Farlane Friday: Fall Color from Sugar Loaf

Fall Color from Sugar Loaf

Fall Color from Sugar Loaf by Andrew McFarlane

Every so often I like to sprinkle in one of my own photos on Michigan in Pictures, and today is one of those days! I took this photo on October, 22, 2018 at the long-shuttered Sugar Loaf Resort on the Leelanau Peninsula. The ski run was called Devil’s Elbow, and you can see Little Traverse Lake, Lake Michigan, and South Manitou Island & Pyramid Point in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (shout out to the Lakeshore for yesterday’s 51st birthday!)

While the color isn’t as spectacular this year as 2018, it’s still pretty nice. Also, fun fact: when I was 11 years old an out of control man ran me off the left side of the Elbow. I slid over 100′ down a very steep hill, broke my arm & had to be pulled out by a rope with a snowmobile by the Ski Patrol. You know I was right back at it as soon as the arm healed!!

If you want to read the long & depressing saga of the ski area, head over to Sugar Loaf Resort on Leelanau.com!

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At All Costs

At All Costs (Sugar Loaf, 2016) by Andrew McFarlane

Most of the photos on Michigan in Pictures are someone else’s, but every once in a while, I’ll sprinkle in one of mine. I took this several years ago at Sugar Loaf Mountain Resort on the Leelanau Peninsula. The guy’s wife told me that he works on the really tall power lines and (clearly) has absolutely zero fear of heights.

I should probably add that if you want to support Michigan in Pictures, you can share it with your friends and also consider a small donation on my Patreon.

I often get pushback when I post things of people doing things that are dangerous, so let me stress:

  1. Do not try this.
  2. You probably aren’t up to it.
  3. Sugar Loaf is now closed to access (when I went, it was still owned by the people who owed me $8k).
  4. Gravity can kill you!

Have a great weekend & stay safe!

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Fall at Sugar Loaf Rock on Mackinac Island

Sugar Loaf Rock Mackinac Island

The Rock, photo by Sandy Hansen Photography

Here’s a color check-in from last week on Mackinac Island. The Mackinac Island State Park Commission says the following about Sugar Loaf rock romation:

Sugar Loaf, a 75 foot tall limestone stack, is the largest rock formation on Mackinac Island. When glacial Lake Algonquin covered much of the Island 11,000 years ago, Sugar Loaf was connected to the nearby bluff face (today called Point Lookout). Wave action slowly washed away the softer limestone between the stack and the bluff, leaving Sugar Loaf as a stand-alone feature. High water levels during the Lake Algonquin period left only the top of Sugar Loaf exposed, as evidenced by the small cave cut into the north face of the formation by wave action. This cave was originally on the shoreline of the lake.

As with other geological features on the Island, numerous Native American legends have been passed down relating to the origin of Sugar Loaf. One story relates that a young man asked the spirits for eternal life. In response, they turned him to stone, creating Sugar Loaf.

View Sandy’s photo bigger and see more of her Mackinac Island photos.

Also check out Arch Rock and the Devil’s Kitchen on Michigan in Pictures.

Sugar Loaf Rock on Mackinac Island


Untitled, photo by *Alysa*

I was surprised to learn that I haven’t posted anything about Sugar Loaf on Mackinac Island. Here’s a summary with help from Wikipedia’s entry for Sugar Loaf Rock, the Mackinac State Historic Parks geology page and some other sources I’ve linked to.

Located not far from the shoreline on the east side of Mackinac Island, Sugar Loaf is a 75′ breccia limestone stack. Thousands of years ago Lake Algonquin covered all but the center of Mackinac Island. When it receded, this tower of rock remained. The people of the region packed maple sugar into cone-shaped baskets of birchbark, and Sugar Loaf Rock was named for its resemblance to one of these cones.

Sugar Loaf was said by some to be the home of Gitchi Manitou, while another tale explains that the rock was the final form taken by a man who asked for immortality and received it, albiet not as he expected. A distinct profile remains in the limestone face of Sugar Loaf Rock. The rock was also used as a site of ritual burials. In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and his friend Gustave de Beaumont visited Mackinac Island. De Beaumont reported that the rock was filled with “crevices and faults where the Indians sometimes deposed the bones of the dead.” A natural cave passes through Sugar Loaf from side to side, but it’s too small for any but children.

Check out Anna Lysa’s photo out bigger and see more in her Mackinac Island slideshow.

More from Mackinac on Michigan in Pictures!