Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fake Cake Float: Michigan and the Upper Peninsula Part 1

This trip fulfills a goal of mine (to visit the UP while I am living in Indiana and to see Michigan for the first time ever). It was also the site of many cake floats to finish the series Nine Fake Cakes and Nine Bodies of Water. Our first stop after lunch in Holland, MI was Manistee. I loved how the two sides of the jetty contained completely different colors of water.

We stayed in Traverse City the first night, finding a $100 hotel owned by a woman from Phoenix who longs to return. After hearing Tanya rave about Sleeping Bear Dunes during her visit last week, it was high on our list to see. We spent several hours in the vicinity of the dunes and bay before heading further north that afternoon.

I was overwhelmed by the scale and thought about nothing but replicating Richard Misrach's series On the Beach. In fact this entire trip was one jaw dropping surprise after another in terms of the landscape. I had no idea that Michigan was this beautiful. Hannah and I kept trying to find the words to describe our awe - they generally fit into the categories of extreme scale (minute vs. infinite) and color. There were many conversations about whether or not these lakes were better than the ocean or not. If anything, I missed the "wave culture" - there are no surfers here but the pristine quality of the water and not worrying about jellyfish, sharks, kelp, riptides, etc. was a welcome reprieve.

I love this photograph Hannah took because it looks like Lake Michigan is shifting far to the right but I'm standing straight!

The moment Hannah and I saw the tiny figures below we had the same thought: "Let's go swimming NOW!" We brought "Little Great Lakes" to Sleeping Bear Bay and spent some of the best times this summer in the water. I was up to my waist with my camera and somehow that didn't seem to be a problem. I didn't have to worry about waves until a boat went by and there were not many questioning people on the beach (which would become a BIG problem in the coming days).

Heading over the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula. This was, by no means, scary despite all that I've heard to the contrary. It reminded me of a white version of the Golden Gate combined with the Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River.

As I've spent the entire day unpacking, downloading photographs, editing the last images of the series and making two postcards, this will be the first of a couple posts. I am too tired to think straight or come up with something witty (there were plenty of opportunities for that this trip). Next up: asinine encounters with humanity, camping, and largeness everywhere.

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