July 23, 2015
Soo Ice Jam of 1953, shared by John Rodawn
The Ludington Daily News from April 9, 1953 had an article titled Try to Clear Soo Lock Ice with Freighters’ Backwash that said:
SAULT STE. MARIE MICHIGAN – Three powerful lakes craft churned their propellers in a huge “Operations Backwash” today hopeful they could clear the Sault locks of an ice jam which has lied up nearly one-third of the Great Lakes fleet. The Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw was joined by the Pittsburgh Steamship Company freighter Arthur Anderson and the Canadian freighter Manladoc (not sure this is the right name) in the operation. Shipping men and lock engineers decided on the maneuver after an aerial survey showed the Whitefish Bay area, above the locks, was entirely free of the ice formation which has passed into the proper.
The three craft were tied up side by side at a dock and then went into action, with the propellers turning at full speed to churn up the water. Officials were hopeful the backwash would push the icy mess about 800 feet upstream, against the current, and get the ice in a position so it would be caught in a cross – current and washed over the Soo Rapids and out of the locks area. Coast Guard Commander T. A. Dahlburg of the Sault area expressed belief the ice would be cleared by this weekend, perhaps as early as Friday. Dahlburg reported 90 lake craft were tied up above the locks awaiting passage, while 64 were tied up below the locks upward bound. He called it the largest concentration of shipping ever assembled in the Sault area.
Under Dahlburg’s plan to keep some traffic operating, only the most powerful of the lake freighters and carriers were permitted to make their way downbound through the icy slush in the American locks. The only upbound traffic yesterday was through the Canadian lock, seven vessels passing through while 17 came down on the U.S. side.
July 22, 2015
In addition to stalking the Petit Portal, it appears I am stalking Eric Hackney as well.
GoWaterfalling’s page on Gabbro Falls begins:
Gabbro Falls is on the Black River and is as impressive, if not more impressive, than its more celebrated neighbors downstream along the Black River Scenic Byway. This is a largely wild waterfall with no fences or barriers of any kind. It consists of three separate drops. When the water is high there is a fourth drop that is the height of the other three combined. The main drop falls into a narrow crevice between two large rock formations.
Gabbro Falls is relatively easy to find but there is some confusing information out there. The waterfall is also known as Baker’s Falls, and it is often mistakenly called Garbo Falls (gabbro is a type of rock). There is also a Neepikon Falls upstream, but it is just an unremarkable rapid.
View Eric’s photo background bigtacular on Facebook, see more in his 6-27-15: Gogebic County Adventures I set featuring photos of Gabbro Falls, Rainbow Falls, Potawatomi Falls, Gorge Falls and more! Definitely follow him at Eric Hackney Photography on Facebook.
July 1, 2015
The Slate River enters a deep gorge in a dramatic way with a sudden plunge down steep, layered rock. This drop, Kukuck’s Falls, is the uppermost named drop in a long and rugged path within the gorge. Slate River breaks evenly on the rock line and cascades down, jumping and foaming around, before landing in a small pool below. This waterfall is one of the only drops easily viewed from the east bank path thanks to a convenient bend, although the best vantage can be had riverside.
Park on either side of the bridge over Slate River, about 11 miles east of L’Anse, right on Skanee Road. Follow the river upstream past the lower falls (Slate River Falls, Ecstasy Falls, and Slide Falls) to reach Kukuck’s Falls. There is a path high up on east bank that lowers down to the waterfall, otherwise the more scenic route is right along (and sometimes inside) the river itself.
Click through for a map, more photos of these falls and descriptions of the others.
June 30, 2015
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.
GoWaterfalling’s page on Potawatomi Falls shares:
A very scenic waterfall along an especially scenic part of the Black River. An added plus is the close proximity of the equally impressive Gorge Falls. These are two of the most impressive falls on the Black River and are also the two easiest to access.
Potawatomi Falls is just upstream of Gorge Falls and is reached from the same parking area. Potawatomi is the name of one of the native tribes. This waterfall is wheelchair accessible. Gorge Falls is just a short walk away.
In low water, the waterfall is segmented, with most of the water going to the right. In high water the river covers the entire rock separating the two segments with a sheet of white water.
In 1600 the Potawatomi lived in the northern third of lower Michigan. Threatened by the Ontario tribes trading with the French (Neutrals, Tionontati, Ottawa, and Huron) during the late 1630s, the Potawatomi began leaving their homeland in 1641 and moved to the west side of Lake Michigan in northern Wisconsin. This was completed during the 1650s after the Iroquois defeated the French allies and swept into lower Michigan. By 1665 all of the Potawatomi were living on Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula just east of Green Bay. They remained there until 1687 when the French and Great Lakes Algonquin began driving the Iroquois back to New York. As the Iroquois retreated, the Potawatomi moved south along the west shore of Lake Michigan reaching the south end by 1695. At about the same time, one band settled near Jesuit mission on the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan. Shortly after the French built Fort Ponchartrain at Detroit in 1701, groups of Potawatomi settled nearby. By 1716 most Potawatomi villages were located in an area between Milwaukee to Detroit. During the 1760s they expanded into northern Indiana and central Illinois.
Land cessions to the Americans began in 1807 and during the next 25 years drastically reduced their territory. Removal west of the Mississippi occurred between 1834 and 1842. The Potawatomi were removed in two groups: the Prairie and Forest Bands from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin went to Council Bluffs in southwest Iowa; and the Potawatomi of the Woods (Michigan and Indian bands) were relocated to eastern Kansas near Osawatomie.
PS: David is the author of Waterfalling in Wisconsin: The Complete Guide to Waterfalls in the Badger State. I’m seeing a bunch of photos of Michigan waterfalls, so (maybe) stay tuned!
June 19, 2015
While I’ve shared numerous photos from the Soo Locks, I’ve never provided the history of one of Michigan’s defining marvels. The Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau has a brief Soo Locks history:
In 1797, the Northwest Fur Company constructed a navigation lock 38 feet long on the Canadian side of the river for small boats. This lock remained in use until destroyed in the War of 1812. Freight and boats were again portaged around the rapids.
Congress passed an act in 1852 granting 750,000 acres of public land to the State of Michigan as compensation to the company that would build a lock permitting waterborne commerce between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. The Fairbanks Scale Company, which had extensive mining interests in the Upper Penninsula, undertook this challenging construction project in 1853.
In spite of adverse conditions, Fairbanks’ aggressive accountant, Charles T. Harvey, completed a system of two locks, in tandem, each 350 feet long, within the 2 year deadline set by the State of Michigan. On May 31, 1855, the locks were turned over to the state and designated as the State Lock.
The federal government took control of the property and the lock system in the 1870’s. Their stewardship continues today, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Soo Locks are the busiest locks in the world, and include the largest lock in the Western Hemisphere, completed in 1968.
You can click through for some more information and pictures, but definitely head over to the Detroit Army Corps of Engineers Soo Locks History page for a timeline of all the locks that have been built. You can also get an animated demo of how the locks work and look in on the locks via the Soo Locks Webcams.
The Waterfall Record’s entry for Manido Falls says:
Manido Falls did not impress me at first, at least not as much as the downstream Manabezho Falls. After seeing the pictures I had taken, though, I discovered what an amazingly beautiful waterfall Manido Falls is. Its beauty comes from its complexity. The waterfall itself is not very tall at all. It is wide, though. As the Presque Isle River tumbles down toward Lake Superior, it comes to this set of rocks that create a beautifully cascading waterfall. I think what makes me like Manido Falls so much is that the water has taken such an interesting course here, erosion taking its effect in an oddly unique way.
Add to it that the just as spectacular Manabezho Falls is only hundreds of yards away, and Lake Superior not much more distant, this makes for one of the most beautiful waterfall stretches in the Upper Peninsula.
Visit #2: When my father and I visited Mandido Falls in late September 2010, the falls looked completely different due to the significant amounts of rainfall in the weeks previous.
Read on for directions and some photos.