Night Sky & Aurora from Empire Beach

Night Sky from Empire Beach by Imagination Works

Night Sky from Empire Beach by Nicholas McCreedy

The NASA/NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G2 (Moderate) Storm Watch for September 28-29th. This means that folks in Michigan, particularly in the northern half, have a solid chance to see the northern lights!

Nicholas shared some tasty photos of the Northern Lights from Empire Beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Click to see them in the Northern Lights/Skies of Leelanau County NW Michigan group on Facebook & you can follow him at Imagination Works on Facebook as well!

Dig into our posts about the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) on Michigan in Pictures for all kinds of tips & science behind this beautiful phenomen!

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Goodbye Summer

Goodbye Summer 2016 by Scott Glenn

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says that the autumnal equinox arrives tomorrow, Tuesday, September 22 at 9:31 AM:

The word “equinox” comes from Latin aequus, meaning “equal,” and nox, “night.” On the equinox, day and night are roughly equal in length. (See more about this below.)

During the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun’s center passes through this line. When the Sun crosses the equator from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox; when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox.

Scott took this photo on the final day of the summer of 2016 at the St. Joseph Lighthouse. See more in his massive Lighthouses gallery on Flickr.

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Remembering Greg Reisig, a champion of the Great Lakes

A Changeable Day on the Lake by Mark Smith

A Changeable Day on the Lake by Mark Smith

This week I lost a friend & mentor, Greg Reisig. Greg was my publisher back in the 90s when I wrote for his Lake Country Gazette out of Elk Rapids. He was a man with an amazingly gentle soul who could nonetheless be fierce & determined in defense of Michigan’s environment. Bill Latka of Oil & Water Don’t Mix penned a great tribute to Greg, who was a  board member of that organization & the co-chair of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC):

Since his early days as an environmental journalist and then for decades as a key protector of trees, water, and air for all of northern Michigan with NMEAC, Greg was a fearless yet gentle champion for the environment.

NMEAC has set up an endowment fund to create The Greg Reisig Prize for Environmental Journalism to celebrate his accomplishments. If you value the work that Oil & Water Don’t Mix is doing, you should know that Greg was a key part of it. I invite you to contribute to fund the award so that future generations will know how much he made a difference every day.

His support of the campaign to shut down Line 5 brought a kind focus and keen sense of optimism for the work that kept us all going. He will be dearly missed.

Amen.

Mark took this photo last October at the the Wilcox-Palmer-Shah Preserve just north of Elk Rapids. More from Mark at downstreamer on Flickr.

Island Dreams … North Manitou

via leelanau.com…

Clouds over North Manitou Island by Mary Westbrook

Here’s a simply stunning shot of North Manitou Island off the Leelanau Peninsula at the beginning of August.  Leelanau.com says that North Manitou Island:

…is managed as wilderness with the exception of a 27 acre area around the Village. Visiting the island is a primitive experience emphasizing solitude, a feeling of self-reliance and a sense of exploration. The primary visitor activities are backpacking and camping. Travel in the wilderness area is by foot only. Power on the island is provided by a photovoltaic array located in the Village.

North Manitou Island is 7-3/4 miles long by 4-1/4 miles wide and has 20 miles of shoreline. The topography varies considerably on the island from low, sandy, open dune country on the southeast side grades to the high sand hills and blowout dunes on the southwest side of the island.

I’ll add that it’s a super cool place to visit!

Head over to the Traverse Area Camera Club on Facebook for more photos by Mary from an amazing day on Lake Michigan! More Michigan islands on Michigan in Pictures.

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Beautiful Day at Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Saugatuck Dunes State Park by Terry Zweering

Saugatuck Dunes State Park by Terry Zweering

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says that Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers:

…2.5 miles of secluded Lake Michigan shoreline and 1,000 acres of steep slopes, rolling hills and fresh water coastal dunes more than 200 feet tall. The beach is a two-thirds mile hike from the picnic parking area.

The park’s major attraction are the long sandy beach and the 300-acre natural area, which contains a coastal dune system containing three endangered plant species. Nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers and hikers are the predominant day users.

The park, located in Allegan County, is relatively undeveloped. The land was acquired in 1971 from the Augustinian Order, who used the buildings as a seminary. When the state took ownership, the structures were used as a prison and state police offices.

More from the DNR & also check out the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance for more on the natural & human history as well as species found here.

Terry says that this is one of her favorite places to hike and hang out. See lots more pics in her Saugatuck Dunes album on Flickr.

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Ride the Wave

Ride the Wave by Julie

Julie writes:

Sunday evening the winds picked up and we rode down to the pier and I watched this boat come from the harbor out the channel and head towards Petoskey north. He hit some huge waves coming in and I don’t know how he ever made it.

Here’s hoping he did and that you’re able to overcome the waves of 2020 as well!! See more in Julie’s Coronavirus Times 2020 album on Flickr.

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Dune Days at Sleeping Bear

Dune Days by Mark Smith

Mark took this beautiful photo a couple of summers ago on the Treat Farm Trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Guessing it looks much the same today, but you should check it out just to be sure! 😉

Head over to Mark’s Flickr for more & here’s the Park’s writeup on the trail:

The trail that leads from the corner of Norconk Road into the woods is about ½ mile long through the maple-beech forest and will take you to the Treat Farm. As you reach the top of the hill, the canopy of trees opens up to a view of the farmstead. A portion of the original barn has been rebuilt on the original foundation.

Visitors are drawn to this intriguing farmstead for several reasons. The trail leading up the slight incline from Norconk Road holds an allure of its own… it seems to beckon passers-by. It piques the curiosity by conjuring visions of what might be at its terminus. It is also one of the most beautiful areas for spring wildflowers in all of Michigan!

Click for trail map & check out more great Michigan trails on Michigan in Pictures.

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Michigan’s Island King: James Jesse Strang

Flight from Beaver Island by Andy Farmer

Flight from Beaver Island by Andy Farmer

On July 8th, 1850, James Jesse Strang was crowned king of Beaver Island. Michigan History Magazine shared this article with me years ago:

Despite claiming to be “the perfect atheist,” Strang became a follower of Mormon leader Joseph Smith. When Smith was murdered in March 1844, Strang claimed to be the new Mormon leader, although most Mormons followed Brigham Young to Utah.

King James Strang daguerreotype 1856
King James Strang (daguerreotype, 1856)

Strang’s followers settled on an uninhabited island in northern Lake Michigan they called Big Beaver. The island had everything Strang and his followers needed: virgin timber, tillable land, a deep and sheltered bay and exceptional offshore fishing. It also was twenty-five miles off the mainland-a perfect place to protect Strang’s followers from outside influences and beliefs.

By the mid-1850s, the Mormon colony on Beaver Island boasted more than 2,500 followers. Beaver Island replaced Mackinac Island as the principal refueling stop for steamers, and the annual value of the kingdom’s exports (fish, wood and potatoes) was considerable.

The growth of Strang’s kingdom was not without controversy. Non-Mormons, called Gentiles, took exception with the Mormon settlement. Driven from the area’s fishing spots, angry over the establishment of a kingdom and Strang’s adoption of the practice of polygamy, the Gentiles vowed revenge. At the bequest of President Millard Fillmore, the U.S. district attorney prosecuted Strang for an assortment of unfounded offenses that included murder and treason. However, Strang was acquitted on all charges, and a year later he was overwhelmingly elected to the state legislature.

Strang ruled Beaver Island as an autocrat; he even had himself crowned king. But regulating every aspect of his followers’ lives led to his downfall. Describing women’s clothes as impractical and unhealthy, Strang decreed female subjects needed to dress in loose, knee-length smocks worn over modest pantaloons. Most Beaver Island women accepted the change, but a few refused to comply. When two women refused to wear pantaloons, Strang had their husbands whipped. The two men sought revenge and on June 16, 1856, they ambushed and shot their king.

On July 9, 1856, James Jesse Strang died from his wounds. He was buried in Wisconsin.

With Strang gone, enraged Gentiles charged onto Beaver Island and evicted the Mormons. After taking control of the Mormon printing office, the attackers printed a manifesto that boasted, “The dominion of King Strang is at an end.”

Andy took this back in 2016. See a lot more in his great Beaver Island, MI album on Flickr!

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Heading down to the beach on Warren Dunes

Heading down to the beach - Warren Dunes by Mark Swanson

Heading down to the beach – Explore by Mark Swanson

Pure Michigan says that Warren Dunes State Park:

…provides 1,952 acres of recreational opportunities along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan in southwestern Michigan. The rugged dune formation rises 260 feet above the lake and offers spectacular views and excellent for hang gliding. The park has three miles of shoreline, six miles of hiking trails and is open year-round. Pet-friendly shoreline.

Wikipedia adds that:

The dunes and beach area was preserved by a local businessman, Edward K. Warren, who originally purchased the site as a favor to a friend who had encountered significant financial difficulties. By 1930, the Warren Dunes area had been taken over as a state park

Head over to the Warren Dunes State Park website for trail maps, camping reservations & more.

Mark took this photo last weekend. See more in his June 2020 gallery.

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Electric & Perfectly Hectic

Electric & Perfectly Hectic by Snap Happy Gal

Electric & Perfectly Hectic by Snap Happy Gal

Heather says it was electric, and perfectly hectic which seems to me to be an apt description for Michigan’s wild 2020 ride.

See it bigger on her Facebook and definitely follow Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook and Instagram for more!

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