The Colors of Omena

The Colors of Omena

The Colors of Omena, photo by Elijah Allen

Here’s a shot by a friend taken just north of me showing the incredible fall color that’s still out there along the Lake Michigan coast. It was taken from off Omena Point at the northern part of the Leelanau Peninsula, so how about a little Omena history courtesy the Omena Historical Society?

The Omena settlement had its beginnings when Aghosa Indians started arriving in 1850. In 1852, the Reverend Peter Dougherty and a band of Ottawas and Chippewas led by Chief Ahgosa moved from the present-day Old Mission Peninsula to a beautiful little bay on the Leelanau Peninsula’s eastern side. Chief Shabwasung and his Ottawa band were already encamped on the point to the north of the bay, on land Chief Ahgosa and his families from Old Mission had purchased. Ahgosa settled a little to the north, and his village became Ahgosatown. Both bands became part of the New Mission, soon to be called Omena.

Young George A. Craker came with Dougherty and taught farming to students in the mission school, and he and his descendants became active workers in Dougherty’s Grove Hill New Mission Church. Now called the Omena Presbyterian Church, it was dedicated in 1858 and has stood as the oldest Protestant Church in Leelanau County and one of the oldest historical landmarks in Northern Michigan. The Ahgosa family was also very active and some are now buried in the mission cemetery.

Click through to read more and for some historical photos of Omena.

View Elijah’s photo bigger on Facebook and scroll though when you get there for more!

More aerial photos, more history and more Leelanau on Michigan in Pictures.

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains, photo by Kristian Saile

Summit Post’s page on the Huron Mountains says:

The Huron Mountains encompass THE most wild and rugged territory in Michigan. It is a region of low, yet surprisingly rugged mountains, swamps, lakes, and high plateaus. It is because this is such a large and diverse region that I decided to devote a page to the entire range in addition to the two prominent peaks already on this site (Arvon & Hogback). The majority of peaks in this area are unnamed and for the most part inaccessible. I have spent many years living near them, spent countless hours and days exploring them and feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. The region has become increasingly popular with climbers in the past few years for its numerous granite cliffs. You’ll need a local to find them though:)

The Huron Mountains are the largest range of mountains in Michigan yet they are not listed on any map. The boundaries of the range are vague but generally include the area north of US-41 between Marquette and L’anse. This is approx. a 1000 sq. mi. chunk of real estate without a single paved road.

The Hurons can be divided up into three ranges. The Arvon Range includes the highest peaks, Mount Arvon (1980′) and Curwood (1979′), in the state of Michigan. The Arvon Range runs generally north-south in eastern Baraga County. The most rugged section, The Huron Range, runs northwest-southeast to the west of Big Bay in northern Marquette County. The highest peak in this region is Ives Hill at approx. 1400 feet. This part of the mountains has the most rugged relief, the highest waterfalls, and the prettiest lakes. Unfortunately a good chunk of it privately owned by the uber-exclusive Huron Mountain Club and is off-limits to the general public. The third region is the most accessible, the Marquette Iron Range. This region runs from Lake Superior at Marquette west to the Lake Michigamme area. Hogback Mountain (1200′), listed separately, is part of this range but numerous unnamed peaks to the west rise to over 1700 feet.

Read on for more and also check out the post author’s Michigan hikes – a lot of cool ones!

My friend Kristian took this in early October of 2011 while flying with his buddy Jon over the Huron Mountains. Click to view it bigger (if you can’t see it on facebook, try this link).

Another friend, Dick Huey of, researched the location for me – click the pic below to see it bigger.


More aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.

Marquette Lower Harbor Ore Dock

Marquette Lower Harbor Ore Dock

Lower Harbor Ore Dock, photo by Rudy Malmquist

Travel Marquette shares the story of the Iron Ore Dock in Marquette’s Upper Harbor is also known as the Presque Isle Dock.

The dock was built in 1911 and is still commercially active. Each year approximately 9.5 to 10 million tons of ore are shipped from this dock. The dock is owned and operated by the Cliffs Natural Resources. This steel-framed dock is 1,250 feet long and 60 feet wide, with the top deck sitting 75 feet above the water level. It contains 200 pockets, each of which has a capacity of 250 tons of ore, for a total storage capacity of 50,000 tons. Supporting the dock is a foundation of 10,000 wooden piles enclosed by a 12-inch thick timber sheet plank wall filled with sand.

After being mined the ore is crushed and the iron separated out with either a chemical or magnetic process. The iron is combined with a binding agent (a glorified cornstarch) and rolled into small balls roughly an inch in diameter. The balls are fed through a kiln and fired by temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees F. The result is Taconite Pellets which are loaded on the ore boats and shipped. Most of the pellets shipped from the Presque Isle dock go to Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario the largest integrated steel mill. These pellets, which are roughly 70% iron, will be combined with coke and limestone at the mill to make steel.

The ore comes to the dock via railcars and is dumped into steel “pockets” or bins beneath the tracks. To load the boat, the chute is lowered to the open cargo hatch and a door at the bottom of the pocket opens, allowing the pellets to run into the boat shown in the picture. Loading time is variable, depending on the size of the boat and how prepared the dock is to load. Four hours is typical. Loading is the responsibility of the First Mate. It is important to load the ore in a proper sequence to avoid over-stressing the boat unevenly. Each chute (or drop of ore) is about 20 tons.

View Rudy’s photo big as the sky and see more in his slideshow.

More Marquette and more aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures.

Way above the Mighty Mac

Mackinac Bridge from Above

The Mackinac Bridge, photo by FotoLense

Well while we’re up in the air (see yesterday) why not stay there?

View this photo background bigtacular and see more including some more aerials from the area in FotoLense’s Mackinac Island July 2013 slideshow.

There’s some great facts about the Mackinac Bridge if you click the photo and a ton more on the Mighty Mac from Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT: Apple Island in Orchard Lake

Apple Island

Apple Island Aerial, photo via MSU Michigan History Student Publication

I was fascinated with the Farmer’s Almanac weather history tool this morning, so I went looking for notable Michigan happenings on June 18th…

Wikipedia’s Apple Island entry says that this 35-acre island was formed during the region’s last ice age (10,000 to 12,000 years ago) and lies in the middle of Orchard Lake. The West Bloomfield Historical Society has a nice article on Apple Island that says (in part):

Apple Island’s first admirers were Stone-Age Indians, who may have discovered it as early as 2,000 years ago. They were probably drawn to the site for its unique combination of land- and water-based resources, and the fact that their personal security was also enhanced on an island. It is not known exactly which Native Americans frequented Apple Island over the centuries before white settlement, but each group left clues to its way of life, including those which were raising crops at the time of Carpenter’s 1817 survey. In fact, the entire West Bloomfield lakes area has yielded many beautiful hammerstones, chert spearheads and birdstones – finely polished pieces of slate resembling stylized birds – left by their Native American owners long ago.

The treaty of November 17, 1807, negotiated with the Odawa, Ojibwe, Wyandot, and Potawatomi, ceded a tract of land comprising roughly the southeast quarter of the lower peninsula of Michigan and a small section of Ohio to the United States government. In time this land was surveyed, subdivided and offered for sale. Early settlers in what would become West Bloomfield Township noted that Native Americans visited the island often. In their language they reportedly referred to the area as “apple place” – a name which evidently stuck.

Read on for much more including the possibility that Chief Okemos was born on the island, its first purchase on June 18, 1827 by James Galloway and its current status as the Marjorie Ward Strong Woodland Sanctuary. Definitely check out Michigan History at MSU’s West Bloomfield – Apple Island feature for more photos & info and some really cool hand-drawn maps from the early 1900s.

The source of the “apple place” name is from Dr. Samuel M. Leggett’s epic poem The Legend of Me-nah-sa-gor-ning first circulated in 1909.

More Throwback Thursdays on Michigan in Pictures!

Above St. Joseph Pier

St Joseph Pier Light from Above

Above the ice encrusted St. Joseph pier, photo by Christopher Kierkus

As previously referenced, the fantastic ice on St. Joseph Pier has become a Michigan winter icon. Christopher took this shot with his drone SPIKE, a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter and a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition camera. I found it shared on Michpics regular Craig Sterken’s page – he’s the one bending down to get a lens out of the case.

Christopher shares that getting these photos can be more than a little harrowing:

We photogs are a little nuts … especially scary is walking the little “ice path” around the inner light to get to the outer part. One slip up there and you’re in the soup.

View the photo bigger on his Facebook and see more of his work including some more really cool aerials at PhotoDocGVSU on Flickr … or head straight for SPIKE’s pictures!

More aerials on Michigan in Pictures.

#TBT: Frozen Straits

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge, photo by Mark Miller

OK, we’re not throwing back too far for this Thursday, but I wanted to share a really cool view that Mark took this February of the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac locked in the grip of the Polar Vortex.

View his photo bigger and see more great views of Michigan from above in his Aerials slideshow. You can also see one of his aerial photos of the Straits from last August on Michigan in Pictures.

There’s more aerials and more Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures!