Friday Fall Color Update from the High Rollways

 

high-roll-away-buckley-michigan

High Roll Away, photo by Charles Bonham

“Of all the places I’ve worked here in Michigan, this is my favorite place to collect my senses, do a little meditating and get rid of my problems. It’s like a soothing balm.”
-Ray Westbrook, retired DNR on the High Roll-Away

Charles took this yesterday at the Buckley High Roll-Away overlooking the Manistee River, and it shows how autumn color continues to lag a bit behind in northern lower Michigan. mLive posted some satellite pics of fall color from NASA’s Aqua satellite earlier this week that give you a look at how things are shaping up. If you’re thinking about a jaunt, Pure Michigan’s fall color tours provide some pre-planned ideas all over the state. To get current fall color, I usually find it best to pick your location and call their chamber or visitor’s bureau. The bigger ones in Traverse City, Petoskey, Marquette, Grand Rapids, and elsewhere will often have a good idea about a large range.

MyNorth’s Jeff Smith has a great story on Buckley’s Big View that says in part:

Like any notable landmark without an official name, this one goes by several aliases—Horseshoe Bend Overlook, Lookout Point or the Highbanks Overlook—not to mention spelling variations. Depends who you ask.

Stand atop the Roll-Away and the scenery is for certain. From the lookout it’s 200 feet down, and before you the valley curls up like a vast bowl, taking in a viewscape of almost 130 square miles of dense pine and hardwood forest. The bowl’s rim, a ridge, runs roughly from Manton in the east, around to Meauwataka and Harrietta in the south (you’ll see the distant radio towers), and on the west to Mesick.

Here, more than a century ago, the expanse of treetops inspired awe among those who saw wealth in the more than 1.2 billion board feet of lumber in the upper Manistee River basin. Surveying the area in 1869 for the Manistee River Improvement Company, A.S. Wordsworth wrote, “This river is the great highway that penetrates the vast pine region of Manistee. … It is without doubt the best logging stream in the world, and all along its circuitous path, reaching far away, it seems to bear mute testimony to the wonderful wisdom of the Creator.”

Read on for lots more and here’s the map on Waymarking!

You can get Charles’ photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more fall color and fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

 

Last Dawn of Summer

last-dawn-of-the-summer

Last Dawn of Summer, photo by John Robert Williams Photography

Since I shared something from the first day of fall, it seems only fitting that I share something from the last day of summer! Here’s a stunning sunrise over West Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City by my friend John!

Click the pic to view it background bigilicious and get more from John, including professional portraits at jrwpix.com!

More Traverse City and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

 

Only Getting Hotter

Eye in the Sky by Noah Sorensen

Eye in the Sky, photo by Noah Sorensen

“The heat is rising and only getting hotter, ready to blow
I think I’ll pour myself a glass of water, let it flow
She’ll show you what she’s made of
Yeah she’s comin’ for ya
She’s gonna try to break ya
Yeah she’s comin’ for ya
No, she don’t mess around”
-Cage The Elephant, Mess Around

You know that when I pull out Cage the Elephant lyrics, I’m probably going to say something that will anger a slice of Michigan in Pictures readers, so be warned! Longtime readers will also know that I am pretty committed to saying what I want to say, so it’s probably good keep that in mind as well.

Speaking of warnings, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spends a lot of time looking at the Earth and crunching data from an extensive satellite and – in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Anyway, these folks – literally rocket scientists – have reported (based on science and data) that the Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate:

The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist.

This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.

But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium.

“In the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory,” Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. “It’s unprecedented in 1,000 years. There’s no period that has the trend seen in the 20th century in terms of the inclination (of temperatures).”

Read on for more. I’d like to go on record as a parent and member of the human race that I’m really alarmed by this, and also the fact that what appears to be a serious emergency is being ignored.

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

I would really like to share the video of Mess Around from Cage the Elephant because I really like the band. In the interests of responsibility however, here’s a 30-second video showing the temperature rise of the last 145 years:

Steps of the Sun at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Steps of the Sun

Steps of the Sun, photo by Kenneth Snyder

Here’s a shot from high atop one of the many dunes in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from August 1, 2012.

View Kenneth’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his Sleeping Bear Dunes slideshow that includes some awesome northern lights pics!

More dunes and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

 

Michigan Summer Resolution #23: Watch More Sunsets

Sunset on Grand Traverse Bay

Untitled, photo by Thomas DB

I was thinking the other evening that I need to watch more sunsets this summer. What Michigan summer resolution would you make?

Thomas caught this great photo of a young couple watching the sunset on Grand Traverse Bay. View it bigger and see more in his 6/1/16-6/3/16: Grand Traverse & Leelanau slideshow.

Horn Road Orchard

Horn Road Orchard

Horn Road Orchard, photo by Mark Smith

Up here in the Traverse City area we don’t have cherry blossoms yet, but I’ve been seeing reports that cherries and other fruit crops are in bloom in southwest Michigan. Expect the TC area to bloom in a week or two and please share what you’re seeing in the comments!

View Mark’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his East of Leland slideshow.

More spring wallpaper and more orchards on Michigan in Pictures.

Why is Ice Blue or Green?

The Blue Ice

The Blue Ice, photo by Charles Bonham

The Causes of Color answers the question: What causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice?

As with water, this color is caused by the absorption of both red and yellow light (leaving light at the blue end of the visible light spectrum). The absorption spectrum of ice is similar to that of water, except that hydrogen bonding causes all peaks to shift to lower energy – making the color greener. This effect is augmented by scattering within snow, which causes the light to travel an indirect path, providing more opportunity for absorption. From the surface, snow and ice present a uniformly white face. This is because almost all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back, without any preference for a single color within the visible spectrum.

The situation is different for light that is not reflected, but penetrates or is transmitted into the snow. As this light travels into the snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light. If the light is to travel over any distance it must survive many such scattering events. In other words, it must keep scattering and not be absorbed. We usually see the light coming back from the near surface layers (less than 1 cm) after it has been scattered or bounced off other snow grains only a few times, and it still appears white.

In simplest of terms, think of the ice or snow layer as a filter. If it is only a centimeter thick, all the light makes it through; if it is a meter thick, mostly blue light makes it through. This is similar to the way coffee often appears light when poured, but much darker when it is in a cup.

Click through for lots more about light & color!

Charles took this photo last March off Gills Pier on the Leelanau Peninsula when there was a whole lot more ice than there is this winter. View it background bigilicious and see more in his Leelanau Peninsula slideshow.

More winter wallpaper and more amazing ice on Michigan in Pictures.

Jellyfish Stormfront

Old Mission Storm Cloud

 

Untitled, photo by Tom Parrent

Tom shot this last night on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula.

Some staggering storming here in my hometown. Here’s some pics you might be able to see from my friend Kelly and some from my neighborhood.

View Tom’s photo bigger on Facebook and see more right here.

Passing Pluto

Charons Crossing aka Pluto

Charon’s Crossing, photo by Andrew McFarlane

Anyone remember Hipstamatic? This is a shot of Pluto in Dave Kirby’s cool installation of the planets along the TART trail in Traverse City (created prior to the de-planetization of Pluto). I don’t usually feature my own photos here, but I had to find something to celebrate NASA’s historic 3,000,000,000 mile journey to Pluto:

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

Read on for more and definitely check out the New Horizons Mission at NASA for lots more about our mission to explore Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt at the furthest reaches of our solar system.

More science on Michigan in Pictures.

Coywolves: Coyote & Wolf hybrids in Michigan

Coyote on Ice by Jakphoto

Hunting on Ice, photo by OnceJakPhoto

The Freep has an article about a new animal that is being seen in Michigan titled Michigan’s mysterious, misunderstood coywolves:

…a unique, still relatively unknown and misunderstood hybrid of coyotes known as eastern coyotes or coywolves. They’re mostly coyote, but contain a small percentage of wolf from an unlikely mating of the two species about a century ago. It may sound like an urban legend, but coywolves exist throughout the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, and have been confirmed in northeast Lower Michigan through blood-testing and DNA analysis.

Coywolves tend to be a little larger and heavier than their western coyote counterparts, but still well below the size of even the smallest North American wolves. They look like coyotes, though observers often note wolflike characteristics in their faces and fur.

…Coyote expert Stan Gehrt, a professor of wildlife ecology at Ohio State University, rejects the term “coywolf.” He doesn’t even like referring to them as hybrids. It leaves the impression that they are a near 50-50 mix of wolf and coyote, and that just isn’t the case, he said.

“They are eastern coyotes,” Gehrt said. “They aren’t really different from other coyotes, other than they have a little bit of genetic difference. I’ve trapped and tracked hundreds of Midwestern coyotes and a pretty good sample of eastern coyotes in Nova Scotia, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.”

But those, including biologists, who encountered coywolves up close in the Lower Peninsula say they had some wolflike features.

Read on for more including a photo of an actual Michigan coywolf. If you think you’ve seen a coywolf, you can report it online through the DNR or by calling the DNR’s Gaylord office at 989-732-3541, ext. 5901.

If you’re interested in learning more, Meet the Coywolf from PBS’s Nature is a cool profile of this animal that you can watch online for free.

Jim caught this photo of a coyote on the ice of Grand Traverse Bay last week. View it bigger on Flickr and jump into his slideshow for more icy goodness.

More Michigan wildlife on Michigan in Pictures.