Chapel Rock in Winter

Chapel Rock in Winter

Live Anywhere, photo by Jay

When you think about it, it’s not only miraculous that the white pine on Chapel Rock in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore survives with barely any soil, but also that it endures winter after winter in the teeth of Lake Superior.

Jay took this shot on February 20th last year. View it background bigtacular and jump into his slideshow for some more spectacular winter photos from the Pictured Rocks.

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!

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!

Sea Cave on Superior

Sea Cave by Craig

Sea Cave on Lake Superior, photo by Craig

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore geology page says (in part) that:

During the Nipissing “high stand,” Chapel Rock and Miners Castle as well as many less prominent features (such as perched sea caves near Little Beaver Lake Campground) were carved into the Cambrian sandstone by wave action.

Quite the whittling job by Gitche Gumee!

View Craig’s photo bigger on his Facebook page and see more jaw-dropping Lake Superior pics on Craig’s Flickr.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Waterfall Wednesday: Spray Falls

Spray Falls in the Pictured Rocks

Spray Falls, photo by David Juckett

Go Waterfalling’s page on Spray Falls begins:

Spray Falls is the remotest, and perhaps the most impressive of the several waterfalls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The 70′ waterfall plunges over the cliffs at Pictured Rocks and lands directly in Lake Superior.

The falls is right on the edge of the cliffs, and the creek has not cut back into the cliffs at all, so it is impossible to view the falls from the front unless you are on the water. The cliffs are sheer for miles in both directions, so there is no way to get near the base of the falls without a watercraft. Lake Superior is too cold for swimming. :)

The Lakeshore Trail passes right over the top of the falls, and you can get right to the brink of the falls. Be careful because the cliffs are undercut and unsafe in many places. About 1/4 mile east of the falls there is a safe lookout point from which you can get a nice, but distant, side view of the falls. There is a sign marking the lookout.

Read on for more including tips on hiking in and photos from the top. You can get views like this on the Pictured Rocks Cruises.

View David’s photo background bigtacular and jump into his slideshow for more great views of the Pictured Rocks!

More summer wallpaper and more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures.

I am officially stalking the Petit Portal

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Sorry folks, but people keep adding these awesome shots of Petit Portal in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Near the top of my personal Michigan Bucket List is being where this kayaker is.

View Paul’s photo background bigtacular, see more in his slideshow and be sure to check out his website at the-woj.com!

More summer wallpaper & more Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures.

Under Petit Portal

Under Grand Portal

Under Petit Portal, photo by AllieKF

Here’s a shot from a place on my Michigan kayaking bucket list – Petit Portal (also known as Petit Arch and Arch Rock by some) and other cliff formations of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The Lakeshore’s Geologic Formations page begins:

The geologic formations of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are most spectacularly represented by the 50-200 ft. sandstone cliffs that extend for more than 15 miles along the shoreline. Sea caves, arches, blowholes, turrets, stone spires, and other features have been sculpted from these cliffs over the centuries by unceasing waves and weather.

The name “Pictured Rocks” comes from the streaks of mineral stain that decorate the cliffs. Stunning colors occur when groundwater oozes out of cracks and trickles down the rock face. Iron (red and orange), copper (blue and green), manganese (brown and black), and limonite (white) are among the most common color-producing minerals.

Geologic history recorded in the sedimentary rocks and surficial deposits of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is limited to two widely separated intervals of geologic time, the Late Precambrian, Cambrian, and Early Ordovician Periods (500-800 million years before present), and the Late Quaternary Period (two million years before present to the present).

You can read on for more about each geologic era, and I think that that this report by Lakeshore Volunteer Geologist Robert Rose (pdf) has some graphics that really help to understand how the layers fit together.

View Allie’s photo background bigtacular and check out her simply awesome Pictured Rocks photos – it’s amazing how huge the formations look from the water.

Lots more Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT: Atop Miners Castle

Atop Miners Castle

Atop Miners Castle, photo by Roger Dinda

On April 13, 2006 one of the most recognizable rock formations in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Miners Castle collapsed. The Lakeshore explains:

On Thursday morning, April 13, 2006, the northeast turret of Miners Castle collapsed. One turret remains on Miners Castle, the best-known feature of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The collapse was reported via cell phone by fisherman in the area, according to chief ranger Larry Hach. Most of the rock fell north and into Lake Superior, and there were no injuries. The lower overlook platform near Miners Castle appears to be unaffected.

While the rockfall at Miners Castle on April 13 was startling, such events are not rare along the Pictured Rocks escarpment. At least five major falls have occurred over the past dozen years: 1) two different portions of Grand Portal Point, 2) the eastern side of Indian Head just east of Grand Portal Point, 3) Miners Falls just below the (now modified) viewing platform, and 4) beneath the lip of Munising Falls (along the former trail that went behind the cascade).

All the rockfalls involved the same rock unit, the Miners Castle Member of the Munising Formation. Rock units are named for places where they were first technically described. The Miners Castle Member consists of crumbly cross-bedded sandstone that is poorly cemented by secondary quartz, according to U.S. Geological Survey Research Ecologist Walter Loope.

Rockfalls along the cliffs typically occur in the spring and fall due to freezing and thawing action of Mother Nature.

Joel says that this photo was taken Roger Dinda in 1961 or ’62 “…before Pictured Rocks was a National Lakeshore, before Miners Castle lost its second turret, before they put up the boardwalks and railings. In this photo I’m just as tense as I look. I am deathly afraid of heights and this was (still is) about the scariest place I’ve ever been.”

View his photo background big more in his Lake Superior slideshow.

There’s more Throwback Thursdays, more Miners Castle & more from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Michigan in Pictures!

Tranquility at Pictured Rocks

Tranquility at Pictured Rocks

Tranquility, photo by Michigan Nut Photography

John McCormick aka Michigan Nut shared this gorgeous shot from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore showing Lake Superior at its calmest.

View John’s photo bigger on Facebook, view & purchase photos at michigannutphotography.com and definitely follow him on Facebook for many more photos of the Great Lakes State.

PS: John’s Pictured Rocks gallery will knock your socks off!

Frozen February: 2015 3rd coldest February for Michigan

Standing against the biggest lake

Standing against the Greatest Lake, photo by Jay

The Grand Rapids Press reports that February 2015 was the coldest recorded for the city:

If you were alive in 1978, perhaps the similarity was striking.

Grand Rapids’ average temperature last month was 13.3 degrees, making it the coldest February in the city’s recorded weather history — a record dating back 37 years, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record was a balmy 14.3 degrees.

Overnight low temperatures dipped below zero eight times throughout the month, with highs not able to warm too much beyond the teens. In fact, the thermometer touched the 30-degree mark only four times when the seasonal average is just around freezing.

The Great Lakes region can thank the frequent blasts of arctic air for these records. Visitors to area beaches, too, should give the colder than normal conditions credit for some spectacular scenes of ice formations and caves along the shore.

Much of the state saw a near record cold as well, which has also pushed Great Lakes ice coverage near 90%.

View Jay’s photo big as the biggest lake and jump into his slideshow for some absolutely stunning shots from the Pictured Rocks shoreline in mid-February.

More winter wallpaper and also more about the Pictured Rocks.