Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pictured Rocks Hike -- Fourth Posting

Continuing on the Chapel Loop, Wendy and I hiked west of Grand Portal Point towards Mosquito Beach. Here is the part of the trail that the photos in this posting document.

One of the Pictured Rocks Formations is called Indian Head Rock. Here are a few pictures.

We saw a couple of birds on this part of the hike. First a female cardinal and then, of course, one of many seagulls.

As we hiked closer to Mosquito Beach, there was a great view of another natural arch. Following this view, the trail turned south into the woods. We didn't get another view until we arrived at Mosquito Beach.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pictured Rocks Hike -- Third Posting

The tour of the chapel loop continues. This posting includes pictures taken as we approached and rounded Grand Portal Point, which is between Chapel and Mosquito. This is the best section of cliffs in all of the Pictured Rocks. First, here is a map showing where this groupings of photos were taken.

I normally do not hike this trail in the summer, so I'm not used to seeing all the boats including the Pictured Rocks tour boats which travel out of Munising. There was at least one boat per hour. They were not too disturbing. There is enough natural beauty to entertain us all.

At every point along the ridge, trees are seemingly toppling over the edge. The birches especially are beautiful as they bow to Lake Superior.

Here are some photos of the cliffs. Notice the kayak in the third picture.

In a couple of spots along the cliffs there are elevated beaches. One of these beaches, however, tumbled down a few years ago.

Here are a couple of more shots. I believe this is Grand Portal Point taken from the west side.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pictured Rocks Hike -- Second Posting

As we continue the documentation of the Chapel Loop hike, this segment features photos taken during the 1.8 mile section between Chapel Falls and Chapel Rock, as well as the .3 miles between Chapel Rock and the end of Chapel Beach and around a half mile along the cliffs toward Grand Portal Point. Below is this section shown in purple.

I absolutely love Chapel Rock. For many many decades this White Pine tree has survived with roots that free span over to the mainland. At one point there was a land bridge under the roots, but it broke away long ago. The tree is certainly a survivor.

I usually do not hike this trail mid-summer, so I have never seen it so busy. There were quite a few people camping as well as many boats. Everyone was enjoying the beautiful day.

As soon as you pass Chapel Beach and make the turn west, the Pictured Rocks offers you great views.

This is a view of Chapel Beach from the cliffs located west of the beach. You can see Chapel Rock in the left side of the photo.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pictured Rocks Hike -- Post 1

My exercise routine has been interrupted by the busy summer schedule. However, on Sunday hiking friend Wendy and I decided to drive to Melstrand and hike the Chapel Loop. The sign says the entire loop, including Mosquito Falls, is around 9.8 miles. We did a couple of side hikes so the total was around 10 miles. Although we were glad to see the parking lot, we both faired well.

Over the next few days, I'll take you on the hike with us. I'll post the photos in the order they were taken. The first picture was taken on the six mile drive north of Melstrand to the Chapel area parking lot. I just love the birch trees along this section of road.

Once we put on our day packs and grabbed our hiking poles, we headed north on the trail to Chapel Falls. This trail is 1.3 miles to the falls. A map is below. The red line marks our entire route. The first section features in this posting is marked in purple.

Here is a shot taken about half way between the parking area and Chapel Falls.

You don't see Chapel River until you get close to the falls.

Here are two shots of the falls. One was taken on the southeast side before crossing the river. The second shot was taken from a platform located northwest of the falls.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Agates for the Museum

Usually I try to limit the number of new mineral specimens I purchase for the museum to one or two a year. That rule was thrown out the window at Moose Lake. I decided I needed to get a high quality example of a new agate from Brazil as well as some Argentina agates.

This nearly 12 pound agate from Brazil completely blew me away. It was found buried in the Jequitinhohna River in Minas Gerais, Brazil during the 1970s. Apparently the sands of the river are diamond bearing. After the agate eroded free of its host rock, it ended up in this river. The diamond bearing sands in the river naturally polished the agate.

Next are photos of the Argentina agates I purchased from Ana De Los Santos. They include a Condor Agate, Puma Agate, and Snow Agate.

The photographer for the book, Tom Shearer, and I traded some specimens. He gave me this outstanding Polyhedroid Agate from northern Brazil. Scientists think that these agates formed in voids between calcite crystals.

Finally, for you Grand Marais lovers here are a couple of shots of a sunset taken from the south side of Grand Marais Bay.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moose Lake Agate Days -- Post 2

This year sales in my booth were the best yet. Things were looking a little sparse in the booth on Sunday. I had a request from a friend to take a photo of my booth -- here it is.

Later on Sunday I snapped this picture from my corner of the gym. Sunday's are always a bit more manageable relative to the number of people who attend. Saturday was not as bad this year as last, but it was still nuts.

Moose Lake is all about the agates. There were LOTS of Lakers for sale, as well as many other types of agate and minerals.

One guy was selling basalt matrix with embedded agates.

Of course there were big agates for sale.

I met and spent a little time with Ana De Los Santos. Although she now lives in California, she is part owner of the Argentina agate mines. She spends a couple of months each year mining agates and a lot of time cutting and face polishing. It is nice to have another woman working in the industry.

One of the highlights of Moose Lake Agate Days is the stampede at 2:00 pm. Because of the popularity of this event and the thousands of people who participate, this year the organizers doubled the size. Two gravel trucks dumped rock along two city blocks. In the gravel there was 500 pounds of agate as well as $400 in quarters. Everyone has to stay behind the yellow police ribbon until the cannon goes off. Then it is a free for all.

I'm not sure how this rockhound felt about the event.