Know your Michigan Counties: Kalkaska County

The Mountains of Kalkaska

The Mountains of Kalkaska, photo by Dale DeVries

The State of Michigan has 83 counties, and since I got a number of comments asking for more about our communities, I’ll try and profile them all … sooner or later. Here’s some information via Wikipedia about Kalkaska County, Michigan:

The first settler in Kalkaska County was an Englishman named William Copeland, who purchased land in the northwest corner of the county in 1855. The county was set off in 1840 and called Wabasee until 1843. The name Kalkaska is thought to be a Chippewa word meaning flat or burned-over country. An alternative theory is that this is a neologism or neonym created by Henry Schoolcraft, originally spelled Calcasca. Some theorists suggest this is word play. Schoolcraft’s family name had been Calcraft, and the Ks may have been added to make the name appear more like a Native American word.

Logging was the first important industry. The discovery of substantial deposits of oil and natural gas resulted in the construction of a processing plant by Shell Oil Company in 1973 and a major economic boom in the community.

Kalkaska Sand, the state soil of Michigan, was named after the county because of the large amounts deposited in the area from the glaciers in the Ice Age. Kalkaska County has over 80 lakes and 275 miles of streams and rivers. Much of the county is marshland. County elevation ranges from 595 feet (181 m) to about 1,246 feet. This makes it one of the more uneven counties in the Lower Peninsula.

The Pere Marquette State Forest covers much of the county. Glaciers shaped the area, creating a unique regional ecosystem. A large portion of the area is the so-called Grayling outwash plain, which consists of broad outwash plain including sandy ice-disintegration ridges; jack pine barrens, some white pine-red pine forest, and northern hardwood forest. Large lakes were created by glacial action.

The population was population 17,153 in the 2010 census and you can click to Wikipedia for more, visit the official Kalkaska County website, read about their big, annual event, the National Trout Festival (April) on Michigan in Pictures, and click to see Kalkaska County on a map!

Dale writes:

“With abundant snow cover yet and temperatures around 65 F, fog forms in almost white out conditions near large snow fields! This can lead to near zero visibility in a matter of seconds and makes for some amazing photographs!”

View his March 9th photo background bigilicious and see more in his massive Fern Ridge Pictures slideshow.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

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.

Below the Mighty Mac

Under the Mighty Mac

Mighty Mack, photo by vinnywalsh.com

Last week I shared how you can get driven across the Mackinac Bridge. Guessing you’re on your own if you want to cross the Straits of Mackinac at this level!

Vinny took this photo on Christmas Eve of 2005. If you want to check in with the current scene, the Mackinac Bridge Authority webcams have you covered with three different views.

Check his photo out bigger and see more at vinnywalsh.com.

Much more Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures.

Deer Michigan, I Love You

Deer Tracks - Kitch-iti-Kipi

Deer Tracks – Kitch-iti-Kipi, photo by John McCormick/Michigan Nut

Happy Valentines Day to all of you! I love Michigan even more than stupid puns. 

Someone else who loves this state is my friend John McCormick of Michigan Nut Photography. He’s on quite a tear right now with photos on many Pure Michigan billboards and being featured as an Instagram must-follow for Michigan lovers.

Kitch-iti-kipi means “The Big Spring” and it’s located in Palms Book State Park near Manistique. The park page shares what I’m realizing is kind of a dark story for Valentine’s Day. I do have past Valentine’s Day posts that are sweeter.

The legend of Kitch-iti-kipi is said to be about a young chieftain whose girlfriend got the best of him. He told her he loved her far above the other dark-haired maidens dancing near his birch bark wigwam. Prove it, she insisted. As a test of his devotion, she declared that he must set sail in his canoe on the pool deep in the conifer swamp. He was to catch her from his canoe as she leaped from an overhanging bough. His canoe overturned in the icy waters and he drowned. It turns out that the maiden was back at the village laughing at his foolish quest. According to legend, the Spring was named Kitch-itikipi in memory of the young chieftain who went to his death in the icy waters in an attempt to satisfy the vain caprice of his ladylove.

John observes that the deer that winter in this cedar swamp have a never ending supply of “Kitch-iti-Kipi Spring water.” View the photo bigger on Facebook, dive into his slideshow for some stunning winter shots from the UP, follow him at Michigan Nut Photography, and purchase photos from his website if you’re so inclined.

PS: I shared a summertime pic by John of Kitch-iti-Kipi with more info about this hidden Michigan gem!

Back into the freezer, Michigan

Ice Palace Grand Haven Lighthouse

Winter Wonderland, photo by David Behrens

mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa says that severe & sustained cold temps plus heavy lake effect snow are coming to Michigan this week:

Most of the heavy lake effect this winter has come on a northwest wind. The lake effect this week will be brought by a more northerly wind. So the lake effect will fall closer to the Lake Michigan shoreline. The heaviest snow will likely fall in the far southwest corner of Lower Michigan from St. Joseph to Michigan City, IN and South Bend, IN. Also heavy lake effect should fall from Traverse City, Leelanau County and southward to just west of Cadillac.

The heaviest areas of lake effect snow should easily have 6″ of snow, with spots getting up to a foot of snow.

…No area will escape the deep cold. This cold snap won’t be like the other cold snaps this winter that only lasted a few days. This cold snap will start Tuesday and gradually get colder each day into next weekend. By the time temperatures bottom out this weekend, we’ll freeze with highs in the teens and low temperatures in the single digits above or below zero.

The wind will push wind chill temperatures down to -10° to -20° at times in the second half of the week.

David took this last winter at Grand Haven. Check it out bigger and see more in his Home Sweet Home slideshow.

More about the Grand Haven Pier Light along with a crazy photo of the waves that make these ice formations on Michigan in Pictures!

A Snowflake’s Life: How Snowflakes Get Their Shape

A Snowflakes Life

A Snowflake’s Life, photo by Shawn Malone/Lake Superior Photo

“Lives are snowflakes – unique in detail, forming patterns we have seen before, but as like one another as peas in a pod (and have you ever looked at peas in a pod? I mean, really looked at them? There’s not a chance you’d mistake one for another, after a minute’s close inspection.)”
Neil Gaiman, American Gods

One of my favorite websites is EarthSky, and they explain how snowflakes get their shape:

The shape of snowflakes is influenced by the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere. Snowflakes form in the atmosphere when cold water droplets freeze onto dust particles. Depending on the temperature and humidity of the air where the snowflakes form, the resulting ice crystals will grow into a myriad of different shapes.

…Kenneth Libbrecht, Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, has made extensive observations of how water molecules get incorporated into snow crystals. In his research, he has observed that the most intricate snowflake patterns are formed when there is moisture in the air. Snowflakes produced in drier conditions tend to have simpler shapes.

Temperature also has a large effect on the formation of snowflakes according to Libbrecht’s research. Snowflakes formed in temperatures below – 22 degrees Celsius (- 7.6 degrees Fahrenheit) consist primarily of simple crystal plates and columns whereas snowflakes with extensive branching patterns are formed in warmer temperatures.

Bottom line: Temperature and humidity influence snowflake formation. The most intricate snowflake patterns are typically formed during warm and wet conditions.

Read on for more including some links & photos!

Shawn writes that she can totally relate to this snowflake’s imperfect life. View it background big on Facebook, check out more including a kickin’ video of the Northern Lights at the Mackinac Bridge on her Lake Superior Photo page, and view and purchase photos from LakeSuperiorPhoto.com.

More winter wallpaper and more snow on Michigan in Pictures.

PS: Congrats to Shawn for passing 200,000 subscribers on her Facebook page – wowzas!!

PPS: Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods is an incredible work of modern day fantasy.

Remembering the Michigan Blizzard of 1978

Michigan Blizzard 1978

Blizzard of ’78 – Somerset, MI, photo by Bill

The most extensive and very nearly the most severe blizzard in Michigan history raged January 26, 1978 and into part of Friday January 27. About 20 people died as a direct or indirect result of the storm, most due to heart attacks or traffic accidents. At least one person died of exposure in a stranded automobile. Many were hospitalized for exposure, mostly from homes that lost power and heat. About 100,000 cars were abandoned on Michigan highways, most of them in the southeast part of the state.
~C. R. Snider, National Weather Service Meteorologist in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Today is Michigan’s 179th birthday, but it’s also the anniversary of one of the most significant storms to ever hit the state, the Great Blizzard of 1978. There’s a cool video below with a lot of photos from the storm (thanks Steve for sharing). William Deedler’s article A Great Storm is Upon Michigan says in part:

While there are several contenders for the worst blizzard ever to hit the Great Lakes in relatively modern times (since 1870 when records began in Detroit), the immense and intense Blizzard of January 26-27th 1978 must rank at or near the top along with the Great White Hurricane of 1913 (my link) with its similar track and powerfulness.

…As the Arctic air circulated throughout the storm while it made its way over Lake Huron, the lowest pressure was reached around 950 millibars or a hurricane-like 28.05 inches! “A Great Storm is Upon Michigan” read the headline of the 800 AM EST Special Weather Statement issued by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Ann Arbor that Thursday /26th/ morning. Heavy snow and blizzard conditions were extensive as wind gusts in excess of 35 mph whipped the snow into huge drifts across much of Southeast Lower Michigan. Other areas of Eastern Michigan, Indiana and Ohio reported near hurricane-force winds, heavy snow and temperatures hovering between zero and 10 above, resulting in extreme blizzard conditions. These conditions later expanded further east into Pennsylvania and West Virginia and prevailed into the night (26-27th) across much of the Eastern Great Lakes, Southern Ontario and the Upper Ohio Valley. With the storm generating copious amounts of snow and very strong winds, whiteout conditions were widespread. All land and air traffic came to a stand still in the affected regions. Several major roads were closed for at least two to three days, if not longer, while clean up got underway. Numerous NWS employees were stranded at work, home, or on the road somewhere between the two. Several employees worked double shifts into at least Friday (some longer) because of the impassable roads with others simply unable to get to work.

The Blizzard Warnings were allowed to die across Michigan during the forenoon hours of Friday, the 27th. Record 24 hour snowfall totals from the storm included, 16.1 inches at Grand Rapids, 15.4 inches at Houghton Lake and 12.2 at Dayton, OH. Snowfalls for the entire storm (25-27th) included a whopping 30.0 inches at Muskegon (some of which was Lake Michigan enhanced), 19.3 inches at Lansing and 19.2 at Grand Rapids. Snowfalls were less over Southeast Lower Michigan (mainly because of the rain that fell for a period) and included 9.9 inches at Flint and 8.2 inches at Detroit.

Read on for more about the storm.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Kelso: The Wonder Years slideshow.

 

Baltimore River Ice Curtains

Ice Curtains on the Baltimore River

Baltimore River Ice Curtains, photo by Eric Hackney

Eric took this photo on the Baltimore River, just upriver from O Kun De Kun Falls. Although it takes place about 6 miles away in Munising, this is a good opportunity to remind you about the upcoming Michigan Ice Fest (Feb 10-14, 2016). Climbers & climbing enthusiasts from around the world converge to climb, socialize and learn about this winter sport. There’s plenty of fun for newbies too including guided climbs!

View his photo bigger, check out more in his Ontanogon County Adventures III slideshow, and follow Eric Hackney Photography on Facebook.

More about O Kun De Kun Falls on Michigan in Pictures.

Winter at Bond Falls

Winter at Bond Falls

Winter at Bond Falls, photo by Aime Lucas Photography

The Bond Falls entry at GoWaterfalling.com says:

Bond Falls is in the western U.P. on Bond Falls Rd, east of Pauding MI. This is the most impressive waterfall in Michigan with the possible exception of Tahquamenon Falls. The main drop is 40 feet high and 100+ feet wide. Above the main falls are a series of cascades and rapids that must drop a total of 20 feet.

The water level is controlled by a dam, and a steady flow over the falls is maintained for scenic reasons. Of course during the spring melt the flow is much higher.

Bond Fall is a Michigan State Scenic Site. The site was renovated around 2003. The old parking area was upstream of the falls, and a steep concrete stairway led to the base of the falls. The new parking area is near the base of the falls, and a level boardwalk leads you to prime views of the falls.

Read on for more including directions to the falls.

Aime writes: The majestic Bond Falls. Normally a short, easy walk but in the winter a very hazardous one. The steep steps were covered with a few layers of ice and the path was extremely slippery. It was totally worth it.

View her photo bigger, follow her on Facebook, and purchase prints and see more work on her website!

Many more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures.

Ice is Nice at the Menominee Light Lighthouse

Ice is Nice Menominee Light Lighthouse

Ice is Nice, photo by cohodas208c

I’ll never miss a chance to tout Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light as one of the premier resources for information about Michigan’s lighthouses, as well as others on the Great Lakes. He packs them full of the history including the political maneuverings and economic reasons for lighthouse development and closure and peppers in (sorry – couldn’t resist) historical photos and pictures from his own visits.

The entry on the Menominee North Pier Light details the lumber boom that led to the construction of the first lighthouse in 1877 and the development of the iron ore rich Menominee Range. He continues:

The town of Menominee continued to reap the benefits of the Range, and as a result significant harbor improvements were undertaken in the 1920’s, At their completion in 1927, a prefabricated octagonal cast iron tower was delivered by vessel, and lowered onto the pier.

The thirty-four foot tower was painted white, and integrated with an attached fog signal building. An elevated wooden catwalk stretched along the wooden pier to provide the keepers with safe access to the light during periods when waves crashed across the surface of the pier. The octagonal cast iron lantern room was outfitted with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens of unknown manufacture.

At some point thereafter, the wooden pier was replaced by a concrete structure with a forty-foot diameter circular crib at its offshore end. At this time, the fog signal was eliminated with the inclusion of an automated electrically operated signal in the tower. With automation of the light in 1972, the need for daily maintenance of the light was also eliminated, and the iron catwalk was removed from the pier.

The tower was painted bright red, and relocated to a white painted concrete platform in the center of the crib. Its elevated position on the pier provided a focal plane of forty-six feet.

While the catwalk no longer snakes its way along the pier, the iron tower still stands guard over the harbor entrance, its jewel-like Fresnel lens replaced by a stark modern 300mm plastic lens.

Read on for more at Seeing the Light.

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in cohodas208c’s Big City Breakout – Dec 2015 slideshow.

Lots more Michigan lighthouses and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!