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200 Foot Section of Cliff Falls into Lake Superior

While I am not a native Michigander or Michiganian (there is seriously a long standing debate on what residents of Michigan are called), I do love the state I live in. We touch three of the five Great Lakes and they are part of what makes this such a great state to live in if you enjoy the outdoors or any type of outdoor recreation.


It's important to remember that while these are called lakes, they act like oceans, minus the salt and sharks. There is a surfing scene in the Great Lakes and the local surf store actually closes when the conditions are great on the water so the staff can hit the waves. There are fishing charters out of nearly every port and perch, walleye, and whitefish are staples on menus across the region. Storms moving across the Great Lakes produce epic waves typically only seen in the far corners of the globe. A few years ago, one of the navigation lights on the pier in St Joseph, MI was battered and swept off the pier, where it had stood for decades. On occasion, the waves reach the height of the lighthouses as they crash onshore and most lighthouses that are on piers become encased in ice during the winter. There are shipwrecks in all of the Great Lakes and Michigan also has fifteen underwater preserves in the three Great Lakes to protect these fragile environments and to preserve them for scuba divers and snorkelers.


Michigan has two National Lakeshore Areas, one in the lower peninsula and one in the Upper Peninsula, (yes, we all seem to capitalize the UP, but not the lower peninsula). The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is in the northwest of the lower peninsula and has dunes that tower 450 feet above Lake Michigan. I first saw this park when I was a young teenager while on a canoeing trip in northern Michigan. I didn't really appreciate this area until I moved to Michigan and started to travel near the park at least once during the four seasons so I could get out to hike, bike, cross country ski, wine taste, etc. While Sleeping Bear Dunes is impressive and worthy of any vacation to the midwest, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is not to be missed. Just google Pictured Rocks and look at the images.

On calm, sunny days, you would think that you're looking at the cliffs along the Mediterranean Sea, not the midwest of the United States. I have yet to view the 200 foot sandstone cliffs rising above Lake Superior by water, but I have hiked and backpacked in the area on the many miles of trails in and through the park. There is a 42 mile section of the North Country Scenic Trail (NCT) that runs along the coast of Lake Superior, sometimes within just a few feet of the ledge. There are signs at most trailheads that say to stay on the trail and to not get too near to the ledge as the sandstone can be unstable. The video linked at the bottom of the page shows just how unstable these cliffs can be.


A few days ago, a 200 foot section of a cliff fell into Lake Superior and was caught on video. This does happen from time to time, but is usually caused by the freeze thaw cycle in the spring, to happen in the summer is more rare. It's worth the minute to watch this video and like the person capturing the footage, I too would be yelling at Brad to "back it up"! The video does have a bit of colorful language, so some might find it offensive, you've been warned. Link to video here.


Stay safe as you're out traveling and exploring our incredible planet!

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