As I noted in my recent blog about my quick U.P. trip this fall, I did have an opportunity to scout two new areas. The first was the Escanaba Area, and particularly, the Garden and Stonington Peninsulas, which I covered in the previous blog. My plan was to to shoot as much as possible around the good light, but if the weather was uncooperative, to make the approximately 1 hour drive to Iron Mountain, Michigan. Perhaps unfortunately, the weather was not very cooperative all weekend.
Perhaps best known these days for its provenance for nationally noted sports coaches, Iron Mountain’s welcome sign boasts of being “the “proud hometown of Tom Izzo and Steve Mariucci.” But it certainly is also world-renowned for its namesake. At one time, Iron Mountain held one of the largest iron ore producing and processing resources in the world. There is still a mine there, which can be toured. While I am not sure I would consider the area a photographer’s destination, a day trip would probably be filled with opportunities. The color in Iron Mountain was still nice, but well past “peak” when I was there in the second week of October. Escanaba is approximately 50 miles further west (from Escanaba) on U.S. 2. Being inland and at a higher elevation, this area’s probable normal “peak” is late September to early October.
The area is blessed with some nice natural phenomena, including rivers, waterfalls, rocky foothills, and lakes. Just east, and outside of town, there is a roadside stop for Fumee Falls. Fumee is perhaps the most accessible of the numerous waterfalls in the Michigan U.P. This was my first trip to these falls. There are two drops visible from the roadside, with a small, photogenic footbridge across the stream at the bottom of the second and larger drop. Many years of visitor traffic has resulted in significant erosion of the original falls area, and today, viewing is restricted to the boardwalks which border the falls. While this perhaps limits the photographer’s access, it hopefully preserves the falls for the future. Although the light was terrible, I was able to make a couple “record images.”
Just to the Northeast of the downtown area, is a nice small lake, Lake Antoine. The northern 1/2 of the city of Iron Mountain borders the west endo of the lake. There is a significant residential presence around the west side of the lake. On the east end, is Antoine Park, a public beach, picnic and boat launch. I found a small memorial park with a fishing pier on the way to the lake, and make a couple images. Antione Lake Road loops around the lake and crosses U.S. 2 both to the east of and to the north of town.
About 4 miiles east of downtown is the small community of Quinnesec. In about 2 1/4 miles, you will come to County Road 10 (a/k/a “Upper Pine Creek Road), which goes north, to The Fumee Recreation Area. The entrance is marked, but it is a rustic sign, about 1 mile north of U.S. 2. There is a parking lot and no motorized travel is allowed beyond. There are two lakes, “Little Fumee Lake,” and “Big Fumee Lake.” The recreation area has several trails around both lakes, with a total of about 8 miles of trails, which are used by walkers, runners, bicyclists and horseback riders. I walked the short trail around “Little Fumee.” Again, the light was awful, but I could see the possibility of some nice imagery.
On the county road in to the recreation area, I also found some nice farm scenery. The shot here is on what appears to be a private road, called “Baclack Road.”