#TBT: Beach Day at Port Austin

Beach Day at Port Austin Lake Huron

Beach Day at Port Austin, photo courtesy Don Harrison/UpNorth Memories

I believe this spot is now the Port Austin Harbor, but if you’re looking for a swim, the Port Crescent State Park on Lake Huron looks pretty great!

Check the photo out background big and see TONS more pics mainly from Michigan in Don’s massive UpNorth Memories Photo Tribute to Michigan Historian Dave Tinder slideshow.

More beaches, more Lake Huron and more Throwback Thursdays on Michigan in Pictures!

Michigan Rock(s)

Michigan Rock

Michigan Rock, photo by Seasons Photography

A few weeks ago I featured a great shot of kayaking to Turnip Rock from Seasons Photography. Here’s another shot from that trip!

View the photo bigger, see more in their Michigan slideshow and visit the Seasons Photography website.

Kayaking to Turnip Rock

Kayak at Turnip Rock

Turnip Rock, Port Austin, MI, photo by Seasons Photography

The second in our series of “Cool Places Your Kayak Can Take You” features this cool rock formation in Lake Huron. Port Austin Kayak’s page on kayaking to Turnip Rock says:

A trip to Turnip Rock in Port Austin is unmistakably one of the best activities for kayakers on Lake Huron. The trip consists of a 7 mile out-and-back trip via the Point aux Barques trail. The shallow waters surrounding Turnip Rock allow you to get out and enjoy the area as well as snap a few photos while you are there. Be sure to wear suitable footwear if you are going to exit the kayak as the rocks are slippery. For an account of what it’s like kayaking out to Turnip Rock, read this adventurer’s great story. While this story also goes out to the lighthouse, that leg of the trip is for experienced kayakers only and is reserved for the calmest weather days, as you will be kayaking two miles out into Lake Huron.

Please note that the property surrounding Turnip Rock is privately owned, which is why kayaking is the premier way to access the rock. The owners of the surrounding properties take great care of the land and we ask that you respect their space by not trespassing or littering.

If you don’t have a kayak, they can certainly rent you one. That link goes to one of my favorite photographer’s trips: Lars Jensen and his Turnip Rock expedition.

View the photo bigger and see more in Seasons Photography’s Michigan slideshow.

More kayaks & kayaking and more about Turnip Rock on Michigan in Pictures.

Sunrise at Iargo Springs

Iargo Springs Ausable River

Iargo Sunrise, photo by Tamara Rivette

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.

View Tamara’s photo bigger and see more in her 2015 Landscapes slideshow. Also be sure to follow her on Facebook at Tamara Rivette Photography.

Kirtland’s Warbler on the Rebound

Kirtland Warbler at Tawas Point, 5-15-2010

Kirtland Warbler at Tawas Point, 5-15-2010, photo by John Britt

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources completed their annual June survey of Kirtland’s warbler, one of the rarest members of the wood warbler family that nests almost exclusively in Michigan’s northern Lower and Upper peninsulas, with a few locations in Wisconsin and the province of Ontario. They explain:

“We have a great group of DNR, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff members, as well as volunteers, who are trudging through young, thick jack pine in the early morning hours,” said Department of Natural Resources wildlife supervisor Keith Kintigh. “The reward is getting to hear that singing male Kirtland’s warbler, which is the way we actually census the population.”

The Kirtland’s warbler census is a tool managers use to compare population numbers relative to recovery goals by listening for the male’s song. Kirtland’s warbler numbers had been very low, under 200 nesting pairs, in the mid-1980s. Michigan became the focus for habitat management, since it has been a primary location for the birds’ reproduction.

Kirtland’s warblers spend eight months wintering in the Bahamas. The males arrive back in Michigan between May 3 and May 20, a few days ahead of the females. The males establish and defend territories and then court the females when they arrive. The males’ song is loud, yet low-pitched, ending with an upward inflection – easily recognized to identify the presence of a Kirtland’s warbler.

Additionally, the presence or absence of Kirtland’s warblers determines if protection of that area is needed and allows evaluation of different habitat management techniques. The habitat requirements for Kirtland’s warbler are very specific; they prefer large blocks of young jack pine, usually hundreds of acres in size. The Kirtland’s warbler is a ground-nester, often using the living branches of 5- to 20-foot-tall jack pine trees to conceal their nests, so jack pine trees must be actively managed. Large areas of sandy soils are planted with jack pine and then cut decades later, on specific intervals, to achieve the perfect-aged stands.

Lots more about this rare songbird, including census results that show a steadily increasing population on the DNR’s Kirtland’s Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii) page.

View John’s photo from May of 2010 background big and see more in his Animals & Wildlife slideshow.

Winter at Turnip Rock

"Turnip Rock" Pointe Aux Barques, Lake Huron

“Turnip Rock” Pointe Aux Barques, Lake Huron, photo by Michigan Nut

Michigan’s Little Finger has been getting a lot of national media attention for the fantastic ice caves that have formed off the Leelanau Peninsula, but it’s a good time to check out the Thumb as well! Turnip Rock is on private property and reachable in the summer only by boat. In wintertime, however, walking on publicly owned Lake Huron becomes an option.

The Point Aux Barques – Turnip Rock geocache explains:

Everyone that received their grade school education in Michigan learned that glaciers pushed their way over Michigan several times. The result is glacial drift averaging 200 to 300 feet deep covering on top of the bedrock. The thickness of drift has measured over 1,000 feet in a few Michigan locations. Rarely can we see exposed bedrock that has been sculptured by non glacier forces. This is one of the locations in southern Michigan where the sandstone bedrock is exposed at the surface. The amount of shoreline that has exposed sandstone is about one mile, but a lot of beauty has been sculptured in the stone.

The locals call the main structure here “Turnip Rock”, because of it’s shape. Geologists call it a “Sea Stack”. A definition of a sea stack is an isolated pillar-like rocky island or mass near a cliff shore, detached from a headland by wave erosion assisted by weathering. Waves force air and small pieces of rock into small cracks, future opening them. The cracks then gradually get larger and turn into a small cave. When the cave wears through the headland, an arch forms. Further erosion causes the arch to collapse. This causes a pillar of hard rock standing away from the coast. Generally occurring in sedimentary rocks, sea stacks can occur in any rock type.

Here’s a map to Turnip Rock.

View John’s photo bigger and see more including nearby Point Aux Barques Lighthouse in his Lake Huron slideshow.

#michpics

Good Morning Brockway

Good Morning Brockway, photo by Jiqing Fan

Today’s post might win the 2013 Incomprehensible Garbledegook Award…

Almost all of the photos on Michigan in Pictures are those added to the Absolute Michigan pool on the excellent photo sharing site Flickr, with occasional photo posted to the Michigan in Pictures Facebook mixed in. While that’s very convenient for me, there’s a whole  lot of great photos on Twitter and Instagram too.

If you’re interested in sharing your photos and aren’t into Flickr, please feel free to use the “michpics” hash tag: #michpics on Twitter and #michpics on Instagram. If your photo is in some other place, you can tweet it with that hash tag.

Thanks everyone for sharing and I hope you get a chance to enjoy some of Michigan’s beauty this weekend!

Jiqing Fan took some amazing photos this fall. View his shot from Brockaway Mountain on the Keweenaw Peninsula bigger and see more in his slideshow. Past features of Jiqing Fan on Michigan in Pictures.

The Great Thumb Fire and the Birth of the Red Cross

Eaton County Courthouse 089.jpg

Eaton County Courthouse, photo by joshames

In 1871, the Thumb area of Michigan was ravaged by The Great Michigan Fire, part of a series of fires across the Midwest that included the Chicago Fire.  The Michigan DNR’s History & Ecology of Fire in Michigan explains that 10 years later on September 5, 1881, another devastating fire rolled through the Thumb area.

…the fire of September 1881, commonly known as the Thumb fire, was more severe and did more damage since settlers had begun pouring into the region and logging had gotten underway. As a result, more people were rendered homeless and the loss was greater. It is estimated that this fire burned well over one million acres, cost 282 lives, and did more than $2,250,000 worth of damage. ($55,834,321 adjusted for inflation)

Like the 1871 fire, the fire of 1881 came at the end of an extremely severe drought and was the result of hundreds of land-clearing fires whipped into a seething cauldron of flame by high winds. It was worse in the Saginaw Valley and Thumb region where it burned over much of the same territory that had burned ten years before.

In 1881 Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. The organization’s first meeting had taken place in Washington DC  at the home of Sen. Omar D. Conger of Michigan. Their first official disaster relief operation was the response to the Thumb Fire, and the Red Cross provided money, clothes and household items to victims of the fire.

Check Josh’s photo out bigger and see more in his slideshow.

 

Speaking of Alpena: Rockport State Park

RockPort I

RockPort I, photo by Jeff Gaydash

In the course of writing about on how Alpena was named, I ran across this great photo from Rockport. It used to be called the Rockport Property, and in February it became the newest state park in Michigan. The DNR news release explains:

Rockport State Park offers many unique and special features. With 4,237 acres of land located on the shores of Lake Huron, north of Alpena, the property includes a deep-water protected harbor, an old limestone quarry of approximately 300 acres, a unique series of sinkholes, a dedicated Natural Area (Besser Natural Area), and a broad range of land types, vegetative cover, cultural resources and recreation opportunities. At the harbor, the Department has a boat launch facility, and there is a small park developed by Alpena Township on land leased from the State.

There’s no map on the DNR Park website yet, but you can get directions and some more photos from Quiet Solo Pursuits.

Check this out on black and in Jeff’s fantastic The Great Lakes slideshow.

Happy weekend everyone…

How Alpena got its name

Brick Thunder

Brick Thunder, photo by cmu chem prof

The Pure Michigan Blog has an excellent series on how Michigan cities got their names. They are up to Part 10. One of the cities is Alpena:

Alpena

Alpena County was first named “An-a-ma-kee,” or “Thunder,” in honor of an old Chippewa chief of the Thunder Bay band who had signed a treaty negotiated with Henry Schoolcraft in 1826. After studying the Indian legends around the word “An-a-ma-kee” (or Animikee), Henry Schoolcraft concluded that the name was not completely appropriate. Then he manufactured the name Alpena from “Al,” an Indian syllable meaning “the”, and either “pinai,” an Arabic word meaning “partridge,” or “peanaisse,” an old French word meaning “bird.”

Check this photo out background big and in Phil’s huge Cities & Towns slideshow.