Pictured Rocks, Pasties & Porcupines – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Elliot Falls, Miner’s Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Much of my landscape photography over the past four decades has been carried out in my home state of Ohio, and almost 300 of my favorite Ohio places to photograph are described in my books, A Photographer’s Guide to Ohio – Volumes 1 and 2. However, much as I enjoy the Buckeye State, from time to time I like to venture beyond Ohio’s borders in search of more primal landscapes, and Michigan’s rugged Upper Peninsula is one of my favorite destinations when I need a wilderness experience. 

Take waterfalls, for example. Ohio has 20-30 noteworthy waterfalls, but the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has more than 200, from the small but charming Elliot Falls that cascades over the rocks into Lake Superior at Miner’s Beach near Munising, shown above, to the much larger Bond Falls, 51 feet in height and almost 200 feet wide (note the two figures at the top of the falls in the photo below) in a remote part of the western Upper Peninsula.          

Bond Falls, Paulding, Michigan

If scenic vistas of fall color are what you seek, with little or no sign of buildings or other man-made intrusions, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers many such views.     

View from Brockway Mountain, Keweenau Peninsula, Michigan

Michigan’s shoreline, at 3,288 miles, is second only to Alaska, and Michigan has more lighthouses (over 120) than any other state. Forty of these picturesque lighthouses may be found on the Upper Peninsula’s 1,700 mile shoreline along Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan.    

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Keweenau County, Michigan

An index of Michigan’s wildflowers I found online lists 547 species of native wildflowers, including more than 50 kinds of wild orchid. One of my favorite Michigan wildflowers is the diminutive Fringed Polygala, also called Gaywings, shown in the photo below.

Fringed Polygala, Grass Bay, Michigan

The rich natural history of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is matched by  an equally impressive human history, notably in copper and iron ore mining in the western part of the Upper Peninsula. The Quincy Hoist near Hancock, shown below framed by the ruins of mining buildings, is part of the Keweenau National Historical Park, which preserves numerous structures used to mine more than 11 billion pounds of native copper from 1840 to 1968.    

The Quincy Hoist, near Hancock, Michigan

The photo below shows Big Gus, billed as the world’s largest (working!) chainsaw, part of the roadside displays at Da Yoopers, near Ishpeming. 

Big Gus, the World’s Biggest Chainsaw, Da Yoopers, Ishpeming, Michigan

In the far western portion of the Upper Peninsula, near the Wisconsin border, is one of Michigan’s  natural gems, the 60,000-acre Porcupine Mountains State Park, which preserves one of the largest remaining stands of old-growth timber in the eastern United States.   

Sunrise, Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains State Park, Michigan

Join me for a photographic tour of these and many other highlights of Michigan’s spectacular Upper Peninsula, the land of the Yoopers, with Sam Wharram Nature Club at Lakeside High School, 6600 Sanborn Road, Ashtabula, Ohio 44004 on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm. 

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Very nice, can’t wait to see the program a big screen (11/9). UP is a favorite place of many. The true north coast of America. Think the ocean is blue, check out Lake Superior on a sunny day. So many places to see that will take your breath away.

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