These Isle Royale Photos Are Sure to Inspire Your Next U.P. Getaway

Today, Michigan landscape photographer Joshua Nowicki shares some photos from a recent trip to Isle Royale. We’re sure his experience will inspire you to add the Upper Peninsula to your Pure Michigan getaway bucket list! 

Several weeks ago, I was invited to photograph a family wilderness program for the Isle Royale Institute (a partnership between Michigan Technological University and Isle Royale National Park).  It was my first trip to the island, and I was incredibly excited. I was delighted to discover that my expectations for the trip were far exceeded.

Sitting on the bow of the Isle Royale Queen IV and watching Copper Harbor, Michigan disappear into the distance as my cell phone signal faded filled me with joy.  As we moved further out into cool air of Lake Superior, a beautiful white all-encompassing fog surrounded the boat adding to the sense of adventure.  Approaching the island, even before I could see the land, there was a warmth in the breeze and a soft sweetness to the air.  As the island appeared out of the fog, the sky began to clear, and the air warmed.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

After disembarking from the ship, we received a short humorous and very informative introduction to the island from park ranger, Lucas Westcott.  Upon setting foot on land, I was struck by the beauty and wealth of wild flowers; a gorgeous layer of orange, yellow, purple and white blanketed sections of the landscape.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

On my first evening, I went for a walk along the Rock Harbor Trail and saw numerous loons, squirrels, and rabbits.  Additionally, upon turning a corner in the trail, I found myself standing within 30 yards of a cow moose and calf.  At night, I enjoyed listening to the sounds of nature and I could even occasionally hear moose walking through the woods near my tent.  I saw more moose on Isle Royale than I have in all of the trips that I have taken to the Upper Peninsula.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

The Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study is followed around the world, and I delighted in a trip to Bangsund Cabin to meet Rolf and Candy Peterson.  Standing in the Museum of Pathology and listening to Rolf discuss the project was a surreal experience I will always treasure.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

A short walk from Bangsund Cabin, leads to the Rock Harbor Lighthouse which is open to the public as a museum.  The tower of the lighthouse also provides visitors with a magnificent view of Rock Harbor and Lake Superior.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photgraphy

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photgraphy

The number of amazing experiences I had are too numerous to write about in one blog post. Some of the additional highlights of my trip were:

Hiking along the Greenstone Ridge and enjoying the fantastic view of the island and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Canada from the steps of Mount Ojibway Tower.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Marveling at the view of the night sky.  I have never seen the Milky Way so clearly and was even fortunate enough to see both the Milky Way and Northern Lights one evening.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Waking early to watch the sunrise over the forest.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photgraphy

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photgraphy

Walking through sections of white spruce and balsam forest covered with Old Man’s Beard Lichen.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Having the rare opportunity to watch a group of pelicans fly over the island, finding greenstones along the beach near Rock Harbor Lighthouse (all stones were left at the beach as per park guidelines), sitting and watching hummingbird moths busily flying from flower to flower, watching curious squirrels explore our camp, and meeting park superintendent Phyllis Green and discussing how a trip to Isle Royale is an incredible place for a family adventure…just to name a few!

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

If you love hiking and camping, Isle Royale is an absolute paradise where you can enjoy the uninterrupted beauty and sound of nature.  However, if camping is not for you, you can experience the island from the comfort of the Rock Harbor Lodge.  There are a variety of trails that are easy to access from the lodge or by water taxi.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

Photo courtesy of Joshua Nowicki Photography

I look forward to my next trip to explore more of this beautiful national treasure.

Joshua_NowickiJoshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer specializing in landscape, nature, architecture, and food photography. His photos can be viewed online on Facebook or his website.

Five Reasons to Race Across the Mighty Mackinac Bridge

Stretch those hammies and get ready for the Mighty Mac Bridge Race – a certified, 11k run like no other in Michigan or beyond. Today, Mindy Rutgers from St. Ignace Visitors Bureau tells us why this race is a can’t-miss.

Mackinac BridgeThe Mighty Mac Bridge Race will take place on Saturday, September 27, 2014 with the starting line in Mackinaw City and the finish line and after party in St. Ignace. What makes this race special? Here are five reasons you’ll want to race across the Mighty Mac.

Twice as Nice

Why run a course on one peninsula when you can cover two? This span connects Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with the Lower Peninsula. Why run on a bridge that crosses one body of water when you can race across the nexus of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan? One is fine but twice is nice and that’s never truer than when your own two feet are taking you to new heights.

Bucket-List Worthy

Photo courtesy of St. Ignace Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of St. Ignace Visitors Bureau

If you’re a runner with a bucket list of interesting locales, what could be better than the 5th longest suspension bridge in the world? Maybe the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere? Check! The Mackinac Bridge is the fifth longest in the world and the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere with a total length of 26,372 feet. For those keeping track, the length of the suspension portion is 8,614 feet.

Enjoy the Journey AND the Destination

For those who say the journey is more important than the destination, we say you can have your fudge and eat it, too. Enjoy a truly awe-inspiring view across the five-mile bridge and then land in picturesque St. Ignace, where a Samuel Adams party, complete with participant medals and division trophies, awaits. From Noon to 6pm, snag some swag while mingling with runners, visitors, and people who only wish they had your endurance and commitment.

Carb Loading Yooper Style

Photo courtesy of St. Ignace Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of St. Ignace Visitors Bureau

There’s never been a better excuse to have a baked potato with your fresh-caught whitefish dinner or a traditional U.P. pasty, with its starchy potato and ground beef filling, than fueling up for a race. Foods of all types are found in St. Ignace restaurants and, of course, the car trip home might require a slab of fudge or two. Go ahead. You earned it.

This isn’t just any selfie

Race participants will each receive a “Time to the Top” photo on the Mackinac Bridge – a truly special memento from race day. Forget the selfie. Watch the comments roll in when you share this picture on social media. Runners will also receive a long-sleeve t-shirt and a Kewadin Casino package, which means the Mighty Mac Bridge Race could make you both rich and famous.

Learn more and register for the Mighty Mac Bridge Race at www.stignace.com or call (800)338-6660.

Mindy Rutgers is the Executive Director of the St. Ignace Visitors Bureau. She has worked in Michigan’s tourism & hospitality industry since 1996, holding posts in the Detroit metro area, as well as in the Upper Peninsula.  

Behind the Scenes of Marquette’s Craft Breweries

With breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs galore, craft beer is pouring in Pure Michigan! Today, featured blogger Jesse Land of Things to Do in the U.P. shares a behind the scenes look at the breweries of Marquette with the help of filmmaker Aaron Peterson. 

It’s no secret that Michigan’s craft beer scene is booming. And if you’ve read my Ultimate List of Upper Peninsula Breweries, you’ll remember that we have quite a few breweries in the U.P.!

But did you know that four of the U.P.’s most established breweries call Marquette County home? And that three of them are within walking distance of each other? For that and many other reasons, the Marquette area attracts craft beer lovers from all over. And to showcase the local craft beer scene, the good folks at Travel Marquette Michigan (with local filmmaker Aaron Peterson) produced a short video that goes behind the scenes of Marquette’s craft beer culture.

Enjoy!

Jesse-Land-headshot1Written by Jesse Land of Things to do in the U.P. on behalf of Travel Marquette Michigan.