The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Handfuls of Lake Michigan

All along Lake Michigan's shoreline, when I found interesting things I would scoop up a handful and take a photo.

Here are just a few of these handfuls, shells and rocks and tumbled slag, found in various spots along the lakeshore.

The first photo is a mix of rocks and shells (both the invasive zebra mussel and native snail shells).

The second photo is unmistakably zebra mussels found near Cross Village on the NW of Michigan's lower peninsula. It was here that I came across the largest deposit of these shells, a windrow deposited by wind and wave that stretched for over 50 feet along the shore.

The next photo is of the colorful tumbled slag cast off from the iron smelting operation in the town of Fayette which operated for over 20 years in the later part of the 19th century. This site is on the Garden Peninsula in Michigan's UP.

The next photo is of a handful of tumbled slate found south of Michigan's Fisherman's Island State Park. This was the only place along the lakeshore where I came across this unusual stone in this quantity. There were walls of the shale, sometimes with tiny waterfalls cascading down the face.

I've been asked several times about the place to find the most colorful stones along the lake. This last handful is from the beach in the city of Charlevoix. For variety of color and the fact that all the stone had been so delightfully tumbled, I'd rate this beach among the best for interesting rocks.


  1. Isn't it a pity the zebra mussels do so much harm? In themselves, they are as pretty as any other shells or stones. I like all these pictures a lot. Merry Christmas!

  2. I agree! And this collection of shells had been bleached by the sun and was brilliant white in the sunshine.

    Merry Christmas to you!

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