Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

Some Yooper Beaches!

“I often create goals which hold no interest of anyone but myself, and then feel compelled to pursue them.” – NMS

Well folks, that’s it! 63 beaches. I kinda rushed to get the last of them up, but there they are. I’m open to feedback if anyone wishes to share. I’ll work on putting together a website now. I do have more information for the beaches. I haven’t yet released my beach ratings, so look forward to that! I’ll once more include my ‘About’ page and ‘How it all began’ post here for sake of providing information… Hope you all enjoyed this. I never tire of talking about the beaches, so please feel free to contact me.

Also, my friend and fellow Yooper – Bugsy – has a blog (Yooper Steez) you should check out, and I wrote a post for him a while back. His link is on my navigation bar, but here is the link to the guest post I wrote: http://www.yoopersteez.com/blog/nature/upper-peninsula-beaches/

How it all began…

An introduction to my Some Beach Tour…

4-Mile Rock

4-Mile Rock

Near the end of July 2009 I sat in my office thinking about how it could very well be the last summer I ever spend in the U.P. I had my MI atlas & gazetteer out on my desk, Google maps on my computer screen, and Pandora’s country hits playing through my earphones. What to do, what to do? Even for a Yooper, I’d done and seen a lot of things; but there’s always something new to try – so what next? I was drawing on my map book in pencil, trying to decide on the best route for a waterfall tour in Skanee/Huron Mountains area. I got to thinking about the beach at the Mouth of the Huron and how that beach is a gem that so few people know about. I began to wonder what beaches I didn’t know about… The U.P. sure has a lot of shoreline, and there’s bound to be beaches near as good as Mouth of the Huron… maybe even better. I happen to be a great enthusiast of beaches – for camping, swimming, relaxing, etc… I had been to a great number of U.P. beaches growing up as a consequence of my mom being a rock hound. But there was still plenty of shoreline I’d never been to. A thorough Internet search revealed to me that it was unlikely anybody had a comprehensive listing of beaches on the U.P. – Lake Superior shoreline. Plenty of lists exist, but they are grossly incomplete, provide little information, and lack a very important element for someone trying to learn about a beach – pictures.

There are 3 things a person must know about me in order to understand the decision I’m about to describe. (1) I am a person of curiosity and interest. (2) When it comes to adventures, I always pick good ones. (3) I often create goals which hold no interest of anyone but myself, and then feel compelled to pursue them. So, naturally, while sitting in my office that morning ignoring the research I should’ve been doing I decided to take it upon myself to swim at every public beach on the U.P. – Lake Superior shoreline. Blake Shelton had started playing… “Well I was driving down the interstate, running 30 minutes late, singing margaritaville and minding my own…” When I left the office I had decided to call my obscure project “Some Beach Tour.”

The ‘About’ page…

In the latter portion of summer I took on a peculiar personal challenge to swim at every public beach on the U.P. shoreline of Lake Superior. 63 beaches later, I consider myself the youngest Yooper expert of beaches. I can name every public swimming hole between Wisconsin and the Sault, and I can describe valuable information about the area, the beach, camping, etc… As I went to each beach I marked their names on a beach-ball and had friends take pictures of me. I took 3 signature pictures at each beach: (1) Shot of me with the ball in my left arm, making the U.P. sign with my right hand and the beach in the background. (2) A close-up of the beach name written on the ball. (3) An action shot of me jumping into the water.

Da U.P. Hand
Da UP Hand
Beach Ball
Beach Ball
Dive
Dive

I’ve also put together a rating system for the beaches in order to rank their characteristics and try to establish what is the “best” beach in the U.P. I am unwilling to divulge the results of my calculations just yet, as I am working on putting together a website for all this. What people can make note of, however, is that this website will be the only of its kind. To my knowledge, no other comprehensive listing of beaches along the UP – Superior shoreline exists. Even if such a list does exist, I’m sure it would not include a firsthand account of each beach, documented photography, and helpful information regarding “beach rating” criteria.

This is a photographical timeline of my Some Beach Tour.

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

63: South Beach Park

“He that can have patience, can have what he will.” – Ben Franklin

I'm always on duty.

South Beach Park is apparently one of the most popular beaches in Marquette. I was unaware of it when I first visited the Marquette beaches, so I went back to see this one. It was late September though, and closed for the season. Fortunately for myself, I am my own active, non-certified lifeguard… The beach does look like it could be popular. There is nice playground equipment and the beach is really nice sand… the water is shallow but has a sandy bottom… Seems pretty nice. But I think Shiraz Park to the North is nicer. Perhaps South Beach Park is more popular for younger crowds, and Shiraz Park is more popular for the high school and college crowd? Either way, both have Lake Superior water… and I do love beaches.

Here’s a Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer

.

Next to the power plant...

All the toys I could possible need.

It's after-season...

Basically, I'm a large child...

But I'm an expert of beaches...

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

62: Seven Mile Point

“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things.” – Shawshank Redemption

Seven Mile Point. Trying out a new shirt...

Seven Mile Point is a beach I had previously missed, just South of Five-Mile Point on the Keweenaw Peninsula. It’s an easy place to miss when driving by, and its possible for someone to live in the area and never visit this place. That is a shame, however, because Seven Mile Point is one of the neatest beaches I’ve ever seen. It is also a rock-picker’s dream! Agates abound on this beach! It is reminiscent of Hunter’s Point in Copper Harbor, with the cove of small red rocks worn smooth as glass. But the waves aren’t as harsh in this area. The cove is small, and there is a small point of rough terrain that separates this pebbled cove from a sandy beach on the North side. Quite unique, actually. The water drops off very quickly, as you can see by my pictures below. This is definitely one of those places I would suggest visiting – if only just to see it. On a nice day, its a ‘wow’ location. I’ve never seen it during poor weather, but it could be neat then as well.

The North Woods Conservancy owns this beach, making it ‘technically’ a private beach… but they own it privately to protect its public availability. There is a gate on the road out to the beach, and it is only open during certain hours. Pretty much only open on weekends and only during summer months. Into late September the beach has less regular hours of availability. It is very worth visiting though! Especially if you are a rock picker. I might suggest this is the best rock picking beach in the U.P. (for agates at least…).

And a great place to swim as well. The water was pretty cold when I was here because it was late in the fall. But the water is absolutely clear – so I was able to feel confident in making the dives you’ll see below!

Here’s a Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

Water looks soooo nice.

I'll try it out.

Hmmm. That island looks kinda neat...

I'll give that a try too!

Uh oh...

Don't worry. I'm a trained professional.

What a nice spot.

One part sand, and one part sea... one part shade of an aspen tree...

It's part of the North Woods Conservancy

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

61: Brimley State Park

“In winter we shovel snow, and in summer we swat mosquitoes. In the spring and the fall we rest up for swatting and shoveling.” – Peter Oikarinen’s reply to the often asked question of Yoopers ‘What do you guys do up there?’ – 1987

Brimley State Park.

The beach at Brimley State Park is popular for the following reasons, in order of importance based on my personal opinion: (1) It is a state park – lots of campers with a beach right there… (2) there are very few other beaches around, and (3) it’s a decent beach. There is an actual marked swimming area to keep swimmers safe from boaters. The beach has nice sand. But… it’s crowded and there’s not much room. The water is not the cleanest either. But the state park is there, which is awesome! Brimley does have a very nice park. And this beach is the farthest East that I know of. Beyond this is private beaches and then the Sault Locks and Canada.

I’d say this is a good beach, but I wouldn’t make a trip there just for that. The park is nice, and that’s worth going to for a weekend. Do take a swim if you are at the park though!

Here’s the Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

Popular Beach.

I gave it a shot...

State Park.

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

60: Bay Mills

“The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” – Ecclesiastes 9:11

Bay Mills.

So, Bay Mills is actually a really nice spot. Its a beach within the town, however, so probably gets crowded. On this day, there was a softball tournament going on just a hundred or so yards from the beach. Looked like most of the town was there watching, so few people were at the water. As you can see though, it looks nice. The bottom is a bit rocky, but nothing terrible. So, yeah, its a nice beach but I don’t give it high recommendations because it is so close to town. Too much going on here… a little busy. There is, however, a casino only a block or two away!

Here’s the Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

Not far from the casino...

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

59: Pendills Bay

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Paul the Apostle

Pendills Bay

Pendills Bay is nothing incredible, but still a nice beach. The view is quite nice of course, and the beach is okay too. A long beach, but not very wide. One cool thing is some larger rocks out in the water – fun for jumping off of. Otherwise there’s not much going on. The water is mostly clean, but somehow felt a little dirty to me. The tree line is just too close to the water… just as it is for Tahquamenon Bay and Halfaday Creek as well. Still a nice spot for local beach goers though!

Here’s the Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

Some like it...

I'll take a swim almost anywhere...

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

58: Halfaday Creek

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Paul the Apostle

Halfaday Creek...

The beach at Halfaday Creek is a bit more interesting than other beaches along this stretch of shoreline. The sand is really nice, and the creek is there… and it seemed to me that it was a popular spot for locals. I only happened across this beach… hadn’t known there was actually a beach. I knew about the Halfaday Creek because my dad had told me stories years ago about his fishing trips to that creek. I’d never heard of it otherwise or even seen it on a map, but when I saw the road sign I knew I had to stop. And ‘whatta-ya-know”… there was a nice little beach! Nothing special, but nice.

As for why it’s called Halfaday? I don’t know. You certainly wouldn’t spend more than half a day there though. Might spend half a day trying to find it too…

Check out Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

Swim.

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

57: Tahquamenon Bay

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12: 10

Tahquamenon Bay

Tahquamenon Bay is just South of the mouth of the Tahquamenon River. There is a nice campground on the bay, and plenty of things to see in the area (ever heard of Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, Whitefish Marina…?). The bay seems pretty stagnant however, and I wasn’t very attracted to the shoreline. This beach is on the southeast end of Tahquamenon Bay, and is located by a rest stop on the highway. Not much special about the beach, but probably a nice swimming spot for locals. I wouldn’t make a special trip to see this beach, but its definitely a nice spot to stop for some sunshine, water, and R&R…

Here’s a Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

TB

Probably nice for some...

Don't mind if I do...

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

56: Whitefish Marina

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

Whitefish Marina.

Whitefish Marina is not an official beach – it’s a marina. But there is (for the record) a beach on each side. The marina is just to cool to pass up if you are driving through. It is filled with all kinds of fishing boats that look too old to be floating anymore, and the piers stretch way out into the water at about 15 feet above the lake. A nice place to fish if you have no boat!

And if you’re like me… its a great place to have a little fun. I haven’t checked on the legality of this and am sure it is not allowed to be swimming out there or jumping off the pier… but when the water is as calm as it is in these pictures, and the water blends into the sky on the horizon, and no incoming boats are in sight, and there’s a ladder that appears to be safe for climbing out of the water… Well, you know…

So be sure to check this place out if you go to Whitefish Point. But go swimming at your own risk.

Here’s a Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

Take my camera, watch this...

Yeah... it's about 15 feet high...

But I landed it!

Kinda neat little marina.

The rest of these pics are from a trip a couple years earlier… Water almost as calm, sky just as blue.

Lots of old boats...

Fishing boats.

And they're still used...

Fun.

Posted by: nmstenvi | June 14, 2010

55: Whitefish Point

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (12)Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” – Hebrews 12: 11-12

Whitefish Point. Birdwatching paradise.

Unlike many other beaches along the eastern U.P. shoreline, Whitefish Point is very well known. This isn’t because of the beach, however, but because of the bird observatory. Whitefish Point is a major migratory route for birds, so most people you see here are carrying binoculars and/or cameras. In addition to the birds, Whitefish Point is known for its shipwreck museum and lighthouse. The lighthouse went into operation in 1849, and shares honors with the lighthouse at Copper Harbor as the first lights on Lake Superior. It is the oldest active light on Lake Superior.

Whitefish Point has an amazing amount of history regarding shipwrecks. See below for a great excerpt!!!

The beach at Whitefish Point is amazing too! Lots of open sand with some rocks… but a great view of Lake Superior all the way to Canada where you can see their wind farms along the shoreline. The one negative thing I would say about the beach is that it is very popular… sometimes to the point of being over crowded by bird watchers taking a break. Some people show up just for the beach, but most are there to tour the museum and see birds. Parking is an issue as well, and you may end up walking quite a ways to get to the beach, especially on the weekends. In all, though, it is a great spot – there is a reason it is so popular! Definitely a place every Yooper should check out at least once. Please be sure to read the excerpt I mentioned. It is below the next picture.

Here’s a Google Map. And here’s the Shoreline Viewer.

Have the birds... I'll take the beach.

Okay, so I mentioned I had an excerpt for you. I’ve taken this from http://www.exploringthenorth.com/whitefish/whitefish.html which has some nice information about Whitefish Point. Not sure if its the official website, but read this:

Whitefish Point is known as the Graveyard of Ships as more vessels have been lost here than in any other part of the lake. Hundreds of vessels, including the famed Edmund Fitzgerald, lie on the bottom of the bay and the approaches. The lighthouse marks the end of an 80 mile stretch of shoreline known as Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. This light has shined onto the big lake unfailingly for almost 150 years except for the night when the Edmund Fitzgerald went down.

Raging northwest winds, building up over 160 miles of open water, create waves of unbelievable proportions. These violent storms and wild waters erupt with a suddenness that often catch sailors unprepared. The mountainous waves strike harder and more often that any ocean wave. The waves come roaring in from two or three different directions, ricocheting off the shores and returning with even more intensity. These monstrous storms, of hurricane force and duration, strike with all the ferocity and brutality of any ocean storm.

Lake Superior’s storm of 1905 in combined terms of snow, cold, wind, shipwreck, and heavy seas, is generally agreed to be the worst ever to strike the Great Lakes. In what seemed like minutes, the temperature dropped to twelve degrees below zero and a hurricane ripped the world of fresh water apart. Thirty vessels were wrecked on Superior, some were thrown out of the water.

At 4:30 pm on November 10, 1975, as the Edmund Fitzgerald struggled towards Whitefish Bay, forty-eight miles to the south, the light and the radio beacon at the remote navigational station at Whitefish Point suddenly clicked off. The Fitzgerald, already crippled by non-functioning storm damaged radar, was now without homing capability from the automated system at Whitefish. The Fitzgerald was left to fend for itself in unbelievable weather conditions.

Captain McSorley, a 44 year veteran of the sea, described it: “We are taking heavy seas over our decks; it’s the worst sea I’ve ever been in”. At approximately 7:15 P.M., November 10, 1975, the 729-foot ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and her crew of 29 sailed into history.

Each year on November 10th, there is a Memorial Service at the Whitefish Point Light Station for the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The ship’s bell is rung 30 times, once for each member of the crew and one time for all mariners who have been lost at sea. This service is open to the public.

First lit in 1849, the Whitefish Point Light shares honors with the lighthouse at Copper Harbor for being the first lights on Lake Superior. It stands guard over the entrance to Whitefish Bay, sometimes the only shelter to be found for a ship trying to escape the fury of the lake, and is the oldest active light on Lake Superior.

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