Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Au Sable Trail

Yesterday the sun got me away from my computer. Although designing the online rockhounding adventures is tedious, I am enjoying it immensely. It is difficult for me to do anything else.

As I left my house, plans were to hike in the dunes, but I decided instead to investigate the trail that goes west from the Log Slide. I wanted to check the amount of water at the lower part of the trail given the lack of snow we had this winter. Every year I hike this trail in the spring and have always encountered massive wet areas on the trail due to the recently melted snow. I was curious if the same is true this year.
As I approached the log slide, there was this sign regarding the cell phone audio tour.

The number is 906-813-9010. This trial program only has five stops right now. You can call this number from anywhere to hear about the following stops:

Stop 1 -- Miners Castle
Stop 2 -- Au Sable Lighthouse
Stop 3 -- Munising Falls
Stop 4 -- Log Slide
Stop 5 -- Sable Falls

When you call the number, you press the stop number of choice. When the recording finishes, you can then select another stop number.

Then I headed west down the trail toward Au Sable Lighthouse.

When my kids were small, every time I took pictures of the Grand Sable Banks and Au Sable Lighthouse, they would say "Mom, you have taken those same pictures a million times."  Well here is a million and one.....

Notice the silt in the water that is still not settled after the northerly winds switched to come from the east.

I love walking in the woods during the spring.

The park is replacing the boards on the boardwalk.  This is a good year to accomplish this task because of the total lack of water.  There is almost no evidence of recent snow melt.

Here is a picture of an area that every other year I have seen pools of water.  There have even been some years that I was not able to get past this spot without walking in water.  As you can see, there is no water this year.

Around three quarters of the way to the lighthouse, there is a small footbridge.  From the bridge, you can climb down to the beach. This is one of my favorite spots, so I headed down to the beach.

Here is a photo I took of the top of a metamorphic gneiss boulder.  The boulder originated in the northwestern part of Ontario and was dumped in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore area by the glaciers.  Do you see the crawling lizard on top of the rock?

This section of beach provides a great view of the Grand Sable Banks.

The best part of this beach is that it is made up mostly of an outcropping of Jacobsville sandstone.
Jacobsville Sandstone is a red and tan sandstone found in the northern half of the Upper Peninsula,  portions of Ontario, and under much of Lake Superior. Desired for its durability and aesthetics, the sandstone was used as an architectural building stone, both locally and around the United States. The stone was extracted by thirty-two quarries throughout the Upper Peninsula approximately between 1870 and 1915.  In 1907, the Jacobsville Formation was given its current classification and the name Jacobsville, in honor of  Jacobesville, MI -- a town known for its production of the sandstone. There is disagreement regarding the age of the sandstone, though most agree that it was formed around a billion years ago.

The outcroppings of this sandstone in the U.P. is shown on the map below.

The stone is definitely photogenic, as you can see in the series of photos below.

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