Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lake Superior Beach

On this last day before opening the museum for the season I have a lot of things on my to-do list. I did not get a chance to post a blog update yesterday, so I'll include a few extra photos today.

A couple of days ago I hiked from Sable Falls into the dunes. I walked southwest up and down a few, headed north across the dunes, slid down the face of Grand Sable Bank, walked east back down the beach, and climbed up Sable Falls steps to my car. It was just a glorious day to enjoy the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

I really enjoyed being on the beach. Other people did, too, since I saw at least a half dozen people. Those of you in more populated may think that this statement is funny. Only a half dozen people you say? Well, in Grand Marais when you venture more than a half mile from road access, you very often have the beach all to your self.

After enjoying walking next to the lake for a while, I then began to examine the bluff. The amount of erosion in the spring is always more demonstrative than it is late summer. Not only is there still seepage from snow melt, but these flows carve drainage patterns in the face of the dune. Later in the year continued erosion seemingly erases the detail.

When I saw this alluvial fan-like remnants, I realized how beautiful the patterns are. It is hard to tell, but there was actually water running in the center of the dune, which then must have cut under the alluvial fan-like formation.

Then I decided I wanted to get a close up of the patterns. I thought that the alluvial-fan like formation was hard sand. I found out it isn't. For a second while taking the picture my foot seemed to stay on top. Next thing I knew I was caught up to my ankle in very sticky muck. It took everything I had to pull my foot out. Sometimes nature humbles you a bit.

In several places there were isolated clay deposits caught up in the stratified layers of the dune. I wonder if these clay deposits mark the locations of ancient lagoons.

At the mouth of Sable River (Second Creek), a little pool has formed. This would be a great place to soak on a hot summer day if the pool lasts until it warms up. Chances are, however, that the river will carve out a new mouth by then.

Here are a couple updated pictures of the falls.

The sun angle on the falls was perfect. I decided to play with the settings of my camera. First, here is a small section of the cascading falls that I focused on.

Then I zoomed in and set the shutter speed on the camera to try to freeze the water in space. It is so much fun to play with my new camera....

Finally, here is a shot of a bird sitting on top of an evergreen tree.   Thanks to Vince Cavalieri I have been told that it is a Bohemian Waxwing, a relative of the more common Cedar Waxwing.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Karen, that bird is a Bohemian Waxwing, a larger and more northerly cousin of the common Cedar Waxwing (you can identify them by the red color underneath their tail, "the undertail coverts", which are white in Cedar Waxwings. Not rare in the U.P. during winter (though always a nice find), its an especially great sighting for later in May!