Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sable Falls

Sable Falls is just west of Grand Marais. The total drop for the falls is about 75 feet.

A hike of about 1/2 mile takes you to the shore of Lake Superior. There are a fair number of steps and the trail eventually becomes sand.

Both on my way to the lake and back I had to wait for groups of people to move so I could get a decent picture.

Although you can see a footpath in both this picture and the previous one, they're beyond the limits of the trail. I generally don't mind of people want to jump the rail and get in the water. I wish they were considerate enough of those taking pictures to move out of frame when someone is setting up a shot.

The Log Slide

This is Au Sable Lighthouse from the Log Slide which is west of Grand Marais. It is between Sable Falls and the lighthouse.

Looking west from the top of the Log Slide.

The Log Slide get its name from it's use when the timber industry was in full swing. Logs would be brought to the top of the hill. A wooden chute led to to the lake below. Logs would be sent down the chute to be gathered below and towed by tug to a mill for processing. Because of the friction from the trees sliding down the chute, small fires would occasionally start. Men equipped with shovels would toss sand from the dune onto the fire to put it out. There used to be an interpretive sign at the top with all this information, but I haven't seen it there the last couple of times I've been there. There is, however, a small lumbering exhibit.

I was first there in the mid to late 80s. At that time, and even into the early 90s, the road was not paved. If the road wasn't sand, it sure seemed like it. The turnoff to the log slide was a little sandy road and let almost to the top of it. Today, the road is paved and there is a nice parking lot a ways back from the top of the hill which requires a short walk to get to. The slide itself is very steep. You can get to the bottom in less than a minute. Climbing back up can take much longer. Depending on your condition, it may take as long as an hour, though I've done it in as little as 20 minutes.

Grand Sable Lake, a short distance inland from Lake Superior.

Lake Superior Shore

This is a rare case of me not remembering where I took a photo. I almost always remember something about a photo. But for these, I don't recall. There was a boardwalk to the beach, but I don't really remember anything else. It was either Twelve Mile Beach or Hurricane River as I drove through the campground at both.
I believe it was the latter.

From Hurricane River there is a trail to Au Sable Lighthouse. It is 1.5 miles one way and would have taken me about 30 minutes each way, but given that it was late and I'd already done a fair bit of hiking earlier, I decided to pass. I do know how to get there now and will plan on doing that the next time I am in the area.

The sky had clouded over a bit from earlier in the day.

Miners River and Miners Beach

East of Miners Castle is Miners Beach. You can either drive there or take a the trail to the beach. The trail is part of the North Country Trail which is the longest National Scenic Trail in the country. It runs for about 4600 miles and from the east starts in New York, then Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin Minnesota and finally North Dakota. I learned about the trail somewhere around 2000 when I was looking for information on the trail that connects Munising to Grand Marais. The NCT incorporates this section of trail into it. This is Miners River from just off the trail connecting Miners Beach to Miners Castle.

Many times when I think of Lake Superior shoreline, I think of a pebble beach. This was a beautiful sand beach. I'm guessing the sand comes from the sandstone cliffs in the area. This is looking west.

Looking east from Miners Beach.

Looking west from Miners Beach from the point of sand visible one of the above images.

Miners River just before it turns and flows into Lake Superior.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Miners Castle

Miners Castle is the only part of Pictured Rocks Lakeshore that you can get to by car. The sandstone formation stands above Lake Superior. There is a boardwalk nearly to the formation. The formations are fragile and prone to collapse so there is signage telling people to remain on the boardwalk.

The water in the bay is fairly shallow. I think the sign indicated it averaged 6 or 10 feet in depth. When the sun is out, the colors are very nice. Unfortunately, I was there when the sun was high in the sky and the sandstone colors were washed out.

Of course people must hop the boardwalks and walk out onto the formation. Waiting for the people to leave so I could take a picture was most annoying. In April of 2006 a portion of the Castle collapsed with most of it going into Lake Superior. The light colored stone in the center of the picture indicates where the area that fell.

Miners Falls

Miners Falls is east of Munising. If you head out for Miners Castle, there is a turn off that takes you to a small parking lot back in the woods. A short hike takes you the falls. There was much more water flowing here. The picture was taken from the end of the boardwalk and although it was possible to hop the fence and get down near the base of the falls, I chose not to.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Munising Falls

Munising Falls is just east of Munsing at the western end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The falls are pretty easy to get to via a short walk from the parking lot.

This is near the start of the trail. The trail splits into what one could call an upper and lower view. At one time it appears that the trail made a loop behind the falls, but the trail is blocked off and there are warnings that rocks have fallen from the top and continue to do so.

Munising Falls drops about 50 feet. There doesn't seem to be a large volume of water flowing. This is from the lower trail.

The upper view trail. The stone the falls cuts through is sandstone. The sand on the trail is from the stone on the right.

A view from the upper walkway.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse

My original plan had been to head to Fayette State Park and do some photography there. I had hoped to camp at Tahquamenon Falls and Fayette, but couldn't find a site to set up my tent. That turned out to be a good thing since it started raining and my tent leaks. I spent most of the night sleeping in my car outside of Manistique. After checking the weather, I saw that it appeared the only part of the state where it wasn't raining was along the shore of Lake Superior so I headed up to Munising.

This is Grand Island, just north of Munising. The Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse was constructed in 1868 and deactivated in 1908. It has been restored, but maintains it's rustic look. The lighthouse and grounds are privately owned and not open to the public

Old Manistique Water Tower

This incredibly bad picture is of the old Manistique water tower. It had been raining most of the night, and was still raining when I drove past in the morning. I shot this from the driver side window of my car. I knew the contrast was going to be crappy, but I mostly took this for a friend who has a fascination with the Ypsilanti water tower.

Mackinaw Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge from Mackinac City. This is taken from a park east of the one that I usually shoot from.

A nice sailboat as it is about to pass in front of the Grand Hotel.

A ship of the Great Lakes Fleet passing beneath the bridge. Checking boatnerd, it is likely that this is the Arthur M. Anderson.

Passing under the bridge. I was waiting for the span to bisect the ship. Just as I started to press the shutter release, a gull that had been walking on the shore leapt into the air and ended up perfectly positioned for this shot.

Just a slightly different perspective of the bridge.

North Bay Park - July

I am still running behind on getting pictures up. I'm trying to be more regular with updates, but I haven't been too successful. These were taken a couple of days apart around the middle of July.

One of the bridges in the park that connects the islands.

The trail across one of the islands.

Purple Loosestrife. Purple Loosestrife is an invasive flowering plant. It often crowds out native plants like Cattails.

The boardwalk along the shore. This boardwalk is a bit over 1/4 mile long.

The swan that was just a puffball a few weeks ago.

One of the parents stretching.