August 29, 2015
Van’s is the most popular public beach in my hometown of Leland for reasons that are probably made obvious by this photo. When Traverse City Tourism shared the picture, I figured I should too!
The Leelanau Conservancy has this to say about Hall Beach, also known as Van’s Beach:
The beach is Leland’s first public beach on Lake Michigan since the harbor was constructed in 1970. It lies at the base of the south breakwall of the harbor and was originally owned by the Hall family. The beach area was made possible by the Hall Family and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
It lies at the base of the breakwall and connects Fishtown to the rest of the public beach to the south which was gifted by the Miller Taylor families. Linked together, these areas create an uninterrupted protected area from Fishtown to where the trail comes down to the water from the parking area at the road end of Cedar street – for both wildlife and public to enjoy. A favorite place for watching Lake Michigan sunsets, Hall Beach also protects historic Fishtown from future commercial development.
Click through for a map and to see more beaches and preserves on the Leelanau Peninsula.
I will add that Van’s beach got its name from Van’s Garage, owned by the Van Raalte family. Also, when the wind is from the north or northwest this is one of the area’s best surf spots. The point you can see in the distance is Whaleback, also preserved by the Leelanau Conservancy.
View the photo bigger on Facebook, see several more in the Traverse City Tourism feature and definitely follow Northern Way of Life on Facebook for lots more from the Leelanau Peninsula & Northern Michigan.
More Michigan beaches on Michigan in Pictures.
August 24, 2015
Summer of 2015 has definitely featured some wild weather. Photographer Joe Gee captured this dramatic photo last Monday at Muskegon State Park. mLive featured Joe’s waterspout photo along with an explanation of the phenomenon by meteorologist Mark Torregrossa:
This is the waterspout season on the Great Lakes, but tonight’s waterspout did not occur in the classic waterspout weather pattern.
Waterspouts form mostly due to a large temperature difference between the water surface and the air a few thousand feet above. So the classic waterspout weather pattern would have a large, cold upper level storm system moving over the Great Lakes. That storm system is still well to our west, and won’t pass through until Wednesday.
This waterspout still most likely formed due to a temperature difference between the water and the air. The cold air aloft wasn’t really detectable because it was so isolated.
The other weather feature probably contributing to the development of this waterspout was a lake breeze or even possibly an “outflow boundary” from another storm. The lake breeze blows a different wind direction into the storm and can cause additional rotation. An outflow boundary coming off another thunderstorm can do the same thing.
So this waterspout is a less threatening rotation as compared to a tornado. Usually these waterspouts dissipate before they come onshore.
This time of year is the typical time for waterspouts because of two weather features. First, the Great Lakes water temperatures are usually warmest right now. Secondly, we have to mention the word fall. Cooler, fall-like air starts to move in at this time of year. The temperature difference is largest now through September.
More wild weather on Michigan in Pictures!
August 22, 2015
Earlier this week I posted about The Crooked Tree. While August isn’t yet shipwreck season in Michigan, the post reminded me of the 1915 novel by William MacHarg & Edwin Balmer set in the same region called The Indian Drum. The whole book is available online at Project Gutenberg (hooray for free books!). It begins:
Near the northern end of Lake Michigan, where the bluff-bowed ore-carriers and the big, low-lying, wheat-laden steel freighters from Lake Superior push out from the Straits of Mackinac and dispute the right of way, in the island divided channel, with the white-and-gold, electric lighted, wireless equipped passenger steamers bound for Detroit and Buffalo, there is a copse of pine and hemlock back from the shingly beach. From this copse—dark, blue, primeval, silent at most times as when the Great Manitou ruled his inland waters—there comes at time of storm a sound like the booming of an old Indian drum. This drum beat, so the tradition says, whenever the lake took a life; and, as a sign perhaps that it is still the Manitou who rules the waters in spite of all the commerce of the cities, the drum still beats its roll for every ship lost on the lake, one beat for every life.
So—men say—they heard and counted the beatings of the drum to thirty-five upon the hour when, as afterward they learned, the great steel steamer Wenota sank with twenty-four of its crew and eleven passengers; so—men say—they heard the requiem of the five who went down with the schooner Grant; and of the seventeen lost with the Susan Hart; and so of a score of ships more. Once only, it is told, has the drum counted wrong.
At the height of the great storm of December, 1895, the drum beat the roll of a sinking ship. One, two, three—the hearers counted the drum beats, time and again, in their intermitted booming, to twenty-four. They waited, therefore, for report of a ship lost with twenty-four lives; no such news came. The new steel freighter Miwaka, on her maiden trip during the storm with twenty-five—not twenty-four—aboard never made her port; no news was ever heard from her; no wreckage ever was found. On this account, throughout the families whose fathers, brothers, and sons were the officers and crew of the Miwaka, there stirred for a time a desperate belief that one of the men on the Miwaka was saved; that somewhere, somehow, he was alive and might return. The day of the destruction of the Miwaka was fixed as December fifth by the time at which she passed the government lookout at the Straits; the hour was fixed as five o’clock in the morning only by the sounding of the drum.
The region, filled with Indian legend and with memories of wrecks, encourages such beliefs as this. To northward and to westward a half dozen warning lights—Ile-aux-Galets (“Skilligalee” the lake men call it), Waugaushance, Beaver, and Fox Islands—gleam spectrally where the bone-white shingle outcrops above the water, or blur ghostlike in the haze; on the dark knolls topping the glistening sand bluffs to northward, Chippewas and Ottawas, a century and a half ago, quarreled over the prisoners after the massacre at Fort Mackinac; to southward, where other hills frown down upon Little Traverse Bay, the black-robed priests in their chapel chant the same masses their predecessors chanted to the Indians of that time. So, whatever may be the origin of that drum, its meaning is not questioned by the forlorn descendants of those Indians, who now make beadwork and sweet-grass baskets for their summer trade, or by the more credulous of the white fishermen and farmers; men whose word on any other subject would receive unquestioning credence will tell you they have heard the drum.
Read on at Project Gutenberg.
More Michigan shipwreck lore on Michigan in Pictures.
August 11, 2015
August 8, 2015
Hard to believe that a raging storm tore through just hours after this idyllic morning in the dunes. But this is from the same day (Sunday) as the monster winds that uprooted and snapped countless large trees…
PS: I’ve been posting lots of updates from the storm on my Leelanau.com Facebook.
August 3, 2015
July 28, 2015
Here’s the S.S. Badger heading out for Wisconsin. I rode the Badger many times in my Junior & Senior year of high school (Go Wausau East Lumberjacks!) to get from Michigan to Wisconsin. It was such a pleasant way to cross Lake Michigan, and at the prices they charged there were a number of people who would do a round trip crossing, playing cribbage, drinking beer from a cooler and laughing as they enjoyed the ride.