Exotic Michigan: Beaver Creek Wilderness

Pictured Rocks Beaver Basin

Beaver Basin Wilderness, photo by Michigan Nut Photography

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore says that the 11,740 acre Beaver Basin Wilderness was created in 2009 and:

…includes 13 miles of stunning Lake Superior shoreline from Spray Falls on the west to Sevenmile Creek on the east. The wilderness is some 3.5 miles deep.

The Beaver Basin Wilderness offers opportunities for quiet, solitude, wilderness recreation, and spiritual renewal. Individual and small group recreation is available along 8.4 miles of the North Country National Scenic Trail and 8.5 miles of connector trails as well as 6 backcountry campsites.

The area includes three beautifully clear lakes: Beaver Lake – 762 acres, Trappers Lake – 45 acres, Legion Lake – 35 acres and five cold water streams: Lowney Creek, Arsenault Creek, Sevenmile Creek, Little Beaver Creek, and Beaver Creek.

Click through for more including a map.

John writes that this is one of the exotic places you can go without a passport. Gotta love that about Michigan!! View the photo bigger, follow him on Facebook, and purchase it and other shots from one of Michigan’s coolest places in the Pictured Rocks gallery on his website. There’s a couple other photos of this feature including one from the cliffs above.

Here’s a video John took nearby too…

Union Gorge Falls

For some reason this post went to May 26th when I published it this morning. Not sure what I did, but I will try not to do it again!

Union Gorge Waterfalls

Union River Waterfalls, photo by David Clark

Every time I think I know every waterfall in Michigan, one more comes a long. Great Lakes Waterfall Adventures shares that Little Union Gorge Falls is:

Located inside an outpost campground off of South Boundary Rd. in the beautiful Porcupine Mountains State Park, the Union Gorge Falls slide shallow water over a 100 plus foot drop in a forested setting. It is a short hike to reach the start of the falls, and the trail follows the river bank for a quarter mile, intersecting several times with the Union Mine Interpretive Trail. Several sections of 10-25 feet highlight the area, thin water most of the year, most likely the best time to visit is in the spring.

…The first long drop has a small, three foot deep pool below it, adding to the calm of the area.

View the photo background bigtacular, see more in his Waterfalls slideshow, and check out David’s blog for a report with more from the Porcupine Mountains!

Along the Hiawatha Water Trail

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from Water

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Sorry this is a little late today and apologies to anyone who’s on Lake Superior/UP overload – today is my birthday and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is my favorite place in Michigan!

One of the items on my Michigan bucket list is to paddleboard or kayak the stretch of the Hiawatha Water Trail that passes through Pictured Rocks – or the whole thing! They say:

Gitche Gumee, the Ojibwa (Native American) name for Lake Superior, has inspired all who have stood on her shore or paddled her waters. Running 120 miles from Big Bay to Grand Marais Michigan on Lake Superior’s south shore, the Hiawatha Water Trail (HWT) follows a shoreline paddled by Native Americans, Voyageurs and early European explorers. Experience some of the most scenic paddling available in the Midwest at places such as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Island National Recreation Area, Hiawatha National Forest and other public lands. Stopping in at the communities of Big Bay, Marquette, Munising and Grand Marais, a paddler finds places filled with history and friendly people.

View Paul’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Dive in, but look before you leap

High Dive

High Dive into Lake Superior, photo by Craig

I want to say some things about this photo.

First and foremost, how incredibly awesome is someone to leap into Lake Superior any time of the year? Pretty doggone awesome is the answer, and if you’re wanting to go into Michigan’s coldest lake, August (when this photo was taken) is a pretty good time!

On Michigan in Pictures I post a lot of photos of people doing amazing things in this four-season playground we are blessed with. While summertime is certainly the best season for flamboyant fun, in June especially, the waters of Michigan’s Great Lakes can get very cold. Cold enough to kill as this tragic story from Marquette earlier this month illustrates.

My safety tips would be to really check water you’re leaping into for depth, obstacles, temperature, and whenever possible ASK A LOCAL what they think about whatever ridiculousness you’re considering. Chances are they know a thing or two about currents, weather patterns, or at least a good place to grab a bite and a beverage after your epic stunt.

Remember – having fun is what it’s all about, so figure out how to do it right and then DO IT!

View Craig’s photo bigger, view & purchase work at Craig Sterken Photography, and be sure to follow him on Facebook.

More fun on Michigan in Pictures!

Flower Friday: Yellow Lady’s Slippers

Yikes! I got the link for the Michigan Wildflowers database wrong!

Yellow Slippers

Yellow Lady’s Slippers, photo by Rick Lanting

While I was gathering info for today’s post I came across a really cool resource! MichiganWildflowers.com michwildflowers.com is an online photo database of Michigan’s wildflowers curated by Charles and Diane Peirce that lists 545 Michigan wildflowers and lets you (very quickly) click among them. With multiple photos for each wildflower, it’s pretty darn useful.

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center says that the Yellow Lady’s-slipper Orchid (Cypripedium parviflorum):

…is easily distinguished from others by its large yellow lip, or slipper. It grows up to 2 feet tall and has large, strongly veined leaves 6–8 inches long and half as wide. It has a flower, sometimes 2, at the end of the stem, cream-colored to golden-yellow. Flowers have 3 sepals, greenish-yellow to brownish-purple, the upper sepal larger, usually erect, and hanging over the blossom.

Rick took this photo last weekend at Mill Creek State Park using the Hipstamatic app. View it bigger and see more in his Michigan wildflowers slideshow.

Know Your Michigan Fish: Northern Pike (Esox lucius)

Michigan Northern Pike Esox lucius

Northern Pike (Esox lucius), photo by Isle Royale National Park

The Michigan DNR’s Northern Pike page has this to say about this apex predator of the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland lakes:

As predators, northern pike can have significant impact on their prey species. As with muskies, pike lurk in the cover of vegetation in the lake’s clear, shallow, warm waters near shore, although they retreat somewhat deeper in midsummer. Pike consume large numbers of smaller fish – about 90 percent of their diet – but seem willing to supplement their diet with any living creature their huge jaws can surround, including frogs, crayfish, waterfowl, rodents, and other small mammals. Their preferred food size is approximately one third to one half the size of the pike itself.

Great Lakes pike spawn in the shallows in April or May, right after the ice leaves, and before muskies reproduce. As a result of their eating habits, young pike grow rapidly in both length and weight. Females become sexually mature at age three or four years, and males at two to three years. Beyond sexual maturity, pike continue to gain weight, although more slowly. Great Lakes pike have an average life span of 10 to 12 years.

Pike eggs and new hatchlings (which stay inactive, attached to vegetation for their first few days of life) fall prey in large numbers to larger pike, perch, minnows, waterfowl, water mammals, and even some insects. Larger pike have two primary enemies – lampreys, and man. Spawning adult northern pike, exposing themselves recklessly in the shallows, are vulnerable to bears, dogs, and other large carnivores.

Northern pike flesh excels in flavor, thus making them a doubly rewarding game fish. Since their skin has heavy pigmentation and an unappetizing mucous coating, most people skin them or scale them carefully.

This photo was one of Isle Royale National Park’s “Wildlife Wonders of the Week.” They noted that a five pound female pike will lay about 60,000 eggs. Two weeks later fertilized eggs hatch, hungry for microscopic morsels. Once to the fingerling stage, food scarcity may force them to eat their own siblings for nourishment.

View it bigger on Facebook and definitely follow their page for the latest from one of Michigan’s coolest parks!

More Michigan fish on Michigan in Pictures.

Port Crescent in Michigan’s Thumb

The Port Crescent Smokestack

The Port Crescent Smokestack, photo by Joel Dinda

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is ThumbWind, a blog about (you guessed it) Michigan’s Thumb. In A Ghost Town in the Thumb they tell the story of the town of Port Crescent that was within what is now Port Crescent State Park:

Walter Hume established a trading post and hotel near the mouth of the Pinnebog River in 1844. From these humble beginnings the area took the name of Pinnebog, taking its name from the river of which it was located. However, a post office established some five miles upstream also took its name from the river. To avoid confusion the town changed its name to Port Crescent for the crescent-shaped harbor along which it was built.

Port Crescent had two steam-powered sawmills, two salt plants, a cooperage whichPort Cresent manufactured barrels for shipping fish and salt, a gristmill, a wagon factory, a boot and shoe factory, a pump factory, a brewery, several stores, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, a post office, a depot and telegraph office, and a roller rink. Pinnebog employed hundreds of area residents. Others worked at blockhouses where they extracted brine from evaporated water to produce salt. At one time a this 17 block village boasted of a population of more than 500.

Read on for more and click for more about Port Crescent State Park.

View Joel’s photo background big and see more in his Port Crescent Vacation slideshow.