Upper Peninsula of Michigan Pt1
Recently, on a photo workshop, I visited a region of the country previously unknown to me, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or, U.P. in local vernacular. It is a very sparsely populated vast land mass jutting into the Great Lakes that time has simply passed by. A boom mining economy (iron and copper ore) in the end of the 1800’s and the beginnings of the 1900’s has long disappeared leaving logging and tourism as an economic skeleton of what once was. Fiercely independent and self-reliant, the locals, “Yoopers” if you will, endure short summers and 160 inch snowfall winters( snowmobiles are mandatory equipment for tourists and locals alike). Lake Superior, the largest freshwater body in the world, creates its own weather systems. Many ships, including the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, have met their demise in ocean-like storms on this sea of fresh water. If the water of Lake Superior was pumped into a 5 foot deep swimming pool, it would cover the entire United States.
Small hamlets dot this forested glacier-flattened land mass. Cabins and hunting camps quietly blend to the trees waiting for lower Michiganders to come for short visits. Unassuming motels in the pines accommodate other visitors with clean rooms, hot water, and the charm of simpler times. The locals willingness to pay the price for living the lifestyle they cherish reminds me of Vermonters. Sitting right on the shore of Lake Superior, the larger village of Munising (population 2500) became a sanctuary from my temporary home in the woods. A logger’s breakfast with the locals at the “Dawg Patch” was fuel for an entire day.
Copper, iron and manganese create a colorful canvas
Copper bleeds green and blue with iron brown and orange and manganese black.
After departing our cruise boat, we all decided to hike along the shore looking for unique shots of the action of the water eroding interesting patterns in the sandstone.
This formation, called the Miner’s Castle, actually had a hole tunneled through.