Five Gorgeous Instagram Photos from Our Fans in May 2016

It’s almost summertime and we’re looking forward to more Tiger’s games, boating, golf and many more quintessential Michigan experiences. All of these outdoor activities lead to gorgeous photos of our fantastic state, which our Pure Michigan Instagram community perfectly captured last month. From the beautiful skyline of Detroit, the Comeback City, to Turnip Rock in Port Austin, take a look at a few favorites shared with us in May.

A beautiful shot of a beautiful city.  Make sure you get out and explore Detroit this summer.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @rickthird

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @rickthird

A kayak trip to Turnip Rock in Port Austin is a must!

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @forehand67

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @forehand67

Celebrate the 50th year of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore this summer! Can’t go wrong with these views.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @smilesbeek

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @smilesbeek

Woah, these colorful skies never get old. This shot was taken near Lake Orion.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @iamandrewchristian

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @iamandrewchristian

A stairway to adventure on Mackinac Island.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @micaelraephotography

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @micaelraephotography

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

Tell us which image is your favorite in the comments!

Getting to Turnip Rock: One Amazing Adventure

Over the summer, Awesome Mitten has been traveling around the state on #MittenTrip adventures of “awesome” proportions. We set out to cover the travel experiences of Team Awesome writers in twelve different cities over twelve weeks – it’s been a blast so far!

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I had the lucky charge of heading to Port Austin to learn more about the “tip of the thumb.”  The only way to get to the rock and its friends is by the water since the area surrounding is private property, and the best means is by kayak.

Harbor Beach, Photo Courtesy of Karen Murphy

Harbor Beach, Photo Courtesy of Karen Murphy

Although the Fourth of July weekend was an exciting one to be in the area (the Farmer’s Market and fireworks were great), I wanted my experience with the beautiful limestone structures to be a little more private than what a holiday weekend might elicit. In order to avoid the crowds, I rose early on Sunday morning to enjoy the trip in the morning calm. This brilliant idea wouldn’t have been possible without the excellent guidance of the folks at Port Austin Kayak who not only supplied all of the equipment for my escapades, but they were also generous with some sound advice about other things I needed to see and do while in their beloved village.

Kayakers Paddling on Lake Huron, Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Hamilton

After signing up from the kayaks and getting a quick rundown of the journey I was about to take on, I made my way to the launch area. Port Austin Kayak’s launch site is right behind their building and is the closest place to get in the water for the trek to the rock formations. If you rent from them, they are gracious enough to let your friends with their own kayaks launch from their spot, too. There was a quick lesson on how to use the equipment, and the paddling was in full effect.

Leaving from this spot, I was able to acclimate to my morning adventure in a small river leading to the Port Austin Marina and the harbor area that is protected by the Port Austin Breakwater. This calm beginning was just a precursor to the picture-perfect paddle toward the rock and tree formations that I was working toward. Along the coast, I was amazed by the clear-blue shallow water and the trees seemingly jutting out of the water in tiny strip-like islands. It was like being transported to another time and place that was quieter than the one we all deal with day to day.

Around every bend, I kept anticipating the huge rock formation to emerge from the water in front of me, but it kept evading me. I will admit, I might have paddled a little faster than necessary in anticipation. Believe me, it was well worth it when I finally made it around that bend after some intriguing sea caves. Turnip Rock is even better in person, and I started joining the other kayakers in taking photos and celebrating that I made it to a place I had only been dreaming about.

Turnip Rock

Turnip Rock. Photo Courtesy of Joanna Dueweke.

After drifting around a bit and discovering other beautiful sights around Pointe aux Barques and Alaska Bay, I started my journey back to Port Austin Kayak.  I didn’t rest because I was hungry for a hearty breakfast on the mainland (The Lighthouse Cafe is a good choice).

Blueberry French Toast, Photo Courtesty of the Lighthouse Cafe

Port Austin Kayak doesn’t rent out tandem kayaks for this particular trip because the waters get shallow, but the paddle isn’t too much work and it equates to about six miles round trip. I think it might be fun to try on a stand-up paddle board, but you should probably be pretty proficient at that as well. I’m not sure how much fun the adventure would be by any other means because the waters are shallow on the way to the rock, and getting close is half the fun. This experience alone was worth the #MittenTrip to Port Austin, but my other adventures were awesome as well.

Where is your favorite place to kayak in Pure Michigan?

AuthorAbout the Author: Joanna Dueweke lives and works in Detroit where she finds great joy in working, studying Library and Information Science at Wayne State, exploring the city, and traveling. Her days are spent working for Detroit SOUP where she helps fund creative projects in the city and its neighborhoods. When she’s not writing for The Awesome Mitten, or attending any number of events in Detroit, Joanna enjoys visiting other places in the state, sampling Michigan’s fine wines and craft beers, and getting in the water as much as the summer will allow.

 

Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips

Guest blogger Jennifer Hamilton of the Awesome Mitten shares seven of the best destinations for paddling in Michigan. Read from her below and find more places to visit on michigan.org.

Summer may be rapidly coming to a close, but there is still plenty of time for a kayak trip in one of Michigan’s famous bodies of water. Whether you are seeking lakes or rivers, I have had the pleasure of polling fellow Awesome Mitten writers and compiling a list of Michigan’s favorite waterways.

1) Onekama to Arcadia via Lake Michigan – This is probably one of the most peaceful waterway treks in our Great Lakes State. Travelers have the opportunity to view Arcadia Bluffs from the water as they paddle by and scope out potential golfing opportunities. Since this area is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, there are great dune adventures to have at almost every point along the way if you want to stop and picnic.

2) The Backwaters at Tippy Dam – The Backwaters at Tippy Dam are for the adventurous hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife. Great fishing is available here if you are seeking walleye or small-mouthed bass. Experienced fishermen say that the panfish are abundant as well. Due to the wooded surroundings, there is a good chance that visitors will spot at least one eagle during their adventure. The peacefulness of these Backwaters is great for an escape from civilization and to truly get a Northern Michigan experience.

3) Canals of Detroit – While Detroit may not be the first place you think of to enjoy a water-filled experience; one particular Awesome Mitten-er offers a unique perspective on its waterways. Ms. Joanna Dueweke swears by touring Detroit’s canals via kayak or stand-up paddleboard. It’s a great way to enjoy the historical buildings and homes from a completely different point of view than the general public. Some of the best and most convenient places to launch are at Alter Road, St. Jean, or Belle Isle.

Turnip Rock, photographed by Lars Jensen

4) Turnip Rock Port Austin – If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing Turnip Rock via Lake Huron, I insist that you head there immediately. This enormous rock received its turnip connotation from thousands of years of erosion from storm waves. Now, it is an island with a few trees and little other vegetation. The land nearby is all privately owned, so the only way to view it is by waterway or trekking across a frozen Lake Huron in the winter. It is quite the comedic, awe-inspiring landmark, located at the tip of Michigan’s thumb.

5) The Platte River – The Platte River is a personal favorite and though it may not be a secret, it is worth a mention to remind you to traverse its calm, strangely warm waters. The Platte is a great place to take families as it is easy to navigate and always warm enough to tube if kayaks are not readily available. As part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, it is no surprise that the Platte River is absolutely stunning. Its ending pours out into Lake Michigan with a mini peninsula jutting out between the two, dividing the playful river and the wild waves.

6) Huron River near Ann Arbor – This is the only state-designated Country Scenic Natural River in Southeast Michigan. It is a huge river that covers five counties, with each portion being strikingly worthwhile. During various portions of the river, floaters can expect to come across an abundance of dams; there are 96 total, to be exact. Many of these dams were built for mill or hydroelectric power, making them fairly large. Due to the size of these dams, many new lakes have formed along the Huron River, making for exciting sites to see almost every portion of the way.

7) Two Hearted River, Eastern Upper Peninsula – Any river that has a beer named after it clearly needs to be traversed. It is a fairly short river that empties into Lake Superior, and it does a great job of capturing the Upper Peninsula’s natural beauty. At the mouth of the river, travelers can see a Michigan Historic Marker; formally known as the Two-Hearted Life Saving Station, which then became part of the United States Coast Guard in 1915. The Two-Hearted River is exceptionally famous for a great place to leisurely fish, probably while enjoying a nice Two-Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery.

Jennifer Hamilton is a feature writer for The Awesome Mitten. Jennifer lives in Traverse City where she works for Addiction Treatment Services and is earning her Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Alcohol and Drug Addiction.

Do you have a favorite Michigan paddling trip that’s not on the list? Share with us below!