She is one of my great loves.
We could have lived anywhere, but stunning Lake Superior was quite literally a huge factor in the why of our choice to live in the Upper Peninsula. We had been to 48 states and loved mountains and rivers and forests and waterfalls. There was one place we found that had all of those elements plus Gitchee Gumee as named by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and gichi-gami by the Ojibwe. The French explorers named it le lac supérieur which translates to Upper Lake, and the British, who simply called it Superior “on account of its being superior in magnitude to any of the lakes on that vast continent.
Some fun facts:
- She is the largest freshwater lake in the world when measuring by area (with a similar size in area as South Carolina or Austria), and has the third largest in volume.
- There is enough water in her to cover the entire land mass of both North and South America by 12 inches! She contains 10% of the earth’s fresh water which is estimated to be 3, 000,000,000,000,000 (quadrillion gallons)!
- Geological events have created areas surrounding the great lake to be rich in many minerals including: copper, gold, silver, uranium, and nickel as well as gemstones such as agates, amethyst, greenstone, thomsonite and even some diamonds!
- Due to her chilly and consistent temperatures, it is said that Lake Superior never gives up her dead. Typically, bodies from shipwrecks (which number about 350 — half of which are still undiscovered) are affected by bacteria and float up to the surface. Shipwreck victims in our chilly gal sink and never return to the surface. Shipwreck victims are thought to number around 1,000.
- Her average depth is 500 feet with the deepest part sinking to 1335 feet. At her deepest point, she is the second-lowest spot in the continental interior of the United States.
- With legendary storms, she is very much considered one of the most dangerous places to navigate. Typical winter storms produce 20 foot waves with the largest waves recorded measuring 31 feet.
- Though areas around her are known for their epic weather, she does insulate and help the land remain warmer in the winter though also providing lake-effect snow of epic proportions.
- It takes 400-500 years for all the water to replace itself.
- Her largest island is called Isle Royale (pronounced royal) and is a national park with 450 smaller surrounding islands. It has no permanent residents and is the least visited national park. It has 170 miles of hiking trails with over 2,000 moose (2019) and a handful of wolves (repopulation efforts continue.
- She contains 78 species of fish including our famous whitefish which is clean and mild and amazingly wonderful. This is my favorite way to enjoy it.
Though she is known for being very cold, our beautiful beaches provide crystal clear and stunning water with sand beaches as well as rocks enough to create a rock-hunters’ paradise. A recent find were Yooper-lites which can be found glowing and sparkling with a black light. My favorite place to be is submerged in her healing, cool waters surrounded by the shining light from above with no noise but the sound of the water filling my ears.
These are all photos that I’ve taken of the Keweenaw Peninsula area. Please feast your eyes — I only ask that you do not use them without permission. :o)