Port Crescent State Park

Port Crescent State Park, Michigan, photo by Zack Schindler

The Michigan DNR says that Port Crescent State Park:

…is located at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb” along three miles of sandy shoreline of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. Some of the modern campsites offer a waterfront view, either of the Bay or the Old Pinnebog River channel. Port Crescent recently added a new camper cabin which sleeps six and has a scenic view of Saginaw Bay. A wooden boardwalk parallels the day-use shoreline offering many scenic vistas of Saginaw Bay. The park also offers excellent fishing, canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, and hunting opportunities.

And see the map and book campsites here.

View Zack’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Fuji X-series slideshow.

More state parks and more incredible Michigan wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Sunset over Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains

Sunset over Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains, photo by John McCormick

USA Today is polling their readers to see what they think the 10 best state parks in the nation are. The entry page for the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park says:

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, or the “Porkies” as its known to frequent visitors, encompasses 60,000 acres of lakes, rivers and virgin forest. The park offers camping on the shores of Lake Superior, 90 miles of hiking trails, kayak rentals, mountain biking and, in the winter, access to the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Mich. is currently ranked #2 of 20.

You can click here to vote if you’re so inclined.

John took this evening shot in October 2014 near the east end off the Lake of the Clouds. View it bigger on Flickr, see more staggering photos in his Autumn in Michigan slideshow, and definitely follow him on Facebook at Michigan Nut Photography.

You can click to visit the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park website and get all kinds of Porcupine Mountains rivers, falls and views on Michigan in Pictures.

Ice Curtains on Grand Island, Munising, MI

Ice Curtains on Grand Island, Munising, MI, photo by Carl TerHaar

Seems fitting to stay at Grand Island for another day. With a few exceptions, most of Michigan is above freezing even at this early hour, which means it’s time to say goodbye to winter and icy excursions. What a winter!!

View Carl’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his slideshow.

Haven’t had enough? There’s more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Its magic you know, never believe its not so

it’s magic you know, never believe it’s not so, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Shawn says the ice formations of Munising are amazing right now and says she’ll be sharing more soon.

She recommends you check with Munising CVB, the rangers at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or the Alger County Sheriff to learn if the ice is safe. Ice conditions are constantly shifting, and as you can see, these are massive structures of ice that you want to be pretty darned careful around.

View her photo background bigtacular, visit LakeSuperiorPhoto.com for galleries like Blue Ice and to purchase pictures, and definitely follow Lake Superior Photo on Facebook.

Now about that title, here’s Pilot singing “Magic” … never believe it’s not so.

Grand Island Ice Cave

Grand Island ice cave, Winter 2012/13, photo by Ash W Photography

A cool site that really gives you to tools to have a lot of fun in the Upper Peninsula is Things to Do in the U.P. #64 is visiting the Grand Island Ice Caves. After providing very detailed tips & information about how to get to these spectacular formations on Lake Superior off Munising, Brian Marticcui writes (in part):

For an intimate look at nature’s awesome power, sidle up to one of the columns and peer into its core. Expecting a solid tower of frozen water? Not a chance. These columns, especially the newer and/or sun-exposed ones, are actually made up of tiny beads and icicle-like formations separated by vertical channels that allow water to pass through them. It’s one of those mind-numbingly complex natural things that’s simultaneously random and orderly – kind of like a geode, but mostly frozen and not quite as colorful.

Inside, things are a bit more stable – and a whole lot more interesting, if that’s possible. For starters, many of the “entrances” to the caves are little more than elevated holes between solid ice columns. Depending on how the caves have set during the weeks leading up to your visit, you may have to scramble up a mound and squeeze yourself through an opening to actually gain access. (Clip-on crampons might be a good idea.)

Once you get in, be careful, both for your own physical safety and for the integrity of the caves themselves. The floors are often mirror-smooth, making regular walking a major challenge. Meanwhile, the ceilings can be low and/or spiky, and some of the most intricate formations – the fuzzy, mold-like bits of “shaved” ice that project from the bare rock of the walls and ceilings – are extremely fragile. Don’t be the guy or girl who ruins a particularly awesome formation for everyone else – those things don’t reform in their original states.

Since the caves’ outer walls aren’t comprised of a single, solid curtain, and blockages abound, you’ll have to enter and exit several times to get the full measure of their interior spaces. Be careful each time you do; in particular, don’t lean on any dubious-looking columns. Ice is heavy, and you’ll probably see the chilling remains of spectacular collapses. You don’t want to be under an unsafe formation when it goes.

Read on for much more and also follow Jesse’s Things to Do in the U.P. on Facebook.

Ash took this shot at Grand Island’s ice caves a couple of years ago. View it bigger on Facebook and see more of her work in her Upper Peninsula of Michigan gallery at ashwphotography.com.

PS: If you’re in the Marquette area, Ash be displaying February 17 through the end of March at Sweet Water Cafe in Marquette from Feb 17th to the end of March, just a few doors down from Zero Degrees Artist Cooperative where she has her work.

PPS: For a little discussion on current conditions on the crossing to Grand Island, see this thread on Facebook, and before you go be sure to talk to someone who knows something about it. Feel welcome to use that advice for anything that’s possibly dangerous that you know little about.

North Bar Lake

January 30, 2015

North Bar Lake by Sarah Hunt

North Bar Lake, photo by Sarah Hunt

Who’s ready for a break from snow & ice? The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore page on the North Bar Lake Overlook says (in part):

The name describes how the lake formed: it is ponded behind a sand bar. At times, the sand bar builds up and separates North Bar Lake from Lake Michigan. At other times, a small connecting channel exists between the two lakes. North Bar Lake occupies part of a former bay on Lake Michigan. This ancient bay was flanked by headlands on both sides: Empire Bluffs on the south and Sleeping Bear Bluffs on the north. Shorelines have a natural tendency to become straighter with time. Wave action focuses on the headlands and wears them back, while shoreline currents carry sediment to the quiet bays and fill them in. Deeper parts of the bay are often left as lakes when sand fills in the shallower parts.

The same process that formed North Bar Lake also formed many of the other lakes in northern Michigan: Glen, Crystal, Elk and Torch Lakes, for example.

Here’s more about the geology of the Sleeping Bear and more about North Bar Lake, to which I’d add that the lake is a great place for skim boards because the channel between North Bar & Lake Michigan is only a few inches deep!

Sarah took this photo last summer. Click it to view background bigalicious and check out lots more of her incredible and adventurous photography at instagram.com/oni_one_.

PS: If you’re still not full-up on winter and ice, might I suggest this pic she took in this area of Sleeping Bear last week!

Winter Tannins - Tahquamenon Falls (Tahquamenon Falls State Park - Upper Michigan)

Winter Tannins – Tahquamenon Falls, photo by Aaron C. Jors

Wikipedia’s entry on the Tahquamenon River explains that because the headwaters of the river are located in a boreal wetland that is rich in cedar, spruce and hemlock trees, the river’s waters carry a significant amount of tannin in solution  and are often brown or golden-brown in color. The Tahquamenon Falls are thus the largest naturally dyed or colored waterfall in the United States

View Aaron’s photo from January 1st bigger and see more in his Michigan slideshow.

Lots more about the Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures.

Get out there and see something amazing this weekend!!

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