This post is a bit off topic but not every trip report necessarily requires a boarding pass and a flight….
This weekend, with temperatures in the mid 50′s, my wife and I decided to take a day trip to our favorite destination in Michigan: Traverse City. Being only a 2 hour drive from our home, it’s an easy place to reach for a day-trip or weekend getaway. With fantastic golf, vineyards, scenery, shopping and dining it’s a favorite destination for many in Michigan and surrounding states.
Approximately 15 miles north of Traverse City is the Old Mission Point — at the northern tip of the Old Mission Peninsula. It’s is a protected State Park which is home to the Old Mission Lighthouse that for decades helped ships avoid grounding themselves near shore. It had been a few years since I had been up to Old Mission Point and what I found on this visit left me in complete surprise.
If you live in the upper mid-west you always hear commentary about the water levels of the “Great Lakes” —they’re always “up” or “down” and are always in the news because of it. In recent years, the upper midwest has had below average rainfall and snowfall which obviously has had a major impact on water levels. What I found on this visit was just how shockingly low the water levels are at this point.
For those of you not familiar with the Great Lakes, they are a complex of 5 fresh water lakes that border the United States and Canada. Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota and New York each borders one of the lakes. The lakes include Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Superior and Lake Huron. These states along with the Canadian provinces that border the lakes are dependent on these lakes for the majority of water needed by residents. A statistic that I once heard suggests that if the Earth were flat and the lakes spilled out, they would cover the land masses in the western hemisphere of the earth with 2 feet of water.
Geography lesson aside, I was really surprised at just how low the water levels have reached in recent years. We spent nearly an hour walking the lake bed of Lake Michigan where once there was anywhere from 5-10 feet of water. The pictures do a great job of telling that story: