Autumn’s Chapel

Chapel Rock in Fall

chapel rock, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Here’s a cool picture from way back in 2006 of what I think is definitely one of the 7 wonders of Michigan: Chapel Rock in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The Lucky Tree of Chapel Rock features quite a number of photos that I think can give you a pretty good understanding of this marvelous Michigan miracle.

Chapel Rock on Lake Superior has a single tree perched atop its column. By rights the tree should not be there: the small surface area of land on the top of the rock is insufficient to sustain a tree of this size.

There is hardly any topsoil, certainly not enough for an obviously thriving tree. How then does it flourish?

Look a little closer and you will see the answer – that rope on the right of the picture is not, in fact a rope. It is a system of roots, extending and stretching over the edge of the rock to the main bluff where there are nutrients and water aplenty.

Yet how on earth did the root extend over to the mainland? Did it slither in some triffid like way until it reached the other side? Is there a Little Shop of Horrors thing happening here?

Click through for the answer and some pics that make things clearer – including to my surprise one of my own! – from Kuriositas which looks like a pretty cool site.

View Paul’s photo bigger and see this and more in his slideshow.

More Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures? You bet!

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains, photo by Kristian Saile

Summit Post’s page on the Huron Mountains says:

The Huron Mountains encompass THE most wild and rugged territory in Michigan. It is a region of low, yet surprisingly rugged mountains, swamps, lakes, and high plateaus. It is because this is such a large and diverse region that I decided to devote a page to the entire range in addition to the two prominent peaks already on this site (Arvon & Hogback). The majority of peaks in this area are unnamed and for the most part inaccessible. I have spent many years living near them, spent countless hours and days exploring them and feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. The region has become increasingly popular with climbers in the past few years for its numerous granite cliffs. You’ll need a local to find them though:)

The Huron Mountains are the largest range of mountains in Michigan yet they are not listed on any map. The boundaries of the range are vague but generally include the area north of US-41 between Marquette and L’anse. This is approx. a 1000 sq. mi. chunk of real estate without a single paved road.

The Hurons can be divided up into three ranges. The Arvon Range includes the highest peaks, Mount Arvon (1980′) and Curwood (1979′), in the state of Michigan. The Arvon Range runs generally north-south in eastern Baraga County. The most rugged section, The Huron Range, runs northwest-southeast to the west of Big Bay in northern Marquette County. The highest peak in this region is Ives Hill at approx. 1400 feet. This part of the mountains has the most rugged relief, the highest waterfalls, and the prettiest lakes. Unfortunately a good chunk of it privately owned by the uber-exclusive Huron Mountain Club and is off-limits to the general public. The third region is the most accessible, the Marquette Iron Range. This region runs from Lake Superior at Marquette west to the Lake Michigamme area. Hogback Mountain (1200′), listed separately, is part of this range but numerous unnamed peaks to the west rise to over 1700 feet.

Read on for more and also check out the post author’s Michigan hikes – a lot of cool ones!

My friend Kristian took this in early October of 2011 while flying with his buddy Jon over the Huron Mountains. Click to view it bigger (if you can’t see it on facebook, try this link).

Another friend, Dick Huey of upwaterfront.com, researched the location for me – click the pic below to see it bigger.

The-Huron-Mts.-in-the-Huron-Mt.-Club

More aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.

Mission Hill, Spectacle Lake & Fall Color 2015

Mission Hill View Upper Peninsula Michigan

Mission Hill 3, photo by Susan H

Here’s a look-in on the current state of fall color in the northeastern Upper Peninsula. DWHIKE has this to say about the Mission Hill trail, which also affords views of Spectacle Lake & Monocle Lake:

Monocle Lake sits just inland from Lake Superior about a half hours’ drive west of Sault Ste. Marie. Along its south shore is a nice National Forest campground which serves as the trailhead for the days adventure. The Monocle Lake Trail heads east from the swimming area at the south end of the lake for little more than a quarter mile where it splits north and south in to the North Country Trail and the Mission Hill Trail respectively…

Directions to Trailhead: -Take Highway 221 north from M-28 west of Sault Ste. Marie. -Follow Hwy 221 for 2.5 miles, through Brimley, to Lakeshore Drive. -Turn left on Lakeshore Drive, follow it 5 miles to Tower Road on the left. -Follow Tower Road (which changes to dirt as you climb the hill) 1.5 miles to overlook and trailhead on the right.

Click above for a map where you can need both lakes and get more about the Monocle Lake Trail from the DNR.

Susan took this photo on Sunday. View it big as the sky and see more in her UP slideshow.

Lots more Fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Under An Autumn Sunbeam: Fall Color Explained

Fall Color 2015 in Michigan

Under An Autumn Sunbeam, photo by Owen Weber

As we wait for the fall color season in Michigan to kick off, here’s a look back to last October and my annual rework of one of the most popular posts on Michigan in Pictures, the Science of Fall Color. If you already know the words you can sing along – have a great weekend folks!

The Science of Color in Autumn Leaves from the United States National Arboretum says (in part):

Many think that cool weather or frost cause the leaves to change color. While temperature may dictate the color and its intensity, it is only one of many environmental factors that play a part in painting deciduous woodlands in glorious fall colors.

…The process that starts the cascade of events that result in fall color is actually a growth process. In late summer or early autumn, the days begin to get shorter, and nights are longer. Like most plants, deciduous trees and shrubs are rather sensitive to length of the dark period each day. When nights reach a threshold value and are long enough, the cells near the juncture of the leaf and the stem divide rapidly, but they do not expand. This abscission layer is a corky layer of cells that slowly begins to block transport of materials such as carbohydrates from the leaf to the branch. It also blocks the flow of minerals from the roots into the leaves. Because the starting time of the whole process is dependent on night length, fall colors appear at about the same time each year in a given location, whether temperatures are cooler or warmer than normal.

During the growing season, chlorophyll is replaced constantly in the leaves. Chlorophyll breaks down with exposure to light in the same way that colored paper fades in sunlight. The leaves must manufacture new chlorophyll to replace chlorophyll that is lost in this way. In autumn, when the connection between the leaf and the rest of the plant begins to be blocked off, the production of chlorophyll slows and then stops. In a relatively short time period, the chlorophyll disappears completely.

This is when autumn colors are revealed. Chlorophyll normally masks the yellow pigments known as xanthophylls and the orange pigments called carotenoids — both then become visible when the green chlorophyll is gone. These colors are present in the leaf throughout the growing season. Red and purple pigments come from anthocyanins. In the fall anthocyanins are manufactured from the sugars that are trapped in the leaf. In most plants anthocyanins are typically not present during the growing season.

As autumn progresses, the cells in the abscission layer become more dry and corky. The connections between cells become weakened, and the leaves break off with time. Many trees and shrubs lose their leaves when they are still very colorful. Some plants retain a great deal of their foliage through much of the winter, but the leaves do not retain their color for long. Like chlorophyll, the other pigments eventually break down in light or when they are frozen. The only pigments that remain are tannins, which are brown.

Temperature, sunlight, and soil moisture greatly influence the quality of the fall foliage display. Abundant sunlight and low temperatures after the time the abscission layer forms cause the chlorophyll to be destroyed more rapidly. Cool temperatures, particularly at night, combined with abundant sunlight, promote the formation of more anthocyanins. Freezing conditions destroy the machinery responsible for manufacturing anthocyanins, so early frost means an early end to colorful foliage. Drought stress during the growing season can sometimes trigger the early formation of the abscission layer, and leaves may drop before they have a chance to develop fall coloration. A growing season with ample moisture that is followed by a rather dry, cool, sunny autumn that is marked by warm days and cool but frostless nights provides the best weather conditions for development of the brightest fall colors. Lack of wind and rain in the autumn prolongs the display; wind or heavy rain may cause the leaves to be lost before they develop their full color potential.

OK, sorry to share a novel with you. Might have to change the name of the blog to “Michigan in a Whole Bunch of Words with a Picture.”

Owen took this last October in Glen Arbor. View it bigger and see more in his Michigan slideshow.

PS: I have to think that it doesn’t look the same there this year due to the crazy storm they are still recovering from.

Tons more fall photos on Michigan in Pictures.

Bond Falls in Autumn

Bond Falls in Autumn

Bond Falls in Autumn, photo by Tom Mortenson

Here’s the latest cover photo for Michigan in Pictures, one of many in the Michigan Cover Photos group on Flickr!

It’s from early October of 2013, and while it looks like our color season could be pretty darned good, it’s probably a little late this year. Via the Freep, it looks like the recent run of “Indian summer” is pushing color back:

The Upper Peninsula, which usually has plenty of fall color by this time in September, is still lolling around in green, reports Pure Michigan and the Foliage Network, which monitor fall color in the state.The very western Upper Peninsula as of Thursday was showing between 12% to 30% color, but the rest of the state had none.

Things seem to be about two weeks or more behind schedule.

Still, “cooler weather has taken hold and should help to get things going,” reports Market Rzonca, who runs The Foliage Network.

Pure Michigan’s fall color blog (Michigan.org/fall) predicted that peak fall color in the U.P., including Mackinac Island, is not expected to hit for about three weeks. Same with Alpena, Charlevoix and Ludington. Farther south, the show will come even later.

View Tom’s photo background bigtacular and check out more of Tom’s Michigan waterfall photos.

There’s more fall wallpaper, more about fall color, and more on Bond Falls on Michigan in Pictures.

 

Summer to Fall

Looking Out at Pictured Rocks

Looking Out, photo by Peter Tinetti

What a perfect photo from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for the last day of summer as we prepare to make the leap into autumn tomorrow.

View this photo background bigtacular and see more in Peter’s slideshow.

There’s more Pictured Rocks and more Fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Behind every great photo…

Hogback Mountain Photographer

Hogback Mountain, photo by Chelsea Graham

Shots like these help me remember that behind every great photo, there’s someone who went through all the time and effort to get out there and take it.

Thanks so much to all of you photographers who share your work with me – there’s no way I could do what I do without all of your time, effort and love of Michigan.

View Chelsea’s photo background big and see more in her Michigan slideshow.

More fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Eastbound from Autumn

Eastbound Tracks along Huron River Drive by Lawrence Lazare

Eastbound Tracks along Huron River Drive, photo by Lawrence Lazare

It’s hard to leave fall behind…

Lawrence took this with an iPhone 4s using VividHDR. View it background bigtacular and see more in his Autumn 2013 slideshow.

There’s more fall wallpaper and more trains on Michigan in Pictures.

Lake of the Clouds from the Escarpment Trail

Lake of the Clouds from the Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountains

Lake of the Clouds from the Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountains, photo by Linda Carter

Linda writes that this photo is taken about 400 feet above Lake of the Clouds on the Escarpment Trail, which starts at Lake of the Clouds Overlook. She says that if you go the whole loop it’s 8 miles, but 2 or 3 miles along the trail you get the most beautiful views of the Lake.

Agreed!

View her photo bigger and see more in her Porkies slideshow.

There’s at the Porcupine Mountain State Park website including a map of the Escarpment Trail & Lake of the Clouds area and more Lake of the Clouds on Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT: the brink – tahquamenon falls

the brink - tahquanemon falls

the brink – tahquamenon falls, photo by Scott Jones

Reaching all the way back to October 2006 for this photo of Tahquamenon Falls taken with a Holga 120N.

Check it out background big and see more of his Holga photos right here.

More Holga on Michigan in Pictures! More Tahquamenon Falls too!