Meanwhile, in the Frozen North

Fellow Sun Gazer, photo by Footsore Fotography

While lots of people are looking at their gardens and thinking about April showers & May flowers, here’s a reminder from Sunday in Grand Marais that for some in Michigan, winter is still very much in play!

View the photo bigger on Facebook and follow Gary at Footsore Fotography on Facebook for lots more from Grand Marais and the surrounding area.

May you find your pot of gold on St Patrick’s Day

Rainbow and fog bank over the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, photo by Ann Fisher

May you have all the happiness
And luck that life can hold
And at the end of your rainbows
May you find a pot of gold.
~ Old Irish Blessing

A very happy St. Patrick’s Day and health & good fortune to you all!

View Ann’s photo background bigtacular and see more in her 2016 UP slideshow.

Lots more St. Patrick’s Day on Michigan in Pictures!

Words escape me: Grand Island Ice Caves, 2015

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Words escape me, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Words escape ME on the beauty of the video that Shawn of Lake Superior Photo shared. The ice caves on Grand Island near Munising didn’t happen this year, a very unfortunate thing for everyone in Michigan who makes their livelihood from winter recreation. However, thanks to the magic of the video below, we can travel back to 2015.

You can view Shawn’s photo from winter of 2015  bigger on Facebook and purchase the photo right here. I can’t stress enough that you should follow Shawn and Lake Superior Photo on Facebook. Please do it.

Now here’s that video. Be sure to turn your volume up and watch in HD – there’s a “boom” from the ice sheet at 4 seconds that’s incredible!

Morning on the North Country Trail

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Hacking Site Camping Trip, February 2017-25, photo by Nathan Miller

Nathan took this photo in the Ottawa National Forest’s Trap Hills along the North Country Trail in winter.The Trail winds 4600 miles through 7 states in America’s northern heartland. It is our longest National Scenic Trail, stretching from New York to North Dakota. Michigan holds more of the North Country Trail than any other state:

Entering Michigan from Ohio the first completed segment of NCT is within the Lost Nation State Game Area near Pittsford.  The route then threads through a mix of forest and farm country and is a mix of road walks and completed segments. Off-road trail exists in Fort Custer National Cemetery (near Battle Creek), Yankee Springs State Recreation Area (near Hastings) Middleville and Barry State Game Areas.  In Lowell, hikers can walk down East Main Street and stop in at North Country Trail headquarters to purchase some official trail gear.  Heading north from Lowell, hikers will travel through two more areas with built trail before arriving at the southern boundary of the Manistee National Forest. These include the Lowell State Game Area/Fallasburg County park segment just outside of the city of Lowell and the Rogue River Game Area near Rockford.

Hikers get their first glimpse of the Northwoods in the Manistee National Forest.  Within Manistee National Forest, enjoy sandy soils that support a pine-hardwood forest and great hiking along the Manistee River Trail, which forms a great loop hike opportunity.  The NCT leaves the Manistee National Forest near the Hodenpyl Dam Pond which features a fabulous new (2009) trail along the Hodenpyl Dam Pond and Manistee River.  Continuing south of Traverse City to Kalkaska the NCT is routed through state forest land (the Pere Maruette SF) which offer a number of year round recreation opportunities.  The next jewel along the NCT is the Jordan River Pathway, which offers a scenic loop hike near Alba.  From here the trail heads towards Petoskey through the Mackinac State Forest.  North of Petoskey wonderful hiking opportunities exist in Wilderness State Park, where the trail follows the Lake Michigan shoreline. As one leaves Wilderness State Park and heads towards Mackinaw City the lights of Mackinac Bridge become visible.

…The U.P.’s prime scenery includes large lakes, old growth forests, rugged hills and the Lake Superior shoreline, all set amid some of the most remote, uninhabited country found on the North Country Trail.  From St. Ignace the trail heads through the eastern unit of the Hiawatha National Forest towards Tahquamenon Falls State Park (home to the second largest waterfall in the eastern United States).  Continuing west, the trail passes through Muskallonge Lake State Park and Lake Superior State Forest towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Within Pictured Rocks, enjoy the 43-mile Lakeshore Trail along the Lake Superior shore, one of the greatest hits of the entire North Country Trail.  West of Pictured Rocks the trail enters the western unit of the Hiawatha National Forest passing through public and private lands before reaching Marquette.  West of Marquette the trail passes through Presque Isle City Park, McCormick tract Wilderness, Craig Lake State Park, Copper Country State Forest, Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness and cuts through historic copper mining sites near Old Victoria.  Once entering the Ottawa National Forest segments run along the Black River canyon, towards the wild country of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The NCT leaves Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the community of Ironwood.

Read on for more at the North Country Trail website, including maps!

View Nathan’s photo bigger and see more in his North Country Trail Camping Trip, February 2017 slideshow.

Time for the 2017 Michigan Ice Festival!

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dairyland, photo by Wilkinson Visual

Wilkinson Visual writes that this photo shows David Hixenbaugh scrapping up dairyland on a blustery day out on the lakeshore. Great climbing, very unique features formed by the wind making for an exciting top out!

The annual Michigan Ice Fest runs today through Sunday (Feb 15-19, 2017) in Munising. It’s an annual celebration of the sport of ice climbing that brings together some of the world’s best climbers and experts for climbing exhibitions, seminars, guided climbs, get togethers and much more! Click the link above for all the details.

View the photo bigger on the Wilkinson Visuals Facebook and visit their website for all kinds of photos including this cool Michigan Ice Climbing Gallery.

Here’s climbing video from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by David (@alpine_elevation on Instagram):

Breakwall Sunrise in Grand Marais

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Break Wall Sunrise, photo by Gary McCormick

View Gary’s photo from February of 2012 background bigilicious, see more in his big old Grand Marais MI slideshow, and follow him for the latest at Footsore Photography on Facebook.

More from Grand Marais and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Hard Luck Lights: Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse

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Grand Island Lighthouse, photo by Steve Nowakowski

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light shares the story of one of Michigan’s hard-luck lighthouses, the Grand Island East Channel LightWork began in 1867 with the the clearing of a sandy peninsula on the southeast shore of the island:

As a result of the chosen site being both on low ground and close to the water’s edge, a considerable amount of cribbing was installed along the shore line to help stave-off erosion and undermining of the station’s foundation. Plans for the station building called-out a typical “schoolhouse” style combination dwelling and tower similar to that used frequently throughout the lakes. However, in order to minimize cost the building was to be of timber frame construction with wood siding, as opposed to the more common brick or stone materials used in such structures elsewhere. Painted white to increase its value as a daymark, the 1 ½ story dwelling incorporated a forty-five foot tower its southern end, and was outfitted with an oil-fired steamer lens with a focal plane of 49 feet.

…The combination of a wooden structure in such an exposed location, and its location on the low sandy area close to the water’s edge created an ongoing maintenance nightmare for the district engineers, with the station listed as one at which considerable repairs were taken every year for the following thirty years.

…Without any care throughout the years, the structure deteriorated rapidly. Without regular scraping and repainting, the once bright white structure had turned a dismal driftwood gray, and the cribs installed a hundred years previously had disintegrated completely, with the waters of Munising Bay lapping directly at the stones of the structure’s foundation.

Read on for much more including efforts that stabilized this structure and the lighthouses that replaced it after decommissioning in 1908.

View Steve’s photo background big and see more in his 2016 Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse slideshow.

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!