After a grudgingly long drive, a pass over the Mackinac Bridge and an hour north lies the small town of Whitefish Point, Mich. With a population barely pushing 600, it only gains notoriety through its annual summer blueberry festival and the infamous Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
This town rests on the high banks of Lake Superior. The lake is an enigma all its own, holding more superlatives to count. It's the largest of the Great Lakes by surface area and volume. Its depth is the most awe inspiring; all of its water could cover both North and South America in one foot of water. The waves produced on this lake have been charted to be at times over 40 feet high; something truly unprecedented for an inland lake. While it's considered the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes, it is also home to 350 known shipwrecks, which means at least 10,000 dead bodies rest in its waters.
This freezing cold fresh water lake is a staggering, other-worldly sight in the winter. Waves crash and pile chunks of ice near the shore, creating small mountains of ice and snow. It's a surreal landscape that I’ve never witnessed anywhere else in my life.
However, the lake is beautifully calm and tolerable to swim in during the short period of warm weather that the Upper Peninsula experiences. It’s smooth as glass, most locals say. On a clear day, you can see Canada across the bay and freighter ships sailing to the Point.
The incredible range of this landscape is something I’ve come to love; the seasonal change is mesmerizing and still continues to shock me month after month. In particular, the fall is beautiful here. The saturated reds, oranges and yellows of the maple, birch and oak trees are nothing but humbling.
The peak of fall’s colors is best seen about 20 miles from the town at Tahquamenon Falls, a waterfall system notable for its brown-tinted water which comes from the tannis leached from cedar bark upstream.
This locale is a place of beauty, retreat, and isolation. It embodies a certain peace, but also brutal strength and power in its surrounding landscape. It’s nature is loud, but in a silent way. The amount of stars visible in it’s night sky shakes me to my core everytime. In comparison to Ann Arbor its awe-inspiring, as the amount of light pollution here often results in a bleak evening display of stars. The huge trees in this area create a distinct woodland smell that is intoxicating. The amount of rocks along the shoreline always tempts me and draws me in for a closer look. I often visit Whitefish Point when Ann Arbor life becomes too busy, too stimulating. It is a place that offers me a sense of stillness when the world becomes too loud, something that I am feeling quite often during the global pandemic.