CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: September 2014

I would like to thank everyone again for the positive comments about the pictures I post on the blog at www.agatelady.blogspot.com, as well as those I put on my personal Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/karen.brzys?ref=tn_tnmn Sometimes, but not always, I duplicate a few of the photos between the two pages. This helps save time, plus there are different people who visit the two web pages.

For this web page update, I have selected some of my favorite sunset pictures. Beginning early spring, the sun sets far enough to the northwest that we finally get to see it peek out from behind Au Sable Point. We can seemingly see the sun dip to the horizon until the sun again sets behind Au Sable Point in the fall. This year there was floating ice on the lake into June, so I was able to get some interesting sunset photos.

The photo below shows some of the floating ice. This picture was taken on May 28th.

Many of you know that I am passionate about the Grand Sable Dunes. The picture below was taken from the middle of the dunes.

Of course, I have to include a beach photo. The picture below was taken around six miles east of Grand Marais.

 

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: April 2014

I would like to thank everyone again for the positive comments about the pictures I post on the blog at www.agatelady.blogspot.com, as well as those I put on my personal Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/karen.brzys?ref=tn_tnmn Sometimes, but not always, I duplicate a few of the photos between the two pages. This helps save time, plus there are different people who visit the two web pages.

For this web page update, I have selected some of my favorite pictures taken during the winter months. This has been quite a winter. It has been many years since Lake Superior has been as frozen as it was this year. I am hearing conflicting information about just how much snow we received, but it is close to 300 inches, if not more. Since we never had a thaw this winter, the snow just kept piling up. We are hoping that the initial formation of shore ice, followed by early winter movement of the ice around Lake Superior, and hopefully ending up with significant ice movement on the lake during the spring breakup – will bring new agates to the south shore. Time will tell.

The winter season started early. As the surface of the lake starts to freeze, pancake ice forms. The channel connecting Grand Marais Bay with Lake Superior is the best place to see pancake ice formations.

 

Next are a series of photos of Grand Marais lighthouses taken over the course of the winter.

I think the Grand Sable Dunes are more beautiful in the winter when you get the contrasting colors of various shades of white and brown.

 

As the wind shifts during the winter, it blows the ice back and forth around Lake Superior. Occasionally the ice breaks under the load and piles up. These ice sections are up to 20 feet in diameter.

 

Here are a couple of winter shoreline photos. The first was taken east of town; the second west of town.

Snow, snow, and more snow.

During the depth of the winter, the sun sets to the southwest. We always know spring is coming when the position of the setting sun starts to move toward and beyond Au Sable Point.

 

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: November 2013

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the positive comments I get regarding the pictures I post on the blog at www.agatelady.blogspot.com. This year I have missed more days than last, but I still average posting an update at least six days a week. So for this web page update, I looked through all the photos and picked out my favorite that I’ve taken over the past couple of months.

First, here are a few pictures taken along the cliffs in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The third one is the base of Chapel Rock. I think it looks like one of the stormtroopers from the Stars Wars movies.

Next is a photo of Chapel Falls.

 

Of course, I have to include a couple fall color pictures. The first one was taken from the overlook at Sable Lake looking straight across the lake. The second was taken on the path between the Log Slide and Au Sable Lighthouse.

Plus a couple of photos from the beaches of Grand Marais…..

And two pictures from the dunes, the second of which shows a different view of Au Sable Lighthouse….

But we may as well end this grouping with some sunset photos….

 

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: August 2013

I have not had a lot of time for hiking adventures this summer, but I have had a few great outings.

After posting the last web page update in March, I did a series of snowshoes on the beach in front of Woodland Park. Here are some of the photos taken from March through April.

Here are some more late winter, early spring photos taken on the beach and in the Grand Sable Dunes.

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to go to frozen waterfalls. Here are some shots that were taken at the Eben Ice Caves, as well as one of the creeks in Grand Marais.

During the winter, the whitetail deer hang out in my yard and dig for apples. Since the apple crop was not well last fall – the deer were very hungry. So in April, I did feed them corn in my yard.

Here are a couple of beach scenes showing driftwood and ice break up, followed by some other spring scenes.

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: March 2013

Since the regular museum hours ended in September, I have spent all my free time when not at shows working on the Online Rockhounding Adventures. Thus, I have not executed a web page update. So for this update, I’ll include a few extra photos.

Fall colors were spectacular last autumn. Some of the maple trees were redder than they have been in years.

Even during the part of the year that the sun sets south of Au Sable Point, we still have nice beach sunsets.


Sable Falls with more trees than usual….


Boulders on the beach near Au Sable Point….


Grand Sable Dunes…


The Pickle Barrel during early winter…


Another winter beach sunset….


Winter snowshoe scenes….

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: September 2012

I must admit that the summer schedule did not allow much time to hike. This is the first year that I worked most of the hours, other than when I was away at shows. The blog keeps me honest, to a degree, so I was able to get some good shots to document the beauty of the Grand Marais, MI area.

Twice this summer I hiked from the Hurricane River to Au Sable lighthouse. It is a great section of beach that is dotted with shipwreck remnants.

The lighthouse was built in the late 1800s to warn passing ships of the sandstone rock that extends a mile out from shore. The view from the top is amazing.

Progress on the new break wall, which will protect the mouth of Grand Marais bay, continues.

The waves of Lake Superior usually do not kick up their heels until October or November. These past few years, however, we have had strong winds much earlier. This year we had two extreme wind events in August!

Summer is the time when we in Grand Marais enjoy some fantastic sunsets. In the winter, the sun sets too far south.

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: June 2012

I have been busier than normal the past few months, but I still make time to get out to hike and take pictures. I cannot afford the time daily, but I try to get out a few times a week.

For this web page update, I am including a variety of pictures from the Grand Marais area. First, here are a couple pictures taken from the bluff of the Grand Sable Dunes.

During one sunset hike in the dunes, an ore freighter was passing by.

Here is a picture that was taken of one of the ghost forests in the Grand Sable Dunes.

My friends, Gerald and Jill, bought a house located near Carpenter Creek on the east side of town. I have never walked up that creek bed to see the grotto waterfalls – at least until a week or so ago. I just love falls that tumble over grotto walk formations.

On Memorial Day weekend I walked out the channel break wall to get pictures of the sunset. I have never seen so many people. There were more than 100 people enjoying the beautiful evening. This is VERY rare for Grand Marais.

The wildflowers have been terrific again this year. I especially enjoyed the trilliums.

One of the best parts of spending time in Grand Marais is to enjoy sunsets on the shore of Lake Superior.

Things have been busy in Grand Marais relevant to the building of the new break wall. I am in favor of making sure that our bay will serve as a harbor of refuge. This certainly requires protecting the mouth of the bay. I just wish that they would spend the extra money and build the break wall to follow the shoreline, rather than dissect the bay. The area east and northeast of the new break wall will fill in with sand. Plus there could be other unforeseen consequences. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that these are minimal.

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: March 2012

This seemingly has been the winter that wasn’t. Sure we have had cold temperatures, but for the second year in a row, I did not register any readings at my house below zero. The coldest my thermometer read was around 2 degrees F. During most of the winter the high temperatures were in the 20s and 30s. This week in mid-March we have seen temperatures in the 60s. Until the beginning of March, we didn’t even really have a full blown snow storm. In that storm, we received almost two feet of snow. I just called the County Road Commission and found out that the snowfall total in Grand Marais this winter has only been 148 inches. This measurement is taken south of town in the lake-effect snow belt, so in town, the total is much less. The contact person at the county thinks this may the lowest annual snowfall total ever recorded in Grand Marais.

Despite the mild temperatures, I have still captured some worthy winter scenes. But first is the picture I took of the March full moon. This shot was captured at the end of Coast Guard Point in Grand Marais. OK. I’ll admit it. This image is actually two photos merged together. The actual rising moon is much smaller relative to the pancake ice floating in the channel. It is still a cool image.

The next image was taken from the bluff on the bay looking east toward the harbor lighthouse. It features interesting colors from the sunset.

The next photo I took from Sand Point in Munising, MI. It is a picture of the ice hanging down from the cliffs on Grand Island.

The next two pictures are late-winter beach photos showing some of the shore ice.

These next two photos I took in front of the museum of UP 200 dog sled race teams. Because of lack of snow race officials had to change the route. Instead of starting and ending in Marquette, this year the mushers made two round trips between Chatham and Grand Marais, finishing for the first time on Sunday in Grand Marais.

Although the one winter storm we had was fierce, I bundled up and headed for the beach where I captured this next shot of shore ice.

The last two pictures I took while snowshoeing near the School Forest east of town right after the winter storm. Everything seemed to be covered in snow.

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: January 2012

Winter has been slow to start up in the Grand Marais area. There are no official snowfall totals for Grand Marais, but there are for Marquette. We are down at least 30 inches of snow so far this winter. Only half of the ski runs are open at Marquette Mountain. Many of the snowmobile trails are barely usable – some are not. I cross country skied the Grand Marais trails today. Although they have been groomed, grass and twigs show through on the track. The lack of snow is not only a problem here but throughout the country. Only 22 percent of the nation was covered by snow on January 4th. Compared to the last decade or so, it is the smallest area of snow cover. The second smallest total for this date was in 2007 at 27 percent of the country.

The national map showing snow cover as of January 4th is below.
The national map showing snow cover as of January 4th is below.

Since I have not executed a web page update for a while, I’ll include some fall as well as a few early winter photos. If you would like to enjoy additional photos, please go to my photo journal blog at www.agatelady.blogspot.com.

CURRENT GRAND MARAIS SCENES: Winter 2011

It was difficult to select pictures to feature in this update’s current Grand Marais scenes. If you would like to see others that I did not select, please visit my photoblog at www.agatelady.blogspot.com.

We’ll start out with a shot I took the day before the full lunar eclipse, which happened on December 21st. I posted some of the photos on the blog of the actual eclipse, but I like the full moon shot the best.

The UP 200 dog sled race took place the weekend of February 19th. The event has been going on for over 20 years. The race is limited to 40 dog sled teams, although only 19 teams signed up this year. Mushers included 8 from Minnesota, 4 from Michigan, 3 from Wisconsin, 2 from North Dakota, 1 from Ontario, and 1 from Ohio. Three women participated this year. In addition to the UP 200, there was also an 89-mile midnight run race with a route from Gwinn to Deerton and then ending in Munising.

The UP 200 route starts in the Marquette area traveling east to Grand Marais and back — usually a 240-mile round-trip distance. Because of the icy conditions, race officials shortened the race this year to end in Wetmore, which is located just east of Munising.

I did decide to open the museum this year, which took some work since I had to unpack all the items from the last art show plus the things I purchased in Tucson. It worked out well so I’m glad I decided to heat the building and open. The starting gate for the mushers to continue the return trip of the race is located right in front of the museum.

Fourteen of the teams finished this year’s race. Ryan Anderson from Ray, MN finished first as Team 2 with a total time of 21:42:24. He finished with 11 dogs, averaged 13.2 mph and had 10:34 rest time. Nathan Schroeder from Chisholm, MN finished second as team 4 with a total time of 22:00:29. David Gill as Team 13 finished third with a time of 22:21:37.

The event is possible because of hundreds of volunteers at each of the checkpoints, as well as the race officials, trail maintenance crew, timers, team runners (to help the teams get to the starting lines), and members of the community who work the trail to held direct the teams at intersections and at major turns in the trail.

Although we certainly are still in the midst of winter here on the south shore of Lake Superior, it has been the third winter in a row with lower than average snowfall amounts. I talked with one of the local road commission workers the other day who told me that the official snow amount received in the Grand Marais area so far this year is 170 inches. They measure the snowfall amounts several miles south of town. A few years ago we had over 325 inches of snow.

Below are a few winter shots taken in the Grand Marais area. First, a photo was taken from First Creek located just west of Woodland Park. Notice the remnants of a snowmobile track. For those who are not aware, it is illegal to drive any motorized vehicles including snowmobiles on the beach.

I have continued snowshoeing in the dunes this winter. Here is a picture that was taken from the Ghost Forest area near Sable Falls. When the wind breaks up the ice, many times the smaller chunks form into floating pancake ice. Also, notice the iceberg “blow hole” in the center of the picture. It is not safe to walk on the icebergs since sometimes you cannot see the blowholes as they may be covered over with snow.

 

During a recent thaw, we had alternating freezing and thawing temperatures. These changing temperatures can add to the beauty of the ice formations.