"The Wreck of the Francisco Morazan" Exploring South Manitou Island

March 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

 

Shipwrecks of lake Michigan

 

Michigan-based photographer John McCormick shares his story of exploring Michigan's South Manitou Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

 

My wife and I spent a couple of days exploring South Manitou Island two summers ago, and I've been wanting to share a few photos we brought back. One of the things we wanted to see was this shipwreck, the "Franciso Morazan". This old cargo ship has got to be the eeriest looking scene on the Great Lakes. The colony of nesting cormorants give it that "extra creepy appeal". 

In 1960, risking late season Great Lakes weather, the ship was caught in a late November storm and ran aground about 300 feet off the southwest shore of South Manitou Island.

 

Lake Michigan Shipwrecks South Manitou Island"Wreck of the Franciso Morazan" South Manitou Island Sleeping Bear Dunes
The photo below of the South Manitou Lighthouse was taken from the passenger ferry as we were arriving to the island. Find yourself a seat on the port side to get a better view and photo of it. The ferry service operates from the historic Fishtown Dock in Leland, Mi. It's the only access to the island other than private boats. The trip takes about 1½ hours.

 

South Manitou Island LighthouseSouth Manitou Island Lighthouse

 

There are three back-country campsites on the island and our plan was to camp at the Weather Station Campground, which has 20 sites and is a 1.3 mile hike from where the ferry docks. That location got us to within 13/4 miles of the shipwreck that I had planned to photograph at sunset. The beach is absolutely gorgeous out there, very peaceful and remote experience. We spent the entire afternoon swimming and exploring it. We only saw two other people all day, you can see them in this photo enjoying a swim.

 

South Manitou Island secluded Lake Michigan beachLake Michigan beach on South Manitou IslandCumulus clouds on a secluded South Manitou Island Beach. Sleeping Bear Dunes.

 

Another one of our plans was to see the island's historic lighthouse. You can climb the 117 steps to the top for a stunning view of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Passage. There's lots of trails for exploring; hike to the old cemetery in the interior of the island or explore the stand of giant cedar trees on the southern end.


View from the top of the South Manitou Island LighthouseView from the top of the South Manitou Island LighthouseView of South Manitou passage Sleeping Bear Dunes.

 

South Manitou Island Lighthouse Lake MichiganEvening light at South Manitou Island Lighthouse

 

Old boat house on South Manitou IslandOld weathered boat house on South Manitou Island


When we arrived at the island the rangers told us that poison ivy was well established there. I was super cautious on our hikes making sure I didn't brush up against any of it as I am highly susceptable. Well, after a long day of exploring we arrived back at the campsite and my wife wanted a campfire. At this point I had shorts on and it was getting dark, but, we "had" to find some firewood in the forest. I found plenty of firewood, but guess who forgot all about the poison ivy?  It took me three weeks to get rid of it; the rangers nailed it, lot's of poison ivy on that island. My wife likes to tell that story... :)  Some ivy along the path in this photo.

 

South Manitou Island Lighthouse photosSouth Manitou Island LighthouseEvening light on the South Manitou Island Lighthouse. Sleeping Bear Dunes.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. You can see all of my Sleeping Bear Dunes gallery here. if you're interested in other areas of Michigan you can see all of my galleries here. If you have a moment, please feel free to share this blog via the social media share buttons provided.

Thank you very much!

-John

 


John McCormick is a lifelong Michigan resident and has been interested in Michigan Nature Photography for over 30 years. Michigan is a beautiful place to live and photographing that beauty is his absolute passion. To follow his recent work be sure to "like" his facebook page. To see all of his Michigan photo galleries, purchase prints, or to license an image, use the links at the top of this page.


"Rainbow Caverns" Grand Island, Munising, Michigan.

March 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Beautiful icy cave on the shores of lake Superior at Grand Island.  I finally got the chance to see these amazing ice formations on Grand Island. The risk involved can be quite high as the fast currents in Lake Superior prevent the ice from getting as thick as it would be in still waters. It takes a very cold winter to make this possible, extreme caution is imperative.. Good idea to talk with the park rangers in Munising before attempting the trek.  I took this shot on 2/27/2015.


Grand Island ice curtains

March 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Beautiful ice curtains hanging over a cave on Grand Island, Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Finally made it out to see these beautiful ice formations. It's a risky and dangerous trek. 


Winter Wonders in Michigan

February 07, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Winter Wonders in Michigan -- Munising Falls.. This was such a memorable experience last winter.. Early morning of the day we visited the falls, we were surprised to see that another 8 inches of snow had fallen during the night.. It was perfect timing with not even a track in the snow.. My wife Shelly is standing by the falls, you can hear the water rushing through the column of ice.. Fascinating to say the least! Follow my recent work on Facebook.


"Beaver Basin Wilderness" Exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

June 30, 2014  •  2 Comments

Michigan-based photographer John McCormick shares some tips for exploring the "Beaver Basin Wilderness" - Michigan's Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

 

Of all the places within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the area designated as the "Beaver Basin Wilderness", is not to miss if you want a true back-country experience in one of the best locations of the park. In part 1 of this series I talked about the eastern areas, areas between Grand Sable Dunes and Twelvemile-Beach. This post will be focusing on the Lake Superior shoreline between Spray Falls on the west to Beaver Creek outlet on the east.

To begin your hike for this trip, start at the Little Beaver Lake campground. We most often do day-hikes on our trips, but there are several back-country campsites if you're wanting to do a pack-in trip. You can also camp right at Little Beaver Lake, on a first-come first-serve basis. This first photo of Little Beaver Lake was taken on its north side where the trail intersects with the Beaver Creek or Big Beaver Lake trail.

 

Little Beaver Lake - Pictured Rocks National Lakehsore

 

Following the Beaver Lake trail east, you will soon see the stunningly clear water and beautiful views of Beaver Lake. The trail follows its shoreline for a bit before reaching Beaver Creek. On our last hike, upon reaching the creek we took off our hiking-boots and waded for awhile. The water here is also remarkably clear and the bottom is sandy. The photos below, a view of Beaver Creek, then, our son Mike crossing this really cool a-frame log footbridge.  Also in the photo is my wife Shelly, taking her boots off to play in the water.  The third photo is where the Bever Creek flows into Lake Superior.

 

Beaver Creek, Beaver Basin Wilderness Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

 

Footbridge over Beaver Creek - Beaver Basin WildernessMy son Mike crossing Beaver Creek in the Beaver Basin Wilderness.

 

Mouth of the Beaver Creek - Pictured Rocks National lakeshore

 

The remaining photos were all taken along the Lakeshore North-Country Trail. To see these areas, instead of heading east at the intersection at Little Beaver Lake that I mentioned, go straight and follow the trail north towards Lake Superior. When you reach the shoreline and head west on the trail, you will come to the area known as "the-coves". It's gorgeous there, the water in Lake Superior is so clear. These beautiful little coves that have been carved by the lake look like scenes straight out of the tropics; we call it, "Michigan's Caribbean". The coves back-county campsites are in this area as well.

 

The Coves - Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreI've been in the Caribbean before , it's great...but I'll take Michigan's pristine unspoiled beaches and shorelines any day. These coves along pictured rocks are fascinating and gorgeous.

 

"The Coves" Lake SuperiorThe coves area of Pictured Rocks National lakeshore

 

Sunset at the "Coves" Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.Sunset in the coves area Lake Superior Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Michigan's Upper Peninsula

 

Hiking farther west from the coves, the trail climbs until you are high above the lake on the cliffs edge. When we first started taking our boys on this hike, Shelly and I got a few extra gray hairs!  In places, the trail is just a couple of feet from the edge!

 

Lake Superior sunset Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreCliff Edge ,Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Sunset

Royalty Free Stock Image Licensing, Art, Canvas

 

There are many interesting lookouts, rock formations and vistas to see along the trail. This tall pine caught my eye while we were hiking out in late evening.


The Lone Pine, Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreA tall White Pine stands along the shores of Lake Superior in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

 

Before the trail gets too high above Lake Superior, there are some places you can get down to the shoreline and do some exploring. We found this little hidden beach a couple of years ago. It was really unique; a large group of boulders and a leaning pine tree, interesting and picturesque.

 

"Rocky Shores" Beaver Basin Wilderness Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreThis is a remote area of Pictured Rocks in the Beaver Basin Wilderness area. Stock Image Licensing, Fine Art Prints

The last photo is Spray Falls, which is at the western end of the Beaver Basin Wilderness. Like I mentioned in part 1 of my, exploring Michigan's Waterfalls blog,  Spray Falls plunges 70ft over the Pictured Rocks cliff edge directly into Lake Superior. These areas that I have mentioned, from the coves to Spray Falls, involve climbing some fairly steep trails in spots and is a moderate hike. Be sure to take plenty enough water and snacks..  Also remember, there are places where the trail gets very close to the edge of the cliffs.  Be aware that this is an ever changing and fragile landscape. Keep a safe distance and have a fun hike.

You can download maps of the park and get other useful information here.

 

"Spray Falls" Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreSpray Falls , Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - jmphotography@casair.net

 

Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog. If you have any questions about visiting Pictured Rocks, or would like to leave a comment, please do that below. You can select public, or private.  Also, I highly recommend checking out our Pictured Rocks gallery ; I have over 100 of my favorite shots in there taken in all seasons over many years of visiting the park.
 

If you have a moment, please feel free to share this post via the social media share buttons provided.

Thank you very much!

-John

 

    

John McCormick is a lifelong Michigan resident and has been interested in Michigan Nature Photography for over 30 years. Michigan is a beautiful place to live and photographing that beauty is his absolute passion. To follow his recent work be sure to "like" his facebook page. To see all of his Michigan photo galleries, purchase prints, or to license an image, use the links at the top of this page.

 

Archive
January February March April May June (3) July August September October November December
January February (1) March (3) April May June July August September October November December