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! ūüėČ

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 ¬Ĺ 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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Lake Michigan: Port Oneida Edition

Port Oneida, photo by JamesEyeView Photography

Just one of the many staggering vistas that await you on the Pyramid Point Trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

View the photo background bigtacular and see more in James’ The Great Lakes slideshow.

PS: If you head this way the weekend of August 11-12, be sure to check out the annual Port Oneida Fair. presented by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Morning on the North Country Trail

hacking-site-camping-trip-february-2017

Hacking Site Camping Trip, February 2017-25, photo by Nathan Miller

Nathan took this photo in the Ottawa National Forest’s Trap Hills¬†along the North Country Trail in winter.The Trail winds 4600 miles through 7 states in America’s northern heartland. It is our longest National Scenic Trail, stretching from New York to North Dakota. Michigan holds more of the North Country¬†Trail than any other state:

Entering Michigan from Ohio the first completed segment of NCT is within the Lost Nation State Game Area near Pittsford.  The route then threads through a mix of forest and farm country and is a mix of road walks and completed segments. Off-road trail exists in Fort Custer National Cemetery (near Battle Creek), Yankee Springs State Recreation Area (near Hastings) Middleville and Barry State Game Areas.  In Lowell, hikers can walk down East Main Street and stop in at North Country Trail headquarters to purchase some official trail gear.  Heading north from Lowell, hikers will travel through two more areas with built trail before arriving at the southern boundary of the Manistee National Forest. These include the Lowell State Game Area/Fallasburg County park segment just outside of the city of Lowell and the Rogue River Game Area near Rockford.

Hikers get their first glimpse of the Northwoods in the Manistee National Forest.  Within Manistee National Forest, enjoy sandy soils that support a pine-hardwood forest and great hiking along the Manistee River Trail, which forms a great loop hike opportunity.  The NCT leaves the Manistee National Forest near the Hodenpyl Dam Pond which features a fabulous new (2009) trail along the Hodenpyl Dam Pond and Manistee River.  Continuing south of Traverse City to Kalkaska the NCT is routed through state forest land (the Pere Maruette SF) which offer a number of year round recreation opportunities.  The next jewel along the NCT is the Jordan River Pathway, which offers a scenic loop hike near Alba.  From here the trail heads towards Petoskey through the Mackinac State Forest.  North of Petoskey wonderful hiking opportunities exist in Wilderness State Park, where the trail follows the Lake Michigan shoreline. As one leaves Wilderness State Park and heads towards Mackinaw City the lights of Mackinac Bridge become visible.

…The U.P.‚Äôs prime scenery includes large lakes, old growth forests, rugged hills and the Lake Superior shoreline, all set amid some of the most remote, uninhabited country found on the North Country Trail.¬† From St. Ignace the trail heads through the eastern unit of the Hiawatha National Forest towards Tahquamenon Falls State Park (home to the second largest waterfall in the eastern United States).¬† Continuing west, the trail passes through Muskallonge Lake State Park and Lake Superior State Forest towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Within Pictured Rocks, enjoy the 43-mile Lakeshore Trail along the Lake Superior shore, one of the greatest hits of the entire North Country Trail.¬† West of Pictured Rocks the trail enters the western unit of the Hiawatha National Forest passing through public and private lands before reaching Marquette.¬† West of Marquette the trail passes through Presque Isle City Park, McCormick tract Wilderness, Craig Lake State Park, Copper Country State Forest, Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness and cuts through historic copper mining sites near Old Victoria.¬† Once entering the Ottawa National Forest segments run along the Black River canyon, towards the wild country of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The NCT leaves Michigan‚Äôs¬†Upper Peninsula near the community of Ironwood.

Read on for more at the North Country Trail website, including maps!

View Nathan’s photo bigger and see more in his North Country Trail Camping Trip, February 2017¬†slideshow.

Back into the Woods Day, 2016

the-runner

The Runner, photo by Scott Laidlaw

December 1st¬†is one¬†of my personal holidays, Back into the Woods Day, which of course is the day after deer hunting season ends when it’s once again safe to wander Michigan’s woods & trails.

View Scott’s photo background big and see more in his Explored! slideshow.

Along the Hiawatha Water Trail

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from Water

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Sorry this is a little late today and apologies to anyone who’s on Lake Superior/UP overload – today is my birthday and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore¬†is my favorite place in Michigan!

One of the items on my Michigan bucket list is to paddleboard or kayak the stretch of the Hiawatha Water Trail that passes through Pictured Rocks – or the whole thing! They say:

Gitche Gumee, the Ojibwa (Native American) name for Lake Superior, has inspired all who have stood on her shore or paddled her waters. Running 120 miles from Big Bay to Grand Marais Michigan on Lake Superior’s south shore, the Hiawatha Water Trail (HWT) follows a shoreline paddled by Native Americans, Voyageurs and early European explorers. Experience some of the most scenic paddling available in the Midwest at places such as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Island National Recreation Area, Hiawatha National Forest and other public lands. Stopping in at the communities of Big Bay, Marquette, Munising and Grand Marais, a paddler finds places filled with history and friendly people.

View Paul’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Dancing in the Air: Birding Trails & Bird Sanctuaries in Michigan

Egrets Dancing in the Air

Dancing in the Air, photo by Jiafan(John) Xu

I’m pretty¬†sure that these are¬†Great Egrets (Ardea alba)¬†but would appreciate confirmation from any birders in the audience.

On the Pure Michigan blog, Mallory King of the Michigan Audubon Society writes that birding is currently the second fastest growing hobby in the United States after gardening with over 47 million people identifying as birdwatchers. She shares some great Michigan birding trails and sanctuaries to help you get going with birding:

The Superior Birding Trail: This trail covers 150 miles in the Upper Peninsula from the Seney National Wildlife Refuge to Whitefish Point; you can observe over 300 bird species here.

The Sleeping Bear Birding Trail: The SBBT West which the trial is commonly referred too, includes 123 miles from Manistee to Traverse City along the scenic M-22 highway and Lake Michigan shoreline; here over 250 bird species can be observed.

The Beaver Island Birding Trail: Located entirely on Lake Michigan’s largest island, encompasses over 100 miles of road and 12,000 acres of natural habitat; over 250 bird species can be spotted on this adventurous trail.

The Saginaw Bay Birding Trail: Also known as SBBT East, takes travelers 142 miles along the Lake Huron shoreline from Port Crescent State Park to Tawas Point State Park, the trail is home to over 200 bird species and an abundance of quaint Michigan towns.

Read on for a list of the sanctuaries and more at Pure Michigan.

John took this last month, presumably in the Keweenaw area. View his photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures!

End of the Rainbow along the Breezeway

The End of the Rainbow

The End of the Rainbow, photo by T P M

Thomas says that he got to the end of the rainbow, but¬†no Pot ‘O Gold. He took it¬†along the Breezeway in northwest lower Michigan near East Jordan Michigan. According to the Breezeway website, which Thomas is involved with and links to from his Flickr profile:

The “Breezeway” – a rural ride along C-48 from Atwood (U.S. 31) through Ellsworth & East Jordan, and ending in Boyne Falls (U.S. 131) – boasts scenic overlooks, great motorcycle & bicycle rides, recreational amenities galore, working farms & orchards, artist galleries & studios, resale shops, lodging facilities (cottages, campgrounds, B&Bs, motels, and a resort), retail and service businesses with superb customer service, and an epicurean’s selection of dining choices along the route.

View his photo background bigtacular and see more in his Sites Along the Breezway slideshow.

Lots more about rainbows on Michigan in Pictures!

Walking into an Autumn Rainbow

Walking into an Autumn Rainbow

Walking into an Autumn Rainbow, photo by Owen Weber

Perfect title!

I feel like I didn’t get a chance to say farewell to fall, so I’ll do it this week. The first is from my backyard, on the trail that leads to the Empire Bluffs in the¬†Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

View the photo bigger,¬†see more in Owen’s Michigan slideshow. and also check out his website at¬†owenweberphotography.com to view & purchase prints.

More fall color on Michigan in Pictures.

Passing Pluto

Charons Crossing aka Pluto

Charon’s Crossing, photo by Andrew McFarlane

Anyone remember Hipstamatic? This is a shot of Pluto in Dave Kirby’s cool installation of the planets along the TART trail in Traverse City (created prior to¬†the de-planetization of Pluto).¬†I don’t usually feature my own photos here, but I had to find something to celebrate¬†NASA’s historic 3,000,000,000 mile journey to Pluto:

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

Read on for more and definitely check out the New Horizons Mission at NASA for lots more about our mission to explore Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt at the furthest reaches of our solar system.

More science on Michigan in Pictures.

Welcome to May

Untitled

Untitled, photo by Amy Holley

Hope your May brings you promise and new growth.

Amy took this photo on May 1st last year. View it background big and see more wide-ranging goodness in her Outdoors slideshow.