Warren Dunes, Michigan’s Most Popular State Park

Warren Dunes State Park Sawyer Michigan

Warren Dunes State Park, Sawyer Michigan, photo by Charles Edward Miller

Beautiful scene earlier in November at Warren Dunes State Park in southwest Michigan, just north of the state line. The History of Sawyer from HarborCountry.org explains:

Edward K. Warren, of Three Oaks, was a pioneering conservationist. Long before he acquired his enormous wealth, Warren bought 300 acres of woodland in an effort to preserve a forest primeval. Wildlife abounds around the trails, which meander through Warren Woods that remains undisturbed and a natural treasure. Not surprisingly, Warren Woods can be found Warren Woods Road between Three Oaks and Lakeside. Warren Dunes State Park is a 1500-acre preserve located on Red Arrow Highway between Sawyer and Bridgman. Warren bought this land at the turn of the century again with conservation as his goal. Although most in the area saw the land as worthless, Warren wanted to preserve the majestic dunes that soar to more than 240 feet. The Park has a pristine two-mile beach as well as wildflowers and mature forests. Over a million people visit Warren Dunes annually [the state’s most popular park].

View Charles’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his massive Warren Dunes State Park Sawyer Michigan slideshow.

More about Warren Dunes and more dunes on Michigan in Pictures.

Autumn Squared: Fall Color at Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls fall 2015

Tahquamenon Falls, Luce County, Michigan, photo by twurdemann

We’ll return to the fall color farewell tour with a photo from Michigan’s largest waterfall, Tahquamenon Falls (pronounced as spelled – tah-qua-me-non). It’s located in Tahquamenon Falls State Park which:

…encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings or power lines. The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent. The falls can be viewed from the river bank or from the island, which can be reached by rowboat rented from a park concession. The island walk affords a view of the falls in the south channel.
This is the land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha – “by the rushing Tahquamenaw” Hiawatha built his canoe. Long before the white man set eyes on the river, the abundance of fish in its waters and animals along its shores attracted the Ojibwa Indians, who camped, farmed, fished and trapped along its banks. In the late 1800’s came the lumber barons and the river carried their logs by the millions to the mills. Lumberjacks, who harvested the tall timber, were among the first permanent white settlers in the area.

Rising from springs north of McMillan, the Tahquamenon River drains the watershed of an area of more than 790 square miles. From its source, it meanders 94 miles before emptying into Whitefish Bay. The amber color of the water is caused by tannins leached from the Cedar, Spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water churned by the action of the falls causes the large amounts of foam, which has been the trademark of the Tahquamenon since the days of the voyager.

Read on for more and maps & camping information. I’ll add that November through April are great months to visit Tahquamenon Falls – very few people!

twurdemann shares that this view of the the Upper Tahquamenon Falls was a three second exposure with a B+W ND106 six stop solid neutral density filter on a Fuji XT1 + XF 55-200mm. View it bigger and see more in his Waterfalls slideshow.

Lots more fall color and waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

Fiery Fall Foliage at Fenner

Fiery Fall Foliage

Fiery Fall Foliage, photo by David Marvin

Let’s head out of autumn with a with a bang and this firework of a maple! I hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy what remains of the 2015 fall color touring season in Michigan. mLive updated their color report with some pics from readers:

The colors are fading fast and the leaves are falling, but there are still some Michigan areas with peak color. The inland areas of the Upper Peninsula and the inland areas of northern Lower Michigan are past fall color peak now. The leaves are falling fast.

But the shoreline areas and the peninsulas are warmer. Some of those areas are still at peak, or even just peaking now.

It will still be well worth the trip to the Leelanau Peninsula and the Old Mission Peninsula this week and probably even this weekend.

We took the drive of M-22 along the shore of Leelanau County Sunday, October 18, 2015. Along the shore there was still some green and was a few days away from peak. Old Mission Peninsula was 50 percent green still on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. So if you are going north this weekend, take the routes near water and you’ll be pleased.

The southern half of Lower Michigan is peaking now through the next few days. This weekend will still be real nice to take that last fall color drive.

Also have at these aerial photos of fall color from a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65D Dolphin helicopter they shared a week ago.

Check this photo out big as a tree and head over to Dave’s blog for more photos & writing from Fenner Nature Center.

More fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Autumn’s Chapel

Chapel Rock in Fall

chapel rock, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Here’s a cool picture from way back in 2006 of what I think is definitely one of the 7 wonders of Michigan: Chapel Rock in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The Lucky Tree of Chapel Rock features quite a number of photos that I think can give you a pretty good understanding of this marvelous Michigan miracle.

Chapel Rock on Lake Superior has a single tree perched atop its column. By rights the tree should not be there: the small surface area of land on the top of the rock is insufficient to sustain a tree of this size.

There is hardly any topsoil, certainly not enough for an obviously thriving tree. How then does it flourish?

Look a little closer and you will see the answer – that rope on the right of the picture is not, in fact a rope. It is a system of roots, extending and stretching over the edge of the rock to the main bluff where there are nutrients and water aplenty.

Yet how on earth did the root extend over to the mainland? Did it slither in some triffid like way until it reached the other side? Is there a Little Shop of Horrors thing happening here?

Click through for the answer and some pics that make things clearer – including to my surprise one of my own! – from Kuriositas which looks like a pretty cool site.

View Paul’s photo bigger and see this and more in his slideshow.

More Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures? You bet!

Autumnal Splendor at Lake of the Clouds

Autumnal Splendor

Autumnal Splendor, photo by Eric Hackney

True confession: I was asked to share less from northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. True answer: It’s really hard to turn my back on incredible visions like this! I will try and do better tomorrow. Promise. 

Also – new design for the blog. Not finished, but at least the pics are bigger. Thoughts & comments are appreciated.

Lake of the Clouds is one of the main attractions in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. Be sure to check out this interactive map & photo presentation from the Park that includes a 360-degree panorama from the spot atop Cuyahoga Peak where this photo was taken!

View Eric’s photo bigger and see more in his Landmarks & Landscapes slideshow.

PS: There’s more photos from Eric on Michigan in Pictures


Fall reflections at Black River Harbor

Fall Reflections at Black River

Fall reflections at Black River Harbor, photo by Michigan Nut Photography

The Ottawa National Forest page on Black River Harbor Recreation Area explains:

Known for its spectacular waterfalls, idyllic beaches, scenic hiking trails and tranquil campground, the Black River Harbor Recreation Area is a popular destination throughout the year. Originating in Wisconsin, the Black River flows through forested areas of large pine, hemlock and hardwood trees. The River has a series of scenic waterfalls as it drops in elevation to meet Lake Superior. Tannin (tannic acids) from hemlock trees is what gives it its unique color.

The Harbor offers one of the area’s few access points to Lake Superior, with boating being a major summer time activity. The boat ramp can accommodate almost any craft trailered in. There is no launching fee. Boat fuel and snacks are available through the concessionaire. Parking for trucks and boat trailers is ample.

Read on more more information including a map.

John took this photo a few days ago. Check it out bigger and definitely follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook for more great fall color and lots more of Michigan at its best!

Summer to Fall

Looking Out at Pictured Rocks

Looking Out, photo by Peter Tinetti

What a perfect photo from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for the last day of summer as we prepare to make the leap into autumn tomorrow.

View this photo background bigtacular and see more in Peter’s slideshow.

There’s more Pictured Rocks and more Fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!