Glorious Keweenaw

Lake Superior Shoreline

This is my first trip to the wester Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It doesn’t take long to see why folks love to come here, besides cell phones not working. Yes, it takes a whole day to reach Copper Harbor from Grand Rapids at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, but the drive is well worth it. By paying attention to the changes in vegetation as you head north, the drive is anything but boring. The forests change as you head north and as you head west across the UP, you begin to see rock out cropping, large wetlands and vast expanses of forest. There are actually areas of “old growth” forest in western UP Estivant Pines at Copper Harbor and a portion of the Porcupine Mountains have never been logged.

Delaware Mine

One will be in awe as one stands in the old copper mines hewn from rock veins that go through the Keweenaw Peninsula, under Lake Superior and come up to form Isle Royal. One may not fully appreciate the massiveness of these mines, some reaching a mile or more into the earth. Looking at what is left of the massive equipment from the copper era, you begin to realize the magnitude to these mines. With some 70 or so minerals found in this region, it is rich with geology and gorgeous rock formations that are exposed. The possibilities for rock and mineral collecting or study is endless here.

Lake Superior from Brockway Mountain

Maybe the real beauty here is the “mountains”, mere hills in comparison to the Rockies but the scenery is majestic. From the top of Brockway Mountain, you will see Lake Superior to the north. And superior it is! The great expanse of this magnificent body of water can be seen and appreciated from here. I watched as the fog bank rolled in and just swallowed up the large lake. And then as quickly as the cloud of fog came across the water obscuring the view, the wind followed and began to break up the fog, revealing the water below. To the south you see forest covered hills as far as the eye can see. As you look out over the forest, you can see the different species of trees with different colors and textures from above.

Conglomerate on Lake Superior Shoreline

As I already mentioned, geology wonders are everywhere here. From rock exposed at road cuts to massive boulders. At points along the Lake Superior shoreline you can see rock layers leaning, showing the results of former movement along the fault line. At Hunter’s Point in Copper Harbor, you will see lava flow from the old volcano, sedimentary sandstone and conglomerate all in layers.

Estivant Pines

While one stands in the midst of the old growth forest at Estivant Pines, one is in awe at the majestic trees, some as old as 500 years or more. 125-foot-tall White Pines and White Birch trees with bark layers nearly an inch thick. In some ways, this forest doesn’t seem much different from any older second growth forest until you realize it is all untouched by the axe. Openings where giants once stood but have now fallen, allow light in to reach the forest floor allowing tree seeds to germinate and flowers to return making this quit the mosaic. You really realize the beauty of these old patriarchs of the forest when you stand beside them and just look up, taking in the sheer height.

Lake of the Clouds

On the second day of the Academy of Natural Resources, we hiked to a rock out cropping at the Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains and toke in the view while eating lunch. The view from here caps off a trip to the region. From this location, you see the forest covered mountain that was ounce a volcano, you look down the length of the lake and over the river and forest. And as was pointed out, that is not duck weed along the river but lily pads.


Oh, did I mention northern Michigan is the place to find delicious Thimbleberries?

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *