March 10, 2015
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!!
Haven’t had enough? There’s more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!
March 3, 2015
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.
Now about that title, here’s Pilot singing “Magic” … never believe it’s not so.
February 12, 2015
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.
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.
January 30, 2015
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!
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!
January 24, 2015
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
Lots more about the Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures.
Get out there and see something amazing this weekend!!
December 27, 2014
The Tahquamenon Falls are Michigan’s biggest waterfall and quite a sight to see in any season. It draws its name from the distinctive root beer color of the water which is created by the leaching of tannins from the cedar swamps that feed the river.
At its peak flow, the river drains as much as 50,000 gallons of water per second, making it the second most voluminous vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi River after only Niagara Falls.
Lots more Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures!
December 23, 2014
Sorry to mess up your holiday week with a bit of advocacy on the behalf of Michigan’s natural environment, but yesterday via Michigan Radio I learned of the very disturbing Senate Bill 78 that’s headed to Governor Snyder for signature or veto. The bill would forbid DNR from preserving biodiversity in forests and parks:
More than 130 scientists and the state’s environmental groups are calling on Gov. Rick Snyder to veto a bill they call anti-science. The bill would forbid the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from protecting native wildlife and plants on the pure merits of protecting nature.
- The bill would prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from managing state lands for biodiversity.
- It would prohibit the agency from managing forests for restoration.
- It would end work to eliminate invasive species.
- It would strike from the law the finding that most losses of biological diversity are the result of human activity.
Read on for more, and here’s the text of Senate Bill 78. If you’re so inclined, feel free to tell Gov. Rick Snyder what you think. I know that messages to our elected officials really do make a difference.
PS: As I read it, piping plover would not be impacted by this as the species with just 8,000 adults is federally protected. I just picked them because they’re a recognizable species that has benefitted from extensive preservation efforts, some of them in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan.