Exploring the Island

Today (Thu.) we drove down many of the roads on the island (Bois Blanc, where we are spending 3 days). The roads vary from gravel to muddy two-track. The clouds cleared out around sunrise and we had a mostly sunny day. Fortunately, I had plenty of sun screen and bug spray. For much of the day, my car thermometer said 73 degrees. Most of the puddles on the roads the day before were gone by mid–monring.

Above was our favorite spot, a fishing pier with a pair of picnic tables at Lake Thompson, an inland lake on the island. Lake Thompson has an island…so, there’s an island in the lake on an inland in a lake. It was so quiet here, with little wind – then we heard the unmistakable call of the loon. We didn’t seen the loons, but their call echoed across the lake. As with many of the places we visited today, we were the only ones there.

Boat launch at Twin Lakes

The above pic. is the boat launch at Twin Lakes, a 680-acre lake on Bois Blanc, The lake, which consists of two almost-completely-separated lakes bisected by a near-isthmus. The lake contains several smaller islands. Twin Lakes is in the eastern half of the island, located north of the Bois Blanc island dock. When we were there, a soft, gentle west wind made low ripples in the water.

Twin Lakes is surrounded by wetland. About 75% of the lake’s shoreline is owned by the State of Michigan, largely as siltland or lowland brush. The lake is relatively shallow, with a maximum depth of 11 feet. The lake contains large quantities of panfish, with the most common species being pumpkinseed sunfish. Brown bullhead and walleye were noted.

Deer in the backyard of the B & B where we are staying

We saw deer a handful of times as we drove around the island. Twice I had to break to avoid hitting a deer. I took this pic. of one of the two deer that came out of the woods into the back area of the B & B where we are staying. A worker came out into the yard with an untethered pit bull. After an initial glance, the pit bull showed no interest in the deer, but instead started earnestly sniffing around the yard. The deer was motionless as the dog came up to within about 40 feet of him, then went over to eat at some chicken feed that the worker had left in the center of the yard (the B. & B has a few chickens.

Monarch Butterfly

We saw probably a couple dozen monarch butterflies today. This one let me get real close. There was also a kind of tan-gray moth that is common on the island.

Typical road on Bois Blanc Island

This is a typical road on the island. Some are narrow enough that two vehicles won’t fit on the road at the same time…one of the two has to find a place to safely pull off the road to allow the other to pass. Much of the island is thick forest which is almost like going through a tunnel with the trees growing over the road. Some trees on the island are up to 200 feet high.

Mother duck with 10 ducklings

Here’s a mother duck with (best I could count) 10 ducklings. We also saw a snake at the edge of the water…a small one about 16″ long. We watched the snake for a little bit. Did you know there are rattlesnakes on Bois Blanc Island?

School on Bois Blanc Island

This is the island school. It’s technically kindergarten to eighth grade, but according to this website, had only 4 students last year for one teacher. Note the “old” playground – with see saws (teeter-totters) and a slide that was too hot to go down. For high school, kids have to move to the “mainland”.

View from the west point of Bois Blanc Island

This is a view from the west point of Bois Blanc Island. That is Round Island to the left, one of the four islands in the Strait of Mackinac. Round Island is uninhabited. There are two kinds of clouds – high cirrus clouds at the top of the picture, made up of ice crystals and fluffy cumulus clouds that were in a line along the north shore of Lake Huron in the U.P. Can you see the sailboat?

Island Airport

This is the island airport. The runway was paved and extended in 2005. It’s interesting that there is a paved runway, but no paved roads on on the island. We did not see any airplanes at the airport, but there were about 10 hangers. Nice cirrus clouds above the runway.

Pier on the west end of Bois Blanc Island

We saw only a handful of piers on the island. Storms generate big waves and there are occasional strong currents. Winter ice is a factor. This is one pier we saw…as you can see, it’s seen better days.

View of Mackinac Island from Bois Blanc Island

At the end of Bible Road (named after a guy named Bible – not the Good Book), you can see Mackinac Island. The Grand Hotel is toward the middle of the pic. I zoomed in as far as I could with my phone camera to get this shot. Also at the end of Bible Road this is a small primitive campground and when I say primitive, I mean primitive…nothing but a place to pitch a tent…no water, no outhouse, nothing. There were at least 3 tents up there.

Bill in Teepee

There were several teepees (tipis) that people had constructed on the beach. Gayle thought it would be fun if I crawled inside one. There was also a lean-to that someone(s) had spent some time constructing.

Sunset Thursday – Lake Huron

This was sunset on the beach at the B & B. Look real close and you can see a flag just left of the end of the land – that’s where the ferry lands. Not much beach here with the high water and the beach has rocks, not sand.

Another view of sunset Thursday evening

Here’s another view of the sunset – with the dominant orange color when you zoom in – again with a few cirrus clouds. Not in the picture, but there were some Canada geese floating nearby and an occasional gull.

The adventure continues tomorrow.