A Late B-day Trip
When I attended college for my photography degree, I made a friend named Whitney who just so happened to share my January 16th birthday! The crazy thing was that growing up I had always shared my birthday with my Grandpa. While in college I unfortunately lost my grandfather. Shortly after he had passed was, ironically, when I had learned of this thing we photographer friends had in common. So as time went on we have since started a tradition of doing some kind of a photography birthday adventure. This year it was delayed about a month, but my husband Matt had planned a surprise trip this year. He told us the dates to be ready to go and didn't tell us anything about where we were going. Turned out he brought us to the Mighty Mac Bridge in Michigan! We had previously talked about wanting to go photograph it and especially at night for myself. I have seen if a few times before growing up, and have always been amazed by it. What a beautiful 5 mile long bridge! Have you seen it before? Do you have any birthday buddies? ( Check out Whitney Summer Photography based out of the Duluth, MN area)
Of course, along the trip we had to do some investigating. Pinterest, here I come! We always look for other things that may be less known to go check out. This trip was no different. After arriving to a hotel that first night around midnight and getting some night shots in, we got up early the next morning to get the sunrise. Well, TRIED to get a gorgeous sunrise with the bridge. As it turned out, not much of a sunrise. Well not like we envisioned. However, the sunrise photo here was great...just not quite where we were thinking it would be and not a sprawling as hoped. Still was pleased with that view though. After sunrise we grabbed breakfast at one of the only few open restaurants. Out of season tourist town, choices were limited. However, the food and service at Audie's Restaurant in Mackinaw City was outstanding! Once we were done stuffing our faces we headed to go check out the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. Then it was time to start heading back in the direction of home...Minnesota.
Along our trek home we had a list of more places to check out...
The first stop on the return trip was called Kitch-iti-kipi. For some reason I initially struggled, HARD, with this name! I butchered it when trying to remember what it was called, blurting out "itchy kitty"! Let's just say that it was the butt of MANY jokes for the remainder of that trip. haha. So what is Kitch-iti-kipi? Well, it is a pretty amazing little spot located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is Michigan's largest freshwater spring that is about 200 ft across and reaches a depth of 45 feet deep. It is so clear that even in the deepest parts you can see all the way to the bottom. There is a self-guided observation raft you can take into the middle and look down the center of it at the huge trout that are swimming below and around you. There were A LOT of them! The water is a constant 45 degrees year-round. The moss draped trees under the surface is fascinating to look at as well. Oh, did I mention that you can watch the sandy bottom "boiling" as the spring water is being pushed up from under the ground?!! Talk about cool! I would love to see this place in the summer...
* Check out these short Video clips! *
Ice Cave Hike
As we continued on our way, we decided to go check out the Eben Ice Caves. We knew it would be a bit of a hike. Like 2 miles round-trip if I remember right. Anyway, we had no idea how well known it must be...there was SO many other cars when we pulled in that they were parking down the road a good half mile or so because the parking area was full. However, many were leaving already being it was late afternoon...a couple hours before dark. The start of the hike is actually across a farmer's field (who gave permission to people to use as access, so please be respectful if you ever go). After crossing the field you enter the woods. It was quite icy and you have some steep hills/cliffs to maneuver up and down, so ice cleats are a MUST in our opinion. Get the good kind with longer spikes on them! The ones that a local bar rented out were not very adequate if you ask us. However, there were many who were hiking it with none, and some were able to make it ok. Others fell, and some were even hurt. It was so crowded up at the actual ice caves that it made getting decent photographs more difficult, but with some patience it all worked out. Ice caves have been on my bucket list a while as well, however this year the ice caves along Lake Superior were not accessible due to poor ice conditions. So I was thrilled to get to explore this ice cave!
Finally, our last stop on the route home was in Marquette, Michigan. We stopped for the night here and then the next day we drove up to Presque Isle Park. On the way we stopped for some photos of the light house. The majority of the drive through Preque Isle Park was closed for the winter still, so we decided to hike back on the trail. It was quite a beautiful, warm, quiet day. We managed to find some bigger pancake ice. It wasn't quite perfectly round legit pancake ice I guess, ...but was the closest to it that I have seen, so I was thrilled. Have you seen pancake ice floating around?