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Tahquamenon Falls

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


In "The Song of Hiawatha" there's a reference to "golden waters." Wipe that smirk off your face. It's a reference to the cola-colored effluvia that flows through Upper Peninsula rivers, dyed by the tannins in hemlock needles. Nowhere does this color impress more than at Tahquamenon Falls, the second highest falls (after Niagara) east of the Mississippi.

Loggers who sent their hard-won trees down the Tahquamenon River wept when they saw old-growth trees "reduced to matchsticks" by the power of the falls.

I was there simply to gawk. This is one impressive piece of water.
Photo by an unknown Japanese tourist who asked me to take his picture, so I hit him up for mine. Yes, it was that cold.

It's impossible to stand at the falls and not imagine oneself swept over, in an errant canoe or, for whatever reason, swimming. I lost myself in the amber tumult, thinking about what that
would mean.


It's hard to convey how impressive these falls are in a still photo, without the roar and the flying spray, without the immense scale.
Getting a bit farther away, so the mature trees are in the picture, helps.
I was impressed by a lone spruce, growing with its feet practically in the falls, and apparently doing all right.


But I was even more struck by a tiny white cedar sapling, growing IN the falls. It was buffeted by the flume, coming up every few seconds for a breath of air. I couldn't believe it not only germinated there but survived that punishment, day in and day out, all night long, too. But it was alive.

Ever feel like that little tree in the waterfall?

Maybe the next time I visit, it will be up above the tumult, growing strongly up into the sunlight and air, like the spruce. Hang in there, little tree.


I do so love waterfalls, and this one is a beaut! I can imagine the roar of that rushing water.

And, yes, I have often felt like the little pine tree. Knocked down again and again, only to struggle and pop back up again.

Great shots and great post. Thanks.

I find myself hypnotized and more than a little frightened by the power of that much roaring water. I probably would have had to sit down!

Wow, Awesome!
But I'm like Lynne, I probably wouldn't have been out at the end of that viewing platform so close to the water.

Yes, I do. I think we all feel like that sapling often enough - but look how strong it is.

Beautiful golden water photos, Julie. I adore waterfalls.

The Neuse river in New Bern, NC is the color of root beer. Like A&W without foam. I was mesmerized by it.

Julie, wonderful pictures, and you tell the story so well. I could hear the roar and feel the spray!

Holy Willy Wonka, science chimp, somebody done poured Dr. Pepper in the Michigan UP. I'm getting a caffeine buzz just looking! Either that or some Jurassic sized piece of amber is melting.

WOW! Impressive, indeed. Those pics are stunning. I've never heard of such a thing - tannin colored waterfalls. I putting that on my "need to see" places in the US. Thanks!

Whoa, those photos are beautiful. I agree with what others have said about feeling like that tiny tree...but it's stubborn and survives! The last two photos are my favorites.

That lil' cedar is an inspiration to us all; living things are nothing if not persistent.

OK, Ruthie, you wouldn't be out on the end of the platform, but you're on this, like, giant motorcycle...


Go with the flow
Bend don't break.
You will never walk alone.

Smirk? What smirk?

I was empressed by the photos you took of the falls, very nicely done. Margaret from Michigan

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