Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lake Superior Pictured Rocks

We spent a few days in Munising MI on the shores of Lake Superior. This is a big lake - the largest freshwater lake in the world as measured by surface area. The sunsets are magnificent. 

Sunset over Lake Superior on the shores of
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Watching the sun set in the UP
This area of Lake Superior is known for it's colorful cliffs in place called Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We took some hikes and got a few views of the cliffs, but we found that the best views by far are to be had on a boat tour which goes along the shoreline. 

Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior MI
with kayakers along the cliffs
The sandstone in the cliffs is white, but it takes on vivid colors from trace minerals dissolved in water which seeps through cracks in the rock. The minerals include iron (orange and yellow), copper (green and blue) and manganese (black). Here is a good view of the seepage. 

The vivid colors come from different minerals seeping throughout the rock

Furthermore, the lake water can appear green, turquoise, aquamarine or blue depending on the depth and angle of light. There is lots of erosion of the sandstone and several caves and arches can be seen along the shoreline. 

Typical caves, alcoves and archways.
One cove was large enough for us to enter. 

Below is a picture of another tour boat that passed. You can get an idea of what it's like to be on the boat as it passes by the cliffs.

Perhaps the best way to experience this place is from a kayak. You can get as close as you want to the cliffs and go in and out of the coves. While we didn't do the kayak this time, we passed several kayakers along the way.

Someone enjoying Pictured Rocks from a kayak (right) 

Some of the rock formations are pretty interesting. The plant life finds a way to grow on these rocks.

This tree survives via a root bridge to land (on the right)
There are a few waterfalls to enjoy along the way, depending on the time of year. Some dry up in late summer but this one was flowing pretty good.

Spray Falls
I found it surprising that a geological marvel of this quality would be in Michigan. It seems like something out of Utah (e.g. Lake Powell) or California. But it's here to enjoy and I highly recommend checking it out if you happen to be close to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

Here is one more Michigan sunset for you to enjoy...

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