July 22, 2015
In addition to stalking the Petit Portal, it appears I am stalking Eric Hackney as well.
GoWaterfalling’s page on Gabbro Falls begins:
Gabbro Falls is on the Black River and is as impressive, if not more impressive, than its more celebrated neighbors downstream along the Black River Scenic Byway. This is a largely wild waterfall with no fences or barriers of any kind. It consists of three separate drops. When the water is high there is a fourth drop that is the height of the other three combined. The main drop falls into a narrow crevice between two large rock formations.
Gabbro Falls is relatively easy to find but there is some confusing information out there. The waterfall is also known as Baker’s Falls, and it is often mistakenly called Garbo Falls (gabbro is a type of rock). There is also a Neepikon Falls upstream, but it is just an unremarkable rapid.
View Eric’s photo background bigtacular on Facebook, see more in his 6-27-15: Gogebic County Adventures I set featuring photos of Gabbro Falls, Rainbow Falls, Potawatomi Falls, Gorge Falls and more! Definitely follow him at Eric Hackney Photography on Facebook.
July 14, 2015
We got some great Northern Lights last weekend, and so far summer 2015 has been great for the Aurora Borealis.
The Michigan Tech Geology Department’s page on Great Sand Bay says (in part):
This is a remarkable geological site, with many excellent examples of features to see. There is a low energy beach with offshore sandbars, sheltered by a dramatic headland. The headland is part of a resistent lava layer from the Lake Shore Traps, where there are underwater copper rich veins which cut across. A large copper boulder was removed for the display at Quincy Mine, but much remains of veins for diving here in the Underwater preserve.
Inland, within the Redwyn Dunes and George Hite Dunes are Coastal Dune Ecosystems with many perched dunes and vernal pools. Perched dunes are dunes that are located above glacial deposits, moraines, outwash or glacial lake deposits. In this place vernal pools are between dunes and above post glacial lake materials. All this makes for an unsual environment, well worth visiting. A 1 hr trail at Redwyn covers these features well.
Read on for lots more including photos, maps and aerials and get tons more about the Northern Lights including viewing and prediction tips on Michigan in Pictures!
July 1, 2015
The Slate River enters a deep gorge in a dramatic way with a sudden plunge down steep, layered rock. This drop, Kukuck’s Falls, is the uppermost named drop in a long and rugged path within the gorge. Slate River breaks evenly on the rock line and cascades down, jumping and foaming around, before landing in a small pool below. This waterfall is one of the only drops easily viewed from the east bank path thanks to a convenient bend, although the best vantage can be had riverside.
Park on either side of the bridge over Slate River, about 11 miles east of L’Anse, right on Skanee Road. Follow the river upstream past the lower falls (Slate River Falls, Ecstasy Falls, and Slide Falls) to reach Kukuck’s Falls. There is a path high up on east bank that lowers down to the waterfall, otherwise the more scenic route is right along (and sometimes inside) the river itself.
Click through for a map, more photos of these falls and descriptions of the others.
The Waterfall Record’s entry for Manido Falls says:
Manido Falls did not impress me at first, at least not as much as the downstream Manabezho Falls. After seeing the pictures I had taken, though, I discovered what an amazingly beautiful waterfall Manido Falls is. Its beauty comes from its complexity. The waterfall itself is not very tall at all. It is wide, though. As the Presque Isle River tumbles down toward Lake Superior, it comes to this set of rocks that create a beautifully cascading waterfall. I think what makes me like Manido Falls so much is that the water has taken such an interesting course here, erosion taking its effect in an oddly unique way.
Add to it that the just as spectacular Manabezho Falls is only hundreds of yards away, and Lake Superior not much more distant, this makes for one of the most beautiful waterfall stretches in the Upper Peninsula.
Visit #2: When my father and I visited Mandido Falls in late September 2010, the falls looked completely different due to the significant amounts of rainfall in the weeks previous.
Read on for directions and some photos.
April 15, 2015
Agate Falls is a Michigan State Scenic Site 6.5 miles east of Bruce Crossing on MI-28. There is a roadside park (Joseph F. Oravec roadside park) just past the bridge over the Ontonagon River. Unfortunately the provided trails and overlooks are somewhat limited. With some effort you can scramble down to the river to get some very good views of the falls, which seems to be popular with local fishermen, or scramble up the river banks to get to the old railroad bridge over the falls. The bridge is now part of a snowmobile trail.
March 24, 2015
USA Today is polling their readers to see what they think the 10 best state parks in the nation are. The entry page for the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park says:
The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, or the “Porkies” as its known to frequent visitors, encompasses 60,000 acres of lakes, rivers and virgin forest. The park offers camping on the shores of Lake Superior, 90 miles of hiking trails, kayak rentals, mountain biking and, in the winter, access to the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Mich. is currently ranked #2 of 20.
You can click here to vote if you’re so inclined.
John took this evening shot in October 2014 near the east end off the Lake of the Clouds. View it bigger on Flickr, see more staggering photos in his Autumn in Michigan slideshow, and definitely follow him on Facebook at Michigan Nut Photography.
March 13, 2015
Intense colors from the rare Great Aurora painted the skies around the world in vivid shapes that moved like legendary dragons. Ghostly celestial armies battled from sunset to midnight. Newspapers that reported this event considered the aurora, itself, to be the most newsworthy aspect of the storm. Seen as far south as Florida and Cuba, the vast majority of people in the Northern Hemisphere had never seen such a spectacle.
~Dr. Sten Odenwald
I like to revisit this March 13, 1989 incident documented by Dr. Odenwald in A Conflagration of Storms. In addition to being an amazing display of the aurora borealis, this solar storm took down Quebec’s power network and very nearly much more:
In many ways, the Quebec blackout was a sanitized calamity. It was wrapped in a diversion of beautiful colors, and affected a distant population mostly while they slept. There were no houses torn asunder, or streets flooded in the manner of a hurricane or tornado. There was no dramatic footage of waves crashing against the beach. There were no cyclonic whirlwinds cutting a swath of destruction through Kansas trailer parks. The calamity passed without mention in the major metropolitan newspapers, yet six million people were affected as they woke to find no electricity to see them through a cold Quebec wintry night. Engineers from the major North American power companies were not so blasé about what some would later conclude, could easily have escalated into a $6 billion catastrophe affecting most U.S. East Coast cities. All that prevented 50 million more people in the U.S. from joining their Canadian friends in the dark were a dozen or so heroic capacitors on the Allegheny Power Network.
The Media seemed to have missed one of the most human impacts of the beautiful aurora they so meticulously described in article after article. Today the March 1989 ‘Quebec Blackout’ has reached legendary stature, at least among electrical engineers and space scientists, as an example of how solar storms can adversely affect us. It has even begun to appear in science textbooks. Fortunately, storms as powerful as this really are rather rare. It takes quite a solar wallop to cause anything like the conditions leading up to a Quebec-style blackout. When might we expect the next one to happen? About once every ten years or so, but the exact time is largely a game of chance.
Call it the ultimate Friday the 13th! The whole book The 23rd Cycle:Learning to live with a stormy star is available online, and you can read a lot more from Dr. Odenwald at his website, The Astronomy Cafe or at facebook.com/AstronomyCafe.
A whole lot more northern lights on Michigan in Pictures!
PS: Keep an eye on solar storminess and get heads up notifications when the northern lights might be visible at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.