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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Sunrise at Tahquamenon

Sunrise at Tahquamenon by Dan Gaken

Sunrise at Tahquamenon by Dan Gaken

Here’s a stunning moment from Tahquamenon Falls that Dan captured this weekend.  More from Dan in his Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gallery on Flickr!

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Just Cruising at the Mighty Mac

Just Cruising by Marsha Morningstar

Just Cruising by Marsha Morningstar

Seems like everyone’s going to the Straits these days to check out the ice at the Mackinac Bridge! 

More from Marsha on her Flickr including a close up shot of these two cuties!

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Blue Ice at the Mackinac Bridge

Blue Ice by Julie

Julie shares:

Rode up to Mackinaw yesterday and checked out the blue ice. Huge chunks and most phenomenal. The ice, however, is not actually turning blue. The color is a result of the way sunlight is bouncing off this particular ice.

Sometimes, weather conditions — such as a lack of high winds — allow water to freeze slowly and evenly, resulting in ice composed of large crystals (unlike snow, which is formed quickly and made up of small crystals).

When light hits these big ice crystals, it can travel deep into the structures (compare this to snow, wherein light hits a sharp edge and reflects off of it right away, resulting in blinding white). When the light travels deeper into slowly formed ice, some of the red wavelengths of sunlight — which is the longest wavelength of visible light — get absorbed into the ice structure.

The blue, which is the shortest wavelength of visible light, bounces back out, meet our eyes, and results in a deep aqua color.

See more in her Winter gallery on Flickr!

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Michigan Beach Fashion: February Edition

South Haven Area Fire-Rescue-EMS by William Dolak

South Haven Area Fire-Rescue-EMS by William Dolak

We’re getting to the portion of the winter where the ice begins to build out on the Great Lakes. As a person who grew up on Lake Michigan, I’ve enjoyed the ice safely for decades & will undoubtedly continue to do so and also to share photos of the incredible beauty of the frozen lakes. I want to make sure however that folks understand venturing on the ice in winter can be deadly, particularly if you don’t take precautions. Though EMT workers know this and train to help people in peril, if you fall into one of the Great Lakes, you will very probably die. You can read more of my thoughts on this post on Michigan in Pictures.

Bill took this last weekend in South Haven & writes:

It’s 16 degrees at the beach – this is what the cool kids are wearing on South Beach, South Haven. These three are with the South Haven Area Fire-Rescue-EMS and were out to practice a little cold-water rescue, ‘cuz, unfortunately, someone is gonna need it sooner or later.

See the photo bigger in our Michigan in Pictures Group on Facebook & for sure follow him on Flickr!

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Rural Winter Morning

Rural Winter Morning by TP Mann

Rural Winter Morning by TP Mann

TP took this photo of a cold morning scene along the Breezeway near Boyne City as the moon set over a snow-covered field.

See more in his Michigan Winter Scenes gallery on Flickr & have a great week!

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Michigan’s Snurfer & the roots of Snowboarding

1969 snurfing competitors courtesy Tracy Tebeau Kirksey

1969 snurfing competitors courtesy Tracy Tebeau Kirksey

The Freshwater Reporter has an interesting story by Stewart McFerrin on the Michigan-invented Snurfer and the roots of snowboarding that says (in part):

Snowboarding has become a worldwide phenomenon. The big air tricks of mega stars, such as Shaun White in the Olympic Half Pipe, rival the traditional Nordic pursuit of Alpine skiing. You may be surprised to know it all began in the dunes of West Michigan, where my friends and I pursued the sport of snurfing, a.k.a. snow surfing.

…The Snurfer was invented by a man with ties to the Brunswick Corporation. Brunswick produced bowling equipment and flooring at its headquarters in Muskegon, Mich. Sherman “Sherm” Poppen created the Snurfer, a shorter and wider version of a ski, and talked his kids into trying his invention on the “Sugar Bowl” at the Muskegon State Park. Friends of friends joined in and rode the deep powder on Snurfer boards all the way to the bottom, in a style and stance that would later become snowboarding. After obtaining a patent, Poppen licensed Brunswick to make the Snurfers.

This all happened in the late sixties and seventies when, after a long afternoon of snurfing, I recall my “bell bottoms,” frozen and encrusted with snow, ringing out as they brushed together during a trick performed from the edge of a steep dune. Lake Michigan loomed large as the lake-effect powder snow piled up to cushion my falls off the Snurfer.

Read on at the Freshwater Reporter for much more!

The photo is courtesy Tracy Tebeau Kirksey & shows Snurfer inventor Sherman “Sherm” Poppen (R) with the 1969 snurfing competitors and their Snurfer boards. From left: Rick Tebeau, Tom Metzdorf, James T., and champion Ted Slater. There are two types of Snurfers. The wooden ones had a metal skeg (similar to a boat’s keel fin) at the rear, to facilitate turns on hard-packed snow or ice. 

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Blizzard Waves

Michigan Blizzard Creates Ocean Waves - 1972 by Steve Brown

Michigan Blizzard Creates Ocean Waves – 1972 by Steve Brown

As Michigan gets popped by a winter storm, here’s a look back to 1972. Steve writes:

Quite amazing what a wintry wind can do to fallen snow across an open field. I took this photo in February, 1972 after the winds of a modest blizzard had reshaped the fallen snow on the front yard of the home where I lived near Manchester, Michigan.

See more in Steve’s great Michigan Winter gallery on Flickr & stay safe everyone!

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Winter Comes to Michigan: 1930s edition

1930s Michigan Snowplow

1930s Michigan Snowplow

With a major winter storm bearing down on Michigan, it seems like a good time to feature this old Department of Transportation video featuring winter fun & battling blizzards. MDOT relates:

This 1930s-era newsreel was recently discovered by sisters Nancy and Barbara Sleeper of Newberry, whose grandfather, Sanborn Sleeper, was the superintendent of the Luce County Road Commission from 1928 until sometime around World War II. The Sleepers donated the film to MDOT for public display. Enjoy this glimpse of the era when Murray Van Wagoner, a future Michigan governor, ran the department from 1933-1940.

Into the frosty past

Push Ice Lake Michigan by Charles Bonham

Push Ice, Lake Michigan by Charles Bonham

The Traverse City Ticker reports that with less than 2% ice coverage so far, the Great Lakes are experiencing record low ice cover this winter:

According to Dr. Jia Wang, a research ice climatologist and physical oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the Great Lakes region is experiencing “warmer-than-usual weather” this season due to a combination of weather patterns including strong La Niña conditions. As a result, the maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes is only projected to reach 30 percent this year, Wang says – “way below” the average of 53 percent. Lake Michigan is expected to reach a maximum ice cover of just 23 percent, compared to an average 40 percent.

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay has records for nearly two centuries on the freeze rate of West Grand Traverse Bay, including when it reaches the freeze point each year (if at all) and how many days it stays frozen over. While the Great Lakes often follow cyclical patterns, data shows that trends appear to be intensifying in recent years – a result many scientists attribute to climate change and include categories like water levels and ice cover. That trend can also be seen in Grand Traverse Bay freeze records, according to Watershed Center Executive Director Christine Crissman.

“If you look at the last 170 years overall, the bay definitely freezes over a majority of the time,” she says. “But if you start looking more closely at recent years, we are seeing a trend of less ice cover. From 1980 to present, the bay has only frozen over 38 percent of the time. Before 1980, it was 84 percent of the time. And even when it does freeze now, it doesn’t tend to freeze as long as it used to. It might be 20 to 40 days, where it used to be 70 days, 116 days.”

Charles took this photo back in 2015 off Gills Pier on the Leelanau Peninsula. Head over to his Flickr for more!

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