July 6, 2015
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has nominated Little Presque Isle for dedication (explanation). It’s located on the Superior shore 7 miles north of Marquette and they explain that the Little Presque Isle tract:
…is often called the crown jewel of Lake Superior, with its beautiful sand beaches, rugged shoreline cliffs, heavily timbered forests, and unmatched public views. The proposed natural area occurs north and south of Little Presque Point, around the mouth of Harlow Creek. The area is a combination of a wooded dune and swale community and bedrock lakeshore and cliff. The wooded dunes and swales formed as post-glacial lake levels receded, depositing a series of low sandy beach ridges. Since then, the ridges have become forested with hemlock, red pine, white pine, cedar, and balsam fir, while the wet swales that developed between them are now either forested or open wetlands.
The rock comprising the area represents some of the oldest exposed formations of its kind. More than a mile of bedrock lakeshore and cliffs adorns Little Presque Isle, including sandstone cliffs that reach nearly 60 feet high toward the base of Sugar Loaf Mountain. One kind of bedrock, granitic, that occurs here is the least common bedrock type along the Great Lakes shoreline, with less than eight miles occurring in total. This is one of three areas where the public can see these 2.3 billion year old formations in Michigan.
The proposed wilderness area is a local landmark, which has significant historical value. The island was reportedly connected to the mainland sometime prior to the 1930s and was a landing place for early explorers and native inhabitants. Roughly 100 yards off the mainland, the island is accessible by wading hip deep water and offers and opportunity for solitude in a unique and scenic setting.
July 4, 2015
“Freedom lies in being bold.”
Hope your Fourth of July is as big, bold & amazing as this great shot of the Detroit fireworks over the Renaissance Center from Lafayette Park.
July 3, 2015
I hope everyone has a great Independence Day weekend … though I suspect the Redcoats won’t.
PS: If you ever get a chance to visit Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, I heartily recommend it. Definitely one of Michigan’s coolest museums!
PPS: Love the Bridge peeking up just to the right of the flagpole.
How about a big “way to go!” to the State of Michigan for a complete revamp their previously not very good Michigan Parks & Trails site? The new site is miles better!! The Palms Book State Park page says:
Palms Book is a rewarding side trip for the vacationer touring the Upper Peninsula, for here can be seen one of Michigan’s alluring natural attractions — Kitch-iti-kipi, The Big Spring. Two hundred feet across, the 40-foot deep Kitch-iti-kipi is Michigan’s largest freshwater spring. Over 10,000 gallons a minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone. The flow continues throughout the year at a constant 45 degree Fahrenheit. By means of a self-operated observation raft, visitors are guided to vantage points overlooking fascinating underwater features and fantasies. Ancient tree trunks, lime-encrusted branches and fat trout appear suspended in nothingness as they slip through crystal waters far below. Clouds of sand kept in constant motion by gushing waters create ever-changing shapes and forms, a challenge to the imagination of young and old alike.
The legend of Kitch-iti-kipi is said to be about a young chieftain whose girlfriend got the best of him. He told her he loved her far above the other dark-haired maidens dancing near his birch bark wigwam. Prove it, she insisted. As a test of his devotion, she declared that he must set sail in his canoe on the pool deep in the conifer swamp. He was to catch her from his canoe as she leaped from an overhanging bough. His canoe overturned in the icy waters and he drowned. It turns out that the maiden was back at the village laughing at his foolish quest. According to legend, the Spring was named Kitch-itikipi in memory of the young chieftain who went to his death in the icy waters in an attempt to satisfy the vain caprice of his ladylove.
Other legends tell of Chippewa parents who came to the pool seeking names for their newborn. They supposedly found names like Satu (darling), Kakushika (big eye), Natukoro (lovely flower) and We-shi (little fish) scribed in the sounds of the rippling water. They attributed healing powers to the waters.
A drop of honey on a piece of birch bark dipped into Kitch-iti-kipi and presented to a loved one was to make them true forever. Another legend concerned the tamarack growing on the banks of Kitch-iti-kipi. A small piece of the bark ground in a mortar and pestle and placed in an individual’s empty pockets would be replaced by glittering gold at exactly midnight. Whatever the legends, visitors to the spring loved them. Kitch-iti-kipi is said to have many meanings in the Chippewa language-The Great Water; The Blue Sky I See; The Roaring, Bubbling Spring. Others called it the Sound of Thunder and Drum Water, even though the quiet is eerie. Whatever its name and legend, Palms Book State Park continues to draw curious visitors.
Although it was a black hole all but hidden in a tangle of fallen trees, John I. Bellaire fell in love with the Big Spring in the early 1920s…
Read on for the story of how it came to be a state park along with maps, photos and park events.
More Michigan parks on Michigan in Pictures!
July 1, 2015
The Slate River enters a deep gorge in a dramatic way with a sudden plunge down steep, layered rock. This drop, Kukuck’s Falls, is the uppermost named drop in a long and rugged path within the gorge. Slate River breaks evenly on the rock line and cascades down, jumping and foaming around, before landing in a small pool below. This waterfall is one of the only drops easily viewed from the east bank path thanks to a convenient bend, although the best vantage can be had riverside.
Park on either side of the bridge over Slate River, about 11 miles east of L’Anse, right on Skanee Road. Follow the river upstream past the lower falls (Slate River Falls, Ecstasy Falls, and Slide Falls) to reach Kukuck’s Falls. There is a path high up on east bank that lowers down to the waterfall, otherwise the more scenic route is right along (and sometimes inside) the river itself.
Click through for a map, more photos of these falls and descriptions of the others.
June 30, 2015
It’s always cool to discover a new Michigan vista via Michigan in Pictures. Au Sable River Valley Online’s page on the River Road National Scenic Byway says:
Lying off of River Road National Scenic Byway, Iargo Springs provides a panoramic view of the Au Sable River. Used as a drinking water source since pre-settlement times, dams were constructed on the springs by early loggers before the turn of the century. The dams were useful in diverting water to the logging camps nearby. Most of Cooke Pond was dry land then.
Europeans have visited the springs for recreation since the 1920s. A trail to the springs was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934. Early photographs show the dam being repaired and reinforced by the CCC’s. The dams lasted until 1981 when a storm took them out. The site was renovated in 1991. Steps were added and boardwalks along the springs, as well as the dams being rebuilt.
You can click through for a map and more sites along Michigan’s most historic trout stream.