Blush Lake, Big Island Lake Wilderness Area, MI

Blush Lake, Big Island Lake Wilderness Area, MI
Blush Lake, Big Island Lake Wilderness Area, MI

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Goodbye to Blush Lake

We sold our property at Blush Lake.
I am leaving the blog up to perhaps let others see what was our "back yard".   Now we will continue  to explore the Eastern Upper Peninsula from Birch Lodge at Trout Lake, MI.  Stop in and see us.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Neds Lake, Big Island Lake Wilderness Area; an Early Season Look

The trail into Ned's Lake,(in the Big Island Lake Wilderness Area) is about a mile north of our driveway. North of our drive, Kentucky Trail is a seasonal road, which is traversed by snowmobiles in the winter. It is always an interesting time to try the road for the first time in the spring. But with all wheel drive we had no problems. The road still has some packed drifts in spots, but we made it to the trail with no problems.

Blush Lake, where our home is, now is open water, and we have just patches of snow in the woods. Odd that just such a short distance North there was so much snow. The trail was covered with snow about a foot deep. It was crusted, and you could walk on top and only fall through now and again which kept things interesting, but the trail in is only about a quarter mile, and we were up for a hike.

We did not see any animal tracks, although there must be at least one porquipine nearby as we found his "calling card".

Primitive camping is available at a site near the lake, and this seems to be a popular choice for those who are not up for a long hike in and want trout.

Based on the condition of the snow, and the fact that Ned's Lake is small and well sheltered by the trees, we weren't totally surprised to see that it was still ice covered. I was surprised that it didn't appear to be breaking up at all.

The last Saturday in April is the opening day for trout, and Ned's Lake, as well as Twilight Lake, are stocked with trout by the DNRE. I think that even with the projected warm weather this next week, that ice might make it hard to fish!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sunrise; Big Island Lake Wilderness Area

In the past five years we have been here, we have enjoyed countless sunrises from the deck. Each has it's own character, yet all are beautiful across the lake. This April, Bill photographed another very outstanding one. The colors here are not enhanced. Imagine this across a whole sky....

Then it gets better:

So bright it looked like a fire....

And Finally this...
Hope you enjoyed it, we did!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Big Island Lake Wilderness Area, MI: Birding

I enjoy watching the birds, and it has been fun to be able to see so many species from our deck overlooking Blush Lake. Spring has arrived, even though it is still snowing, we have had the return of our red-winged black birds, and robins. Our first seasonal visitors of course, were our Trumpeter Swans, along with last year's young. We heard them call as they circled and landed on the ice.

We have had some luck last spring getting photographs of some of our seasonal friends, and will be looking for the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings. These seem to arrive later than the Evening Grosbeaks. Our Phoebe, who nests under the eves, won't be here for a bit either I hope.

This winter we have missed our Goldfinches, and have noticed an increase in woodpecker activity. The area has been under attack by the Beech Bark Disease, and many trees have snapped and died in the area in the last couple of years. I think this has increased our number of woodpeckers. In addition to our little Downy Woodpeckers, we have regular suet block visits from two pairs of Hairy Woodpeckers, and a pair of Red -bellied Woodpeckers. We have a Pileated Woodpecker who also is a regular visitor to a snapped Beech off of our deck.

We have also noticed a huge increase in flocks of Blue-Jays. I counted42 this morning, I think their numbers are also up because of increases in insects on the diseased trees.

Our "regulars" this winter in addition to the Jays, inclued Black-capped Chickadees, Pine Siskins, Red Breasted and White Breasted Nuthatches, and recently flocks of Common Red Polls.

We also have a number of Barred Owls, and a few Great Horned Owls, which we can hear call at night. The Barred Owls are very active now, and their caterwalling is something to hear. It reminds me of jungle sounds! We managed to get a shot of one who was checking out the flying squirrels who frequent out feeder at night. Another visitor of the feeder for other than the sunflower hearts, is this guy. I can't decide if it is a Cooper's Hawk or a Sharp -shinned Hawk, but he does eat regularly!

As the season progresses, if I am lucky, I will post some more photos of our Warblers and Towhees. Check back later this spring for updates!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

End of Winter

Spring is coming. It is in the air, even at 20 degrees. We had our first red winged black bird at the feeder.

The road is muddy with the thaw of the snow and last night's thunder and rain.

As much as I am looking forward to the spring, I was reminded with the last snow how beautiful the winter can be. I took these photos early in the morning while all was quiet. Sunrise and beautiful fresh snow. The morning rays break across the lake and illuminate the trees on the north point. Our view across the deck, looking toward the south end of the lake seemed like a different world.

A walk down the driveway morphed into a trip through a pristine gateway to the wilderness.

Even though I am not fool enough to believe that spring is here and that we will have no more snow. I know the season is waning, and my days of enjoying the fresh quiet snowy sunrise and the days of snow blanketing the trees is coming to a close. Yes, I do believe it is the end of winter....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blush Lake Kayak Tour

Blush Lake Blush Lake is 93 acres in size, and is totally in the Big Island Lake Wilderness Area. Our property is the only private frontage, about 1100' on the west side of the lake. The lake is shallow, only about 10' deep. It is fed by several seeps and has a small stream feeding it from Nurse Pond. The outlet across the lake flows to the Ponds, and then south as Camp 83 creek, joining the Indian River south of Thunder Lake Rd.Blush Lake

The lake does have a lot of sediment, and the north bays are very shallow. There are surprisingly few water weeds in the lake, and for all its sediment it is quite clear. The lake does have fish, we have seen lots of minnows, perch, sunfish, and pike. It also has a lot of fresh water mussels, which the otters frequent.

Last fall, we took one last paddle around the lake, and I took the video camera along. I pulled some still shots of the trip to post for you here. We started, obviously from our beach and headed north.
Kayak on beach

Heading North

Blush Lake

We checked out the far side of the north point of the lake, where we often see perch. Then across to the far shore line moving west to the outlet.

Blush Lake

This area is a place where the eagles like to perch. We frequently will spot one here, as we did today.

We sometimes put ashore here to walk in the hemlock woods to look for wildlife on McNearny Ponds.
Reeds near outlet

Then we headed back south and west toward home, checking out the submerged logs along the south shore. We often can see fish here if we let the kayaks drift. Minnows seem to find shelter near the logs.
This is an area where we often see otters munching on mussels, or playing on the logs.

Mussel Shells

The clouds were building, and getting gray, so it was time to put in. The temperature was dropping too.

We knew it was time to put in, and pull the kayaks up for the year. Hope you enjoyed our little tour!
Home Beach
Taking out Kayak

Monday, March 7, 2011

Big Island Lake Wilderness Area, MI; Access Points

Big Island Lake

The Big Island Lake Wilderness Area is located southeast of Munising, MI, in the Hiawatha National Forest. To get there from Munising, go east on M-28 to Forest Hwy 13, almost opposite the Post Office in Wetmore (there is a BP gas station on the southeast corner which is good for last minute supplies). Turn south, and go about 8.7 miles to Forest Rt 2254 (aka Co. Rd 445 and Kentucky Trail) and turn right/east. This is a seasonal road, and has the easiest access points into the Wilderness Area.

Big Island Lake Wilderness Area

Continue SE about 4 miles from Forest Hwy 13 to the parking area for the main trail into Big Island Lake--it will be on your left. Use caution, the road is narrow and turning, and there is more traffic on it than you might think. You will have crossed the Little Indian River on Kentucky Trail, this is near the northern edge of the Wilderness Area.

Put in point, Big Island Lake

The main access point is at Big Island Lake about a half-mile further, and this is the shortest carry in. The parking area does fill up, so get there early. Walk-in is less than a 1/4-mile over easy terrain.

Trail Head to Coattail Lake

The next trail head, about a mile south, is on the left (marked by boulders and a brown signpost, and goes into Coattail Lake. There is a campsite with a fire ring at the edge of the lake. An easy walk in, but about 3/4-mile in. Recently there has been a lot of beaver activity near the campsite.

About 3/4 mile south of that is the trail into Ned's Lake. This is not quite as visible, but there is a trail which comes in on the right about opposite the walk-in. Turn right--there is a parking area just the other side of the trees.

About another 3/4 mile south of this is the trail with goes into Vance, Twilight and Byers Lakes.

Trail Head to Twilight Lake

The walk-in is about a mile, but most is pretty level and easy going. Quite a few trees have gone down that you have to go around, but not too bad. The trail branches just before Twilight Lake, about 3/4 mile in. Go south to Twilight, follow to the north to go to Vance Lake. Just before you get to Vance, the trail is more faint on your right which goes over to Byers Lake. There has also been a lot of beaver activity in this general area. Byers Lake level is up several feet, and the beam which was walkable across the outlet of Vance is now a beaver dam with flowage making it dubious footing to get up to Klondike Lake. Not a bad spot to put in with a canoe or kayak though.

To get in during the winter, or from Manistique. Take 94 north about 22 miles to Thunder Lake Rd. go left, through Steuben. About 1 1/2 miles after pavement ends, Kentucky Trail comes in on the right. The access to Twilight Lake is marked by boulders about two miles up the road on the right.

Thumbs Up for the Wilderness Area

Hope this helps with your trip. (We recommend getting a Big Island Lake Wilderness Area map, available at the Hiawatha National Forest Munising Ranger District office in Munising.) For us, we just take a walk, we live here! We are the private holding shown in white on Farm (aka Blush Lake) at the southwest corner of the Wilderness Area that is shown in dark green.