Friday, January 20, 2012

Wednesday Waterfall: Miners Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Miners Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Miners Falls is on the Miners River in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Michigan in the Central Upper Peninsula.

The 40-foot falls spills over the sandstone lip of a canyon that was once the shoreline of Lake Superior, but today is a few miles inland.

To access the falls take H58 east from Munising to the Miners Castle access road then watch for the falls trailhead road on your right. The walk to the falls takes about 15 minutes and ends at a platform above the canyon, looking down on the falls.

Despite the snowy image above, winter access to the falls is very limited as the access roads are not plowed for several miles. Snowmobile access is permitted however.

Also don't bother fishing the Miners River. No fish here. Nope. None. Move along. Trout? Never heard of them.

Aaron Peterson is a photographer and writer based near Marquette and Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  For more of his work visit

Friday, January 13, 2012

Recent Work-Marquette Michigan feature in Lakeland Boating

Check out the February issue of Lakeland Boating magazine for my 12-page feature on Marquette Michigan, the place I'm lucky enough to call home.

Lakeland Boating is based in Chicago, has a circulation of about 40,000 subscribers and covers inland and Great Lakes sailing and power boating in the Great Lakes region. I had no idea how popular it was in Marquette until the article came out and every boat owner in the region sent me an email. That was very cool. Freelancing is a solitary lifestyle and it's good to hear from readers, so thanks to all of you.

You can download a PDF of the article off my site by clicking the image below, then choosing "download original file" off the site page, or follow the link at the bottom of the page for a Google doc link.

Most travel writers have it easy. I've always found that inspiration comes freely when the scenery is changing every day. New places, new stories and new people offer the lens and the page a constant creative fresh start. Blank pages and blank pixels are vessels easily filled when in a new place. Plus, you don't have to worry about who you piss off when the article comes out, because you'll be long gone!

My career has been a strange brew. I'm a travel writer--but I mostly write about where I live, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the surrounding Lake Superior regions of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario. The cool thing about that, other than that it's an amazing place to work and play (and stretch the relatively meager bucks that come with this career :-)) is that I get to write about something I know and love intimately, not just a place I'm passing through or people I'll only know superficially, if at all.

The danger is in knowing too much about a place, which makes it difficult to decide what to include and what to leave out. Also, it's a constant exercise to think like someone visiting the area for the first time--to stay fresh. Marquette is a super cool town with a great history, but when you live here, eventually the ore docks that blow the minds of tourists become as common as the gulls trying to kill your picnic. Also, I have to live with the people I write about, which can make it tough to be honest and well liked, but so it goes.

WARNING GRATUITOUS BUT MOSTLY HARMLESS SEXUAL HUMOR AHEAD: Someone once told me that writing about your hometown is like making love with your spouse: It's important that you know each other well enough to get it right, but equally important to pretend you've just met so it stays interesting.

Read full Marquette Michigan feature article in Lakeland Boating here

Aaron Peterson is a photographer and writer based near Marquette and Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  For more of his work visit

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inside Outside: Making the List

The Upper Peninsula gets its due in Outside magazine's February issue. Outside's admittedly arbitrary and unscientific but ridiculously funny and cool "63 Perfect Things" includes The U.P. at #46.

Just like this:
46. THE U.P.

Consider for a moment that this is an international magazine with a circulation around 700,000 (more than double the total pop. of the U.P.), how many people are going to look at that and understand how two little letters can spell freedom, community, wilderness and a lot of other cool words I could list if I did things like lists.

THIS JUST IN, #63 is the Stormy Kromer cap which everyone knows is as U.P. as a pasty pie. Even has a picture of a red plaid one.

So congrats to my beloved U.P. and the Kromer!

Stay tuned for some other news from me and Outside in an upcoming issue, hint, hint, wink, wink. Cha-ching.

Wednesday Waterfall: Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

The Minnesota North Shore has long been one of my favorite places. I dig the Scandinavian efficiency with which the coast from Duluth to Grand Portage is laid out: cool little towns, then state parks, then gobs of national forest, then cool little town, a bad ass tunnel through a cliff, etc. It seems tailor made for active travel, sort of like an inland Pacific Coast Highway, but better because you can wear flannel and there's less coke. Whoa, did I say that? I did.

I found this gnarled old cedar clinging to the black volcanic rock of Cascade River State Park near Grand Marais, Minnesota. That's the Cascade River behind it, ripping through a tight gorge before throwing itself over a series of falls and dumping out into Lake Superior.

I love finding spots like this where Ma Nature mouths you by the scruff of your neck and shakes you a bit. "Pay attention," she says, "I'm trying to teach you something here."

The lesson I learned here is to endure. Persevere. Hang on even if nobody else is. And above all, grow.

That's all well and good, and quickly forgotten as I hopped back in the car and went about my picture making way, trying to acquire as many salable images as I could during that short trip a few years ago. But here's the beauty of still photography: that image, that moment, is still here with us several years later and can teach the same lessons, ones that are even more important now that our houses are worth less than we paid for them, our beautiful children WILL NOT GO TO SLEEP and for some reason (I know this is trivial but it still pains me) the winter sky refuses to sprinkle us with its magic dust (not talking about coke anymore).

So, yeah, I need to wrap this up. "Be well, do good work and keep in touch." What? Somebody already said that? Keillor, again?

Okay....ah, how about: "Pay attention, remember and share?"

Aaron Peterson is a photographer and writer based near Marquette and Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, but he's been known to go to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario too if the money's good.  For more of his work visit