Waterfall Wednesday: Slate River Falls

Slate River Falls Splendor by Eric Hackney

Slate River Falls Splendor by Eric Hackney

GoWaterfalling is the premier source for information about Michigan’s many waterfalls. Their Slate River Falls entry says:

Slate River Falls is, unsurprisingly, on the Slate River. This is the largest of many drops over a three mile stretch of the river. This is a wild waterfall, with no fences, and the only trail is one left behind by the curious feet of others.

The falls are located along Skanee Road between L’Anse and Skanee, about 10 miles east of L’Anse. There is a sign marking the Slate River, so the falls are easier to find than some. The bridge over the river is just past Arvon Road. A few hundred feet east of the bridge there is a two track that leads to a small turn around. A rough trail starts here that follows the east side of the creek.

…If you continue upstream past the falls a few hundred yards you can find two smaller falls, Slide Falls and Ecstasy Falls (so named by kayakers). About 3 miles upstream you can find Quartzite Falls, Black Slate Falls and more unnamed drops. These falls can be reached by car. From Skanee Road head south on Avron Road, which is just west of the Slate River, for about 3.3 miles. Take the road to the right, which will soon cross the Slate River. A well groomed trail will lead you downstream to Quartzite Falls. Black Slate Falls and other drops are upstream and you just have to make your way along the river.

Detailed directions & more at GoWaterfalling.

Eric took this photo last summer. You can see a lot more of his adventures in his Personal Favorites gallery on Flickr & view/purchase his work on his website

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Cedar(eflection)

Cedar by Thomas Michael

Cedar by Thomas Michael

Just love this photo from Thomas – see more in his April 21 gallery on Flickr!

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Sunset over Munising Bay

Sunset over Munising Bay by Michigan Nut Photography

Sunset over Munising Bay by Michigan Nut Photography

The hits just keep coming from Michigan Nut!! See lots more from John on his Facebook page and view & purchase his work at michigannutphotography.com.

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Banded Iron Formation of Jasper Knob

Banded Iron Formation by Linda Grashoff

Banded Iron Formation by Linda Grashoff

Back in August of 2007, Linda & her husband took one of their many trips to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula & visiting Grand Marais, Ishpeming and Copper Harbor. She visited the Jasper Knob just outside of Ishpeming & writes:

It is a banded iron formation. The layers consist of jasper (the red rock) and hematite (the silvery rock). I’m delighted to tell you that some biogeologists believe that banded iron formations were formed by my old pals, the iron bacteria.

Head over to her photo blog for a lot more pictures and for sure check out her book They Breathe Iron for more about iron bacteria.

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Waterfall Wednesday: Kakabika Falls

Kakabika Falls on the Ontonagon River in Michigan's UP by Tom Clark

Kakabika Falls on the Ontonagon River in Michigan’s UP by Tom Clark

The Waterfall Record says that Kakabika Falls:

…is a series of small drops that adds up to a larger total. None of the drops are really that big. The largest drop might be 10′ at most (across a distance). So if you’re really into big waterfalls, Kakabika Falls will probably not be for you.

Kakabika Falls still has many redeeming qualities for those that don’t mind smaller waterfalls. First off, the falls are pretty easy to get to, requiring a short drive off of US-2. Second, the waterfall will probably be devoid of people. When I visited, nobody else was there. So if you want peace and quiet, this might be the place for you. Third, the short hike to the falls is amazing. When I visited, it had rained the night before, giving the hike to the falls a very “rain-forest” feeling, even though it’s not a rainforest. It was humid, and there were a lot of mosquitoes, so you’ll definitely want to wear bug spray! The most dangerous animals in Michigan aren’t the bears or cougars, but instead the really annoying mosquitoes and biting flies (not that they’re dangerous).

Head over to the Waterfall Record for directions.

Tom took this photo last fall. You can see more in his North Shore Waterfall Trip album on Flickr & see more photos from him on his website or Facebook page.

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Wolf Making the Rounds

Wolf Making the Rounds by Bill Joyce Ziegler

Wolf Making the Rounds by Bill Joyce Ziegler

Bill got some stunning photos of one of the wolves in a pack south of Amasa in the UP. He shared this & another in the Pure UP group on Facebook. Check it out! Bill also wrote an article last year about the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s plans to take wolves off the Endangered Species List in Michigan. This happened in January 2021 but it’s worth a read: 

Michigan DNR wolf surveys indicate there is a minimum wolf population of 662 adult wolves. This is a minimum population since young of the year wolves are not surveyed.

Cody Norton, Michigan DNR Wolf Specialist said the average wolf litter is likely about four to six pups based on research in other similar states. Norton goes on to say in other studied wolf populations “up to 60 percent of the pups may die in the first six months due to disease and malnutrition.”

Norton stated, “The 2018 survey indicated there are 139 wolf packs in the U.P.” (mainland).

He went on to say the average U.P. pack was about five wolves. Norton continues, “Packs are typically comprised of a breeding pair, pups from the current year, offspring from previous litters, and occasionally other wolves that may or may not be related to the breeding pair.”

Norton said surveys indicate, “Wolf territories range in size from 5 to 291 square miles in the U.P., with an average of about 45 square miles. However, territory size has decreased over time, and the number of packs has stagnated, as the wolf population in the U.P. has increased.” Norton added “The U.P. wolf population appears to have been stable for the last eight years or so suggesting they’re likely nearing carrying capacity. This follows a long period of population growth from when we initially surveyed the first three known wolves in 1989 until 2011.”

…Regardless of how you feel about wolves, their population recovery in Michigan has been a success of a native species re-establishing itself. No matter what happens in terms of federal and state wolf management, residents of the Upper Peninsula will continue to live with wolves and will occasionally hear the howl of the wolf.

More from Woods n Water News.

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Waterfall Wednesday: Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Lower Tahquamenon by Dan Gaken

Lower Tahquamenon by Dan Gaken

GoWaterfalling explains that Lower Tahquamenon Falls is part of:

…Tahquamenon Falls State Park on MI-123. It is on the map and is easy to find, but it is a bit out of the way. There are three sections to the park: the Upper Falls, the Lower Falls, and the rivermouth campsite.

The lower falls are a series of cascades, that go around a small island, with several drops in the 10 foot range. You can rent a boat and go to the island, and walk around and see more views of the falls. There is a campground near the lower falls, and a concession stand where you can buy ice cream, drinks and souvenirs.

There is a trail between the upper and the lower falls. It is 4+ miles, with some ups and downs, mostly through woods well above the river. The river is quite calm between the two falls, and there is not much rock to see.

I know that I just featured a photo from Dan of the Upper Falls, but this one from Saturday was too good to pass up! See more in Dan’s Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gallery on Flickr!

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Winter is beautiful at the Eben Ice Caves

Eben Ice cave in Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Tom Clark

Eben Ice cave in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Tom Clark

One of Michigan’s awesome winter features are the Eben Ice Caves in the Hiawatha National Forest. They explain that the Eben Ice Caves are located within the Rock River Canyon Wilderness (RRCW) which:

…includes approximately 4,700 acre (7.5 sq mile) and was designated in the Michigan Wilderness Act of 1987. During the mid- and late-winter months, many people visit RRCW to see the Eben Ice Caves.

…Although not “true” caves, they are made up of vertical walls of ice formed by water seeping through the sandstone bedrock cliff edge. As the temperature drops, these intermittent leaks create ice stalactites over the entrance to the bedrock undercuts. While ice caves are a phenomenon in the winter, the summer visitor would only see algae-covered rocks and dense foliage. The caves are within RRCW. Wilderness designation is the highest level of protection granted to federal lands.

You can read on for more & also be sure to check out the Eben Ice Caves Facebook page for tips & information on visiting.

Tom took this photo a couple of Januarys ago. Follow Tom on Facebook & at tom-clark.net. See more in his awesome U.P. Roadtrip to find ICE – 1/22/19 gallery on Flickr!

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Waterfall Wednesday: AuTrain Falls

AuTrain Falls U.P. Michigan by Linda Carter

AuTrain Falls U.P. Michigan by Linda Carter

Visit Chatham has a truly delightful post about the AuTrain Falls explains that they are located about 8 miles south of AuTrain, 5 miles east of Chatham, and 10 miles southwest of Munising. They say (in part – read it all if you can):

The AuTrain Falls are part of the AuTrain River. A major reason why the falls were created is because of the large power dam located about a mile south of the falls site, in close proximity to highway M-94. The Forest Lake Dam, ran by Renewable Energies Resources, is the main source of water for the falls. When water levels are high on the AuTrain Basin, an increased flow of water is released via the dam and down the river. The AuTrain River actually flows from South to North.

When more water is released via the dam, the more volume of water that flows through the falls. And especially during the spring season, the falls are a fabulous view! Even though the falls may not be as spectacular during the summer months as compared to the spring season, the falls are still wonderful to visit year-round. They are even accessible during the winter season! And you can’t say that about most Upper Peninsula falls.

Read on for more.

Linda took this at the end on September 29, 2020. See more in her Falls gallery on Flickr.

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Snowy Owls are Back!

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

While these arctic owls are not found in the summer, the Michigan DNR shares that Snowy Owls & other winter visitors spend time in our state during the winter months:

Just because the leaves have fallen from the trees and there is a chill in the air is no reason to put away your binoculars. Winter offers unique viewing opportunities. Many of our summer resident birds migrate to warmer summer climates. Still, there are several species of birds that migrate from Canada and find Michigan the perfect winter temperature. Winter is the only time several of these species can be found in Michigan.

Two of the largest migrants are the snowy owl and the great gray owl. Snowy owls can be found moving into Michigan during winter when the food supply on the arctic tundra is in short supply. Snowy owls have been recorded as far south as Lansing, Michigan. Because they rarely see humans on their northern homes, they are not timid and can be easily viewed for long periods of time.

Kevin took this photo back in the winter of 2016, but he’s been hearing that they are back in Michigan now. See more in his Birds of Prey album on Flickr & be sure to follow Kevin Povenz Photos on Facebook.

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