"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.

 


"Graveyard Coast" Exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

June 26, 2014  •  7 Comments

 

Michigan-based photographer John McCormick shares some tips for exploring Michigan's Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

 

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a very special place in Upper Michigan. We have been camping and hiking there for many years. I've decided to write a few blogs, share a few photos, and talk a little about our favorite spots.

The area encompassing the park is long and narrow, with an impressive 42 miles of Lake Superior Shoreline to explore. This first blog, part 1, will focus on the east end of the park; the area between Grand Sable Dunes and Twelvemile-Beach Campground. The sunrise shot of the "
Log Slide", was taken along the Grand Sable Banks. These banks, rise to heights of up to 300ft above the shore of Lake Superior. The Grand Sable Dunes, on top of these banks, are a desolate landscape with some jack pine forests near the edges.

 

"Grand Sable Dawn" (Log Slide) Grand Sable Dunes - Pictured Rocks National lakeshore"Grand Sable Dawn" (Log Slide) Grand Sable Dunes - Pictured Rocks National lakeshore"Grand Sable Dawn" (Log Slide) Grand Sable Dunes - Pictured Rocks National lakeshore.
Heading East, H58 closely follows the shoreline and in a few miles you will come to the Hurricane River Campground. This fast moving little river flows out of the forest and empties into Lake Superior near the picnic area. This is an excellent place to photograph a sunset. The shipwreck image below, taken a few years ago, is titled; "Graveyard Coast". The image won second place in the Lake Superior Magazine photo contest that was held the same year. :)  Anyhow, this steam ship "Mary Jarecki", at 200 feet in length, hit bottom on Au Sable Reef and went down on July 4, 1883. The ship lost its way in one of the heavy fogs that frequent the area. These shipwrecks are a reminder of the incredible power of Lake Superior.

 

Mouth of the Hurricane river, Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreSunset on Lake Superior, Hurricane river Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

 

"Graveyard Coast II " - (Mary Jarecki shipwreck) , Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreThe Mary Jarecki was a wooden bulk freight steam Ship of 645 tons, 200 feet in length. It grounded on Au Sable Reef and went down on July 4, 1883. She lost her way in one of the heavy fogs that frequent the area. These shipwrecks are a sobering reminder of the incredible power of Lake Superior.

 

One of the great things about camping at Hurricane River, is the fact that the Au Sable Point Lighthouse trail begins here. It's been one of our family's favorite hikes for many years. You can walk the shoreline on your way there and then on your way back, there's a beautiful trail through the woods that follows close to the shore. You can see the remains of another shipwreck along the way too. The first image shown of the lighthouse was taken in early May when the wildflowers were blooming. The second image of the lighthouse was taken in May of this year; my wife and I hiked the 1.5 miles at night to capture the Camelopardalid meteor shower and the Milky Way Galaxy. While we were shooting this, the winds picked up off the lake and you could hear this loud howling sound, that is best described as sounding like what you hear when you blow across the top of a pop bottle, only louder. I bet the light-keepers back in the day heard that quite often. The sound was coming from the curved window openings near the top of the lighthouse tower.


"Wildflowers"  Au Sable Lighthouse Pictured Rocks National Lakdshore"Wildflowers" Au Sable Lighthouse Pictured Rocks National LakdshoreSunrise at Michigan's Au Sable Point Lighthouse

 

Milky Way Meteor Shower - Au Sable Point Lighthouse Pictured Rocks National lakeshoreMilky Way Galaxy at Au Sable Point Lighthouse ~ Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. My wife and I hiked out to Au Sable Point over the weekend to try for a night shot of our favorite lighthouse. We were lucky in that there was just a couple of spots where the spring melt water was rushing over the trail , and we were lucky to capture three meteors (one is very small) and the Spring arc of the Milky Way towering above the lighthouse.

 

Au Sable Point Lighthouse - Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreFor many years sailors dreaded the eighty miles of dark shoreline that stretched east from Grand Island Lighthouse to the light at Whitefish Point. Unmarked by any navigational light, these dangerous shores claimed dozens of ships , including the one posted below ,the ( Mary Jarecki) . To fill the gap, a lighthouse was placed on Au Sable Point in 1874
Au Sable Point Lighthouse is one of the least accessible mainland light stations in the United States. Just as its keepers once did, visitors today must walk to it, but only 1.5 miles.

 

The last area of the park that I will mention in part 1 of this series, is Twelvemile-Beach & Campground. The  images below were taken at different times but they were shot from almost the same spot. One is a summertime sunset, and the other a beautiful early spring day. This campground is one of our all-time favorite places to camp. The sites are large and many of them are right along the bluff above the beach. In the last image, there are thousands of footprints in the sand and only one person besides me, watching the sun go down. At this place, you will have 12 miles of "Michigan's Caribbean", to play in, If you're brave enough to go in the water!

 

Twelvemile Beach , Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreShop High Quality Michigan Fine Art Prints, Canvas... Sunset at Twelve Mile Beach Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

 

Twelvemile Beach Pictured Rocks National LakehsoreTwelvemile Beach ~ Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National lakeshore. A beautiful late Spring / early Summer day at one best beaches around!

 

Twelvemile Beach Sunset Pictured Rocks National lakehsoreA million footprints and only one person watching the sunset on Twelvemile Beach Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. 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 reccomend checking out our Pictured Rocks gallery if are interested in researching more areas of the park, or if you would like to buy a print. I have over 100 of my favorite shots in there taken over the coarse of many years, Spring, Summer, Winter and fall.

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.


Exploring Michigan's Waterfalls

June 24, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 

Michigan-based photographer John McCormick shares some tips for exploring a few of the states many waterfalls.

 

If you’re looking for things to do in Michigan this summer, try exploring some beautiful waterfalls. This will be a great year for it! The heavy snow and below average temperatures this past winter have resulted in fast flowing rivers and raging waterfalls all across Upper Michigan this spring. My wife and I and our three boys have been exploring and photographing these gems for over 30 years and the ones mentioned here are a few of our favorites.

Some of the waterfalls are easy to find and easy to access, while others require a little more effort.  The most popular waterfall to see is Tahquamenon, and it is also one of the easiest to access. There are two drops – the upper and lower. The upper falls are more than 200 feet across and plunge approximately 48 feet. Both of these waterfalls are within the Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and this area has some of the best camping in Michigan.

Tahquamenon Falls One of the more remote waterfalls to see is Spray Falls in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This one is about a three mile round trip hike, starting from the trail-head at Little Beaver Lake campground. It is rated a moderate hike. Spray Falls plunges 70ft over the Pictured Rocks cliff edge directly into Lake Superior. This stretch of hiking trail is one of the most spectacular hikes in Michigan. See our Pictured Rocks gallery.

Spray Falls , Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreSpray Falls is the remotest, and perhaps the most impressive of the several waterfalls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The 70' waterfall plunges over the cliffs at Pictured Rocks and lands directly in Lake Superior

Another easy to access waterfall ‘and fun to photograph’, is Wagner Falls, just South of Munising, Michigan. It’s a beautiful scenic spot, and just a short walk through the woods. If you visit this one in the springtime, you will see Marsh Marigolds blooming along the edges of the creek just below the falls. It makes for a pretty picture! As a side trip while in the area, head over to Miners Beach just West of Munising and see the little but very picturesque, Elliot Falls, aka Miners Beach Falls.

Wagner FallsShop High Quality Fine Art Prints, Canvas...Spring time at Wagner Falls near

Munising Michigan
Miners Beach Falls , Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigans upper peninsulaShop High Quality Fine Art Prints, Canvas...This little waterfall is hidden on the far East end of Lake Superior's Miners Beach. The Pictured Rocks get their name because many of the sandstone formations and walls have been stained red, orange, black, white, and green from traces of minerals. Moving on from Wagner falls on M94 heading South and West you will find the little town of Chatham, MI,  which is about 25 miles from Munising. Near Chatham, is Rock River Falls. This waterfall is hidden in the Rock River Wilderness Area. Getting to it involves driving on some old logging roads and then hiking a mile or so through the forest on some ‘not so well marked’ trails, but if you are looking for a back-country waterfall adventure, this one is for you. Also, Just a few miles West of Chatham, is Laughing Whitefish Falls. It’s another easily accessible waterfall and a beautiful area of the Rock River Wilderness.

Rock River Fallsit's quite an adventure getting to this remote waterfall located in the rock river wilderness, Hiawatha National Forest. We drove five miles in on an old two track , parked and walked additional 1.5 miles or so on an unmarked trail. I have been to dozens of waterfalls in Michigan, but this was our first time to this particular falls . This falls is not huge but is now on my top five favorite Michigan waterfall list. After I photographed the falls I climbed up in them and enjoyed a refreshing shower. It didn't look like anyone had been there in awhile. Laughing Whitefish FallsBeautiful Autumn colors at Laughing Whitefish Falls.

Farther West in Upper Michigan near Paulding, Michigan, is Bond Falls. This one has it all. Easy to access, wheelchair accessible, and one of the most spectacular to see. Don’t forget to get some ice cream at the Paulding General Store, or maybe look for the “Paulding Lights”. People have reported seeing these mysterious lights for 40 years.

Bond Falls Paulding MichiganOne of the best waterfalls in the State of Michigan. Middle branch of the Ontonagan river, near Paulding.
High quality fine art prints
One more waterfall I will mention, that gets little attention, is Ocqueoc Falls near Onaway, Michigan. This is the only recognized waterfall in Michigan’s lower peninsula. You can hike the Ocqueoc Falls Pathway that starts here and runs along the river. Also at the falls area there is a picnic area with tables and grills. This area is also wheelchair accessible.

Ocqueoc FallsMarsh Marigolds blooming along the banks of the Ocqueoc River. Ocqueoc Falls is the only recognized waterfall in Michigan's lower peninsula. I could go on and list many, many more waterfalls to see. I do highly recommend visiting my Michigan waterfalls gallery to see over a hundred photos my favorite shots taken over many years of travels. Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions about Michigan's waterfalls, or would like to leave a comment, please do that below. You can select public, or private. 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.


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