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 Spectacular Summertime Instagram Photos from Our Fans in July 2014

With warm temperatures and sunny skies across the state, July was a beautiful month to get out and explore Pure Michigan – and our Instagram fans’ spectacular summertime captures did not disappoint! From long days at the beach to an evening in the city, here are just a few of our favorite Instagram fan photos from July.

For more fan photos, check out our AprilMay and June roundups and follow us on Instagram

A peaceful evening in Ottawa County courtesy of Instagram user @rkramer62.Ottawa County Sunset @rkramer62

The 313 celebrated its 313th birthday this month! Did you celebrate Detroit‘s birthday this year? Photo courtesy of Instagram user @joshtallyphotos.joshtallyphotos

Beautiful blue waters surround the ore dock in Marquette‘s Lower Harbor. Photo courtesy of Instagram user @detroittinydancer.detroittinydancer marquette

Lovely Mackinac Island lilacs add a splash of color to this summer scene. Photo courtesy of Instagram user @rwalli02.rwalli02 mac island

Smooth stones washed ashore along Lake Huron courtesy of Instagram user @mjo524.928298_1509596179272235_1316778010_n

If you’re on Instagram, follow us @PureMichigan! If you’d like us to share your photos from across the state, please tag them with #PureMichigan to give us permission to “re-gram.”

Fifteen Photos That Will Get You Dreaming of a Perfect Pure Michigan Beach Day

Our 10-Day Pure Michigan Instagram #BeachChallenge has come to a close. We had a blast admiring all of your wonderful submissions  - nearly 2,000 of them! Since there were so many photos that truly captured the beauty and unique character of Michigan’s beaches, we put together this roundup of our daily challenge winners and a few other honorable mentions.

See the full gallery of submissions at michigan.org/beachchallenge. 

Congratulations to our grand prize winner, Gina Ferwerda! We love this spectacular shot captured at Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Read about Gina’s winning entry here.ginaferwerda Silver Lake Sand Dunes

A crowd gathers on the pier at Grand Haven State Park Beach to enjoy a colorful sunset in Pure Michigan. Photo by Day 1 challenge winner Bob Peskorse Jr.Bob Peskorse Jr Grand Haven

This pup is all tired out after a long day of playing on Empire Beach! Photo by Day 2 Beach Challenge winner Sarah Hunt.oni_one_ empire beach

A picture perfect day at Orchard Beach State Park near Manistee, MI. Photo by Day 3 challenge winner Deb Nerkeen.tototoophoto Orchard Beach State Park

Clear skies and sandy shores near Manistique make for some great kite-flying conditions. Photo by Day 4 challenge winner Carrie Shea.Carrie Shea Thompson MI west of Manistique

What a cool view captured during a paddle trip at Stoney Creek Metropark! Photo by Day 5 challenge winner Rainie Mills.RainieMills Stoney Creek Metropark

A blazing sunrise and some early morning fishing start the day in Copper Harbor. Photo by Day 6 challenge winner Matthew Winn.splashofsunset Copper Harbor

Pristine sparkling waters roll into shore along Lake Huron in Rogers City, MI. Photo by Day 7 challenge winner Rachel Welch.rachel_welch93 Rogers City

Sand and surf as far as the eye can see at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Phot by Day 8 challenge winner Steve Keighly.Steve Keighley Sleeping Bear Dunes

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a perfect Pure Michigan sunset after a day at the beach with family and friends! Photo by Day 9 challenge winner Jason McIver at Tiscornia Beach in St. Joseph.Jason McIver Photography Tiscornia Beach St. Joseph

Colorful, crackling fireworks explode over the glowing Mighty Mac near St. Ignace. Photo by Day 10 challenge winner Shawn Kellogg.Shawnkkellogg St.Ignace

Smooth aquamarine waters are wonderful for watersports at Weko Beach near Bridgman. Photo by Melissa Cieniuch (Honorable Mention).misscieniuchscience Weko Beach Bridgman, MI

A tranquil scene along 5th Street Beach in Manistee. Photo by Instagram user @michigram55 (Honorable Mention).michigram55 5th Street Beach Manistee

The sandy shores of Lake Michigan are just right for building a sand castle. Photo by Robert Jacobs (Honorable Mention).Sunset on Grand Traverse Bay - Grand Haven

A picture perfect day at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo by  Kaci Babineau (Honorable Mention).kacibabs pictured rocks

How do you like to spend a day at the beach in Pure Michigan?