Michigan Part 2
As I discussed in my previous post, last October I journeyed through Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is Part Two of that journey, you can click the link below to read Part 1. The second half of our trip lead us to the most northern point of Michigan - The Keweenaw Peninsula. Specifically,at the very top lies one of the most beautiful places I have seen: Copper Harbor. It has rolling hills filled with fall colors and winding roads, a rocky coast with a lighthouse, and a beautiful view of Lake Superior. There is everything to love about Copper Harbor.
The top features of this area was a combination of amazing coasts, aurora lights, astrophotography, and mines. If you are a fan of exploring old mines, this is the place for you! I preferred to stay on the surface photographing the coast, but there are dozens of copper mines all over the Keweenaw Peninsula to tour.
Before I get ahead of myself, I have to talk about the location that was by far the most amazing part of our entire trip. The best part was that I was not expecting to find this location and was very close to missing it entirely. We saw so many amazing things in 10 days, but Canyon Falls was my favorite. On our 5 hour journey from Munising to Houghton, we were about half way and thinking of taking a short break. That is when I saw a sign for "Canyon Falls", which was not on my list to explore. But if I see a sign that says "Falls" on it, I have to stop!
Nothing stood out at first about this area, just a visitors parking center and a lot of trees. But as you enter down the winding trail through a forest of all yellow, you find yourself in a different world entirely. The trail leads you along a river edge scattered with tiny falls. The trail is made of beautiful wood planks that zig zag through trees and rocks. The highlight of this trail was at the end, which has the main Canyon Fall. Really, if I'm being honest that is not what is so breathtaking about this area. It is everything about this area! The windy trails, the cliff walls that line the river as it curves, the moss, and trees growing on nothing but giant boulders with their roots stretching to the dirt. Canyon Falls was an experience like no other, and I would happily make the drive to visit this one park.
After Canyon Falls, we made our way to Houghton. Downtown Houghton is absolutely breathtaking, centered on a river with a giant lift bridge. I spent most mornings there at sunrise. The best morning was when, unexpectedly, the river was stone still. There was not a single ripple on the entire surface, and it become one giant mirror for the city and the bridge.
The main reason we journeyed this far north was for a chance to photograph the Aurora Lights. They are definitely a tricky thing to find, and despite how far north we went (about 11 hours from Fort Wayne to Copper Harbor), this is about the minimum distance south that you might hope to see the Aurora Lights with "ease". Finding a location that has no light polution is step one, and the coast along Copper Harbor is about the best you can ask for. The second requirement is clear skies, which is less reliable. Out of our 10 days, only 1 was perfect for this. The last requirement is the aurora light intensity for that point in time, measured in units of Kp. We lucked out, and of the 10 days there was an intense spike that lined up with clear skies. We journedy to Copper Harbor and found an empty spot on the coast facing north at around 10pm. The breathtaking view of seeing the Aurora Lights moving slowly on the horizon is something you will never forget. Over the next few hours, they slolwly grew stronger and closer to us. By no means was it the best viewing, but I am pretty content with my first attempt to photograph the Northern Lights.
So between Canyon Falls, Houghton, and Copper Harbor, five days flew by fast! There were several more waterfalls to see here as well, including Jacob's Falls, Eagle River Falls, and Hungarian Falls (which actually had 3 separate waterfalls). There were also several waterfalls, mines, and lakes to explore. One such lake was aptly titled The Lake in the Clouds. A viewing station in the cliffs high above the lake offers you a breathtaking view of the lake. From the drone you can also see Lake Superior at the same time in the background.
Please enjoy the photos below, and stay tuned next Thursday for the final part of this trip, which will focus on some of the urban locations we explored. Click the link below to view nearly 200 photos from the entire trip, if you are craving more. You can also take an aerial tour of these locations on our Youtube Channel, which will grow to a collection of 12 videos throughout December. A link to that playist is also below.