Tannin and Shale

One of my favorite places in the Porcupine Mountains is the boardwalk along the Presque Isle River – a short trail runs along the river on its final approach to Lake Superior, and a couple features make this beautiful spot stand out. One is the caramel color of the water as it tumbles over a series of waterfalls and rapids.

This comes from the tannin in the cedars and other plants that line the river and decompose in the water. Tannin also makes the water foamy, creating huge drifts of suds in some places and interesting patterns on the surface in others.

The river has carved through the areas’ layers of shale bedrock and shaped some pretty scenic rock formations. It’s hard to do it justice in photographs.

If you’re ever in the UP, don’t miss the Porkies. They may not be the most mountainous mountains you’ll ever see, but they’re definitely beautiful.