Splash-in Sunrise: Annual Grand Marais Fly-in

Splash-in 2016, photo by Gary McCormick

June 16-18, 2017 the Grand Marais Pilots Association will host the 17th Annual Splash-in on Grand Marais Bay on behalf of the National Seaplane Pilots Association. Seaplanes from all over the US and Canada are invited to attend this three day festival with arrivals on Friday, activities and competitions throughout the day on Saturday and departures on Sunday morning. Click the link for details on events including the Water Balloon Bomb, Spot Landing, & Short Takeoff Contests!

View the photo background bigtacular and see more in Gary’s Sea Planes slideshow.

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Breakwall Sunrise in Grand Marais


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!

Agate Beach in Grand Marais … and Lake Superior Agates

Agate Beach Treasures Neil Weaver Photography

Agate Beach Treasures, photo by Neil Weaver Photography

Karen “Agatelady” Bryzs of the Gitchee Gumee Museum in Grand Marais shares a ton of information about Lake Superior Agates, part of a worldwide family of semi-precious gemstones that naturally develop when an empty pocket inside a host rock fills in with microcrystals, forming a totally unique pattern:

Most Lake Superior agates formed in a rift zone approximately 1.2 billion years ago. Rift zones are cracks in the Earth’s surface out of which molten lava flowed. Today, there are still rift zones at the bottom of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The rift zone that created Lake Superior agates started in what is now northeast Kansas and continued northeast into what is now the western end of Lake Superior. This hot spot domed up lava several miles high and eventually choked itself off. If it would have continued, it could have split the North American continent in half.

She offers some tips from her book “Understanding and Finding Agates“:

  • Scan the beach and look for the Iron oxide red color.
  • Look for rocks that show evident concentric banding.
  • Check for possible entrance and/or escape channels that allowed gases or originally escape from the cavity, silica-rich water to enter, and pressure formed during the agate precipitation process to escape.
  • Search for rocks with conchoidal fractures that give the specimen a more angular, irregular shape.
  • When the angle of sun is low on the horizon, walk toward the sun and look a distance in front of you to look for the extremely translucent red carnelian agates.

Read on for lots more and definitely stop in the Gitchee Gumee Museum if you make it to Grand Marais! (done it, loved it!)

View Neil’s photo of agates near Grand Marais bigger, see more in his slideshow, and view and purchase his photos at neilweaverphotography.com.

Grand Marais Splash-in

Splash-in 2014

Splash-in 2014, photo by Gary McCormick

Every year in mid-June Grand Marais holds their annual Splash-in where seaplanes/float planes come from the US and Canada for a weekend of fun. Gary was there two weeks ago and got some cool shots!

View Gary’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Grand Marais slideshow.

The Camelopardalids: A New Meteor Shower for May?

Milky Way Over Twin Lake, photo by Yooper Life Photography

EarthSky has a feature on the possible birth of a new meteor shower in May:

In 2014, an exciting new meteor shower – the May Camelopardalids – might come on the scene. And it’s coming up soon! It’s predicted for the night of May 23-24. This possible shower stems from Comet 209P/LINEAR, discovered in 2004. If the predictions hold true, Earth might be sandblasted with debris from this comet, resulting in a fine display of meteors, or shooting stars on the evening of May 23, and the morning of May 24…

The meteors will radiate from the constellation Camelopardalis (camelopard), a very obscure northern constellation. Its name is derived from early Rome, where it was thought of as a composite creature, described as having characteristics of both a camel and a leopard. Nowadays we call such a creature a giraffe! Since meteor in annual showers take their names from the constellation from which they appear to radiate – and since this meteor shower might become an annual event – people are already calling it the May Camelopardalids.

This constellation – radiant point of the May 2014 meteor shower – is in the northern sky, close to the north celestial pole, making this meteor shower better for the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere.

Click through for lots more about the May Camelopardalis including videos and charts of where to look!

Ken took this photo of the Milky Way over Twin Lake near Grand Marais in 2013. View his photo bigger on Facebook and see more on his Yooper Life Page.

More meteor showers on Michigan in Pictures!

Walking with the Icefoot on Great Lakes beaches

Winter morning on Agate Beach

Winter morning on Agate Beach, photo by Gary of the North(Footsore Fotography)

Ernest W. Marshall talks about a common winter feature along considerable stretches of Great Lakes shorelines, the Icefoot:

Air and water temperatures must be sufficiently low before an icefoot begins to form. The conditions favorable for icefoot formation are broad open shorelines gradually sloping below water level, and facing so that wind-blown spray is carried inland toward the shore to freeze. The character of growth of an icefoot differs during different periods of the winter. During the course of the winter the icefoot may suffer periods of denudation alternating with periods of accretion. The development of an icefoot can be held at one stage by the early freezing of fast ice offshore. An icefoot can be composed of any combination of frozen spray or lake water, snow accumulations, brash, stranded icefloes, and sand which is either thrown up on the icefoot by wave action or is blown out from the exposed beaches.

Observations of the icefoot along the shorelines of Lakes Superior and Erie indicated that the moderately steep portions of the shore were characterized by narrow terraces composed of frozen slush and brash thrown up by storm winds. The outer edge of this icefoot was often cusp-like in form, resulting from the mechanical and melting action of the waves. The inner portions of the cusps acted to concentrate the wave action, forming blowholes which threw spray back on the icefoot.

You can click to read more.

Gary took this photo at one of my favorite places in Michigan: Agate Beach on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Michigan. In the distance is Grand Sable Dunes and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. View his photo big as Lake Superior and see more in his Grand Marais Michigan slideshow including a shot of a staggeringly huge ice mound!

Lots more Grand Sable Dunes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore & winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Sunrise Splash-in

Splash-in 2013

Splash-in 2013, photo by Gary of the North(Footsore Fotography

Check Gary’s photo out big as the sky and see more in his Grand Marais Michigan slideshow.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Grand Marais, Michigan

Grand Marais Harbor Outer Light Station

Grand Marais Harbor Outer Light Station, photo by Gary of the North

The Michigan Historical Marker at Grand Marais reads:

Grand Marais, which is among Michigan’s oldest place names, received its name from French explorers, missionaries and traders who passed here in the 1600s. “Marais” in this case was a term used by the voyaguers to designate a harbor of refuge. In the 1800s Lewis Cass, Henry Schoolcraft and Douglass Houghton also found the sheltering harbor a welcome stopping place. Grand Marais’s permanent settlement dates from the 1860s with the establishment of fishing and lumbering. At the turn of the century Grand Marais was a boom town served by a railroad from the south. Its mills turned out millions of board feet annually. Lumbering declined around 1910, and Grand Marais became almost a ghost town, but the fishing industry continued. Many shipping disasters have occurred at or near the harbor of refuge, which has been served by the Coast Guard since 1899. In 1942 the first radar station in Michigan was built in Grand Marais. Fishing, lumbering and tourism now give Grand Marais its livelihood.

Check this out big as Lake Superior and see more in Gary’s slideshow.

More Grand Marais on Michigan in Pictures!