at the edge of the woods, and it is close enough to the beach to benefit from the breeze coming from the lake. This site was already occupied, of course, so we chose site #3, which was further into the woods. Under normal circumstances, this would be a really good campsite, with Chapel Creek running alongside it creating a nice atmosphere. Unfortunately, the exceptionally wet spring had ensured that this typically buggy season far exceeded expectations. The word “brutal” doesn’t quite do it justice – it was a buzzing hell-scape. The only thing to do was to set up camp as quickly as possible and flee to the beach.
Curiously enough, I was also in the UP and stopped at Pictured Rocks that weekend. Without Deep Woods Off, I am pretty sure I would have ended up a bloodless corpse! Click to read more (including her analysis of permethrin vs mosquitos). Follow along as Nina posts the rest of the report on Black Coffee at Sunrise.
Check it out bigger and see more in Nina’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore | June 2013 slideshow.
July 20, 2013
In Wednesday Waterfall: Elliot Falls, aka Miners Beach Falls Aaron Peterson writes:
There are so many big, raucous thundering waterfalls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that it’s too easy to overlook little gems like Elliot Falls at Miners Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
For years I’ve heard this waist-high falls called Miners Beach Falls, and also Potato Patch Falls referring to the nearby backcountry campsite called the Potato Patch. However the actual Potato Patch Falls is a wispy pillar located between this lower falls at Miners Beach and the campsite where the stream drips off a sandstone ledge.
A recent interaction on Facebook set the record straight on the beach falls though:
“Elliot Falls is named after my great aunt’s husband, who had the cabin there for many years. Bob Elliot had ‘Elliot’s Farm’, and the home had also been known as “Zimmies” in later years prior to being torn down by the park service. The house sat right over the creek (you could see the creek through the floorboards in the bathroom). A few pipes and concrete slabs still remain at the site. “
Many more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!
July 15, 2013
Great shot of the rock formation known as Battleship Row in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Check Andrea’s photo out big as a battleship and see more in her Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore slideshow.
Many more photos from the Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures!
July 11, 2013
Today on Leelanau.com I posted about one of my favorite Michigan musical events – the Glen Arbor Art Association’s 15th annual Dune Climb concert. The FREE concert takes place this Sunday, July 14 at 7:00 pm.
The setting is the incomparable natural amphitheater of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, and I heartily encourage you to join thousands of others at this free concert that has become a summer tradition in Leelanau.
This year one of Michigan’s premier jazz ensembles, the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, will present big band and original compositions. Some of the area’s finest musicians will be performing, including vocalist Edye Evans-Hyde. There is no charge for the concert, but a National Park pass is required for parking. Free shuttle buses will provide transportation to overflow parking lots. Bring chairs or (better) blankets to sit on. Some folding chairs are also provided in front of the stage. In the event of rain, the show will go on at the Glen Arbor Town Hall.
The Dune Climb concert is an amazing experience for folks young and old (sand dune = good fun for energetic kids) and is part of the Glen Arbor Art Association’s Manitou Music Festival.
If you regularly follow Michigan in Pictures, you know that I don’t often feature my own photos but this one really captures the amazingness of the dune concert! The ladies at the top are actually hundreds of feet up the dune yet still getting amazing sound flowing up to them. Check it out background big and see more from the show including the unmodified version of this photo in my Music Makes Me Smile slideshow. The photo uses a technique called “tilt-shift” created using a simple photoshop technique.
More dunes on Michigan in Pictures!