Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: McLain State Park

100 Years of Michigan State Parks

Sauguatuck Dunes State Park

Last month, the Michigan State Park System celebrated its 100th anniversary. With 103 parks, there are a lot of places in the state to enjoy natural Michigan. From Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in the Detroit River, Michigan State Parks encompass miles of freshwater shoreline, hills, waterfalls, and forests. There is a state park for whatever type of recreation you are looking for.

Tawas State Park

Mackinac Island was actually the first Michigan State Park as a gift from the Federal Government after a brief stint as the second National Park in the country and became the nation’s first state park (wiki). In 1917, the state of Michigan purchased land to make Interlochen State Park the second state park. By 1919, the Michigan State Park commission was created to “oversee, acquire, and maintain” state parks for the enjoyment of the people. Up until that point, many of the beauties of the state were privately owned and there weren’t places for the average person to go visit in their new automobile (govdelivery.com).

Seven Lakes State Park

I love how forward thinking the state of Michigan was back in the early 20th century. What else was happening around the country at that time? In 1919, the Grand Canyon became a National Park. Isle Royal, the only National Park in the state, didn’t become a National Park until 1940. Other state park systems didn’t exist until the 1930s.

McLain State Park

Back in 2012, I set a goal to visit every Michigan State Park. By my estimation, I have visited 49 so far and I have many more parks to explore! Through my explorations, I have seen some pretty amazing places! Of course, I have shared on here my absolute love of Ludington State Park. I probably visit Ludington more often then some parks which are closer to home. I’ve seen the unique beauty of the big spring at Palms Book State Park. I have witnessed the history of Fort Wilkins and Fort Michilimackinac. Just this past weekend, I camped along the shores of Lake Michigan at Fisherman’s Island State Park. I greatly appreciate the experiences I have had at these wonderful parks and I look forward to many more!

Silver Lake State Park

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McLain State Park

Superior Self Portrait

Last summer, during our road trip, we made a stop in the Keewenaw Peninsula on at McLain State Park. The park had breathtaking views of Lake Superior and allowed you to view both the sunrise and sunset over the water, but it was in desperate need of repair. In my campground review, I mentioned that the bathhouse was the worst of the whole trip and the fact that the park had a bizarre layout due to the fact that the old campground road virtually crumbled into Lake Superior. Well, as I began planning our camping adventures for this summer, I noticed McLain was not open for reservations. I did some digging and learned that the park is beginning a major renovation this spring. Well, it seems like someone at the DNR must read this blog, because the first phase of the construction is going to focus on all of my complaints.  The plans include a new bathhouse as well as 30 new campsites and a new road throughout the campground. I am very excited for the renovations and will have to make reservations once its all complete.

About the Photo
I posted a similar photo shortly after our road trip and once I set up for that shot, I realized, it would make a great location for an epic self portrait. Sometimes, its fun to put yourself in the landscape to give it perspective.

Camera Gear
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens on a tripod

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For more information about the construction plans for the park, click here.

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Wordless Wednesday: Bench at Sunset

Bench at Sunset

Wordless Wednesday: Superior Sunset

McLain Sunset

Epic Michigan Road Trip: Recap

McLain Sunset

Wow! I can’t believe this summer-long blog series is coming to an end. What am I going to write about now? Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on this epic trip, I wanted to give you a little recap and share some of my favorite things from the journey.

Favorite Campground: Straits State Park lower campground, St. Ignace. You just can’t beat that view! And that was the bathroom I now measure every campground bathroom to. I would love to make a trip to Straits an annual occasion!

Favorite Tourist Attraction: Soo Locks Boat Tour – Its one thing to watch the Locks from the viewing platform its another entirely to get to ride through them!

Best Natural Wonder: The Big Spring (AKA Kitch-iti-kipi) – This was a really tough decision, but I have never seen anything like this before. The water was so calm and such a unique color! It was breathtaking!

Best Sunset Spot: McLain State Park Campground – unobstructed views over Lake Superior and benches to watch it from. Not mention you can also catch a sunrise here.

Best UP Pasties: Lehto’s, St. Ignace – This is a no-frills restaurant that serves one thing, pasties. You can get them hot or chilled or frozen to take home. They also sell canned soda and they have picnic tables outside if you decide to eat them there. They stay warm awhile so we enjoyed ours in Manistique. If you’ve never had them, you can even order them online and they’ll ship them to you!

About the Photo:
Our second night at McLain we were able to catch this fabulous sunset. This is a big deal at this park and people flock towards the water to watch it. After the sun went down, most of the people went back to their sites, but the sky was not done with its show! Lately, I have noticed that the best colors seem to come out after sunset! Don’t rush off after the sun goes down, you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you!

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit len, on a tripod

Date Taken:
June 28, 2016

Thanks for stopping by and for following along on my trip! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Epic Michigan Road Trip: The Keewenaw

Superior Sunset

After leaving St. Ignace we began our trip up to the Keewenaw. It was our longest drive of the trip and we made it longer but going down to Manistique and Palms Book State Park to see the Big Spring which I will write about at some point. McLain State Park  has beautiful views of Lake Superior and you can catch both the sunrise and sunset at the campground. Views aside, it is one of the strangest State Park campgrounds that I’ve ever stayed at. Its biggest problem is that road that used to run the loop around the campground eroded off of a cliff into Lake Superior. So, while I’m assuming you used to be able to drive the whole way around, now you can only go one way and to get back to the front of the park or to the beach, you actually have to leave the park and drive a half mile back past the entrance booth. This is especially frustrating to those in campers and RVs who actually have to leave the park and come back in to use the sanitation station. The park has a camp store, which on the map is listed at the information booth but is actually at the beach which is a good two miles from the campground. Also, when compared to Hartwick Pines and Straits, the restrooms at McLain leave something to be desired.

About the Photo:
The campground at McLain State Park has these benches along the cliff overlooking Lake Superior and when I first saw them, I knew I had the subject for a sunset shot. This shot started with merging 3 RAW exposures using Lightroom’s HDR funtion. From there I adjusted the exposure, contrast, and color temperature.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens, on a tripod.

Date Taken:
June 28, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your visit to McLain State Park visit the Michigan DNR.

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