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Tahquamenon Falls in their most colorful beauty.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Snow and Fall Colors Highlight This Year's Annual Fall Color Tour

Tahquamenon Falls receives 4 inches of snow October 17, 2015

November 22, 2015       Leave a Comment
By: John Keuvelaar

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Our annual fall color tour has turned into more than just a family event we look forward to. It is our way of giving back to you, the reader, who may not be able go on a fall color tour due to life's constant requirements. This year's event was complicated by surgery within the family and yes, that dreaded four letter word, SNOW! But by plowing ahead, please excuse the reference, we were rewarded with some of the most spectacular colors of the season.

October snow glistened the Saturday experience.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

A snowy seat awaits a young child's presence.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Frigid temperatures hit Michigan Friday evening bringing icy winds to the Bay City area and four inches of snow to Tahquamenon Falls. And while our original plans of making this a two day excursion had been halted, brighter forecasts and the promise of even brighter colors convinced us to listen to the sirens of Tahquamenon and head north early Sunday morning. It seems that every year we try to talk ourselves into going somewhere different but in the end, the incredible beauty of the Falls keeps us coming back for more.

As we hit the West Branch area, the colors along I-75 didn't disappoint. Particularly around the two exits oranges, yellows and reds abounded. Adding to this the rising sun seemed to intensify their brilliance. Also not being lost on us was the dark snow clouds that seemed to loom up ahead.

A light dusting of snow is all that remained from the early October snow.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Colors explode along I-75 near Gaylord.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Orange, yellows and reds were the theme of this trip as they seemed to have dominated over greens and browns that served to accent these colors. From Grayling to Indian River, the chatter in the car was a never ending "oh, look at that..." This year we stopped at the rest area just short of Gaylord where a pond and a golf course back dropped large maples and oaks. This is truly an appetizer for what is to come as we become more anxious to experiencing the color rather than just viewing it.

The morning sunrise illuminated the color in the leaves.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The backdrop of the pond in the morning sun makes the leaves' colors dance.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

A view of the Mackinac Bridge means we are about to experience the UP splendor.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

While we experienced one batch of heavy flurries along the roads to Tahquamenon, the Saturday snow had vanished say for a few shadowy areas. From just south of Paradise, the colors picked up and served to excite the senses as we approached the upper falls. The orange, yellows and reds served as torches ushering in the way to the falls as beautifully shaped maples fully dressed in color greeted us as we entered the Park. A few piles of show remained from the previous day's snowfall just enough for the first snowball to be made and thrown.

While the forecast of snow and light rain would keep many from venturing north, we were again rewarded by the benefits of such elements. The snow and light rain moistened the leaves and surrounding forest bringing out the vibrant colors that too often are dulled by drier conditions. Also blue skies abound to give us the facet of sun glistening off of the trees, leaves and water. What a spectacular visual experience.

I suspect that the previous week's warmer temperatures bought out the larger crowds. This week the number of viewers was not as many, another benefit to the weather. It always amazes me how many people we run into from Bay City and usually someone we know. This all adds to the fun and experience of Tahquamenon. Some day I'm going to bring a folding chair and just sit down by the falls for a while taking in the beauty, the roar and the tranquility of it all, but there is so much to see and take in that soon we were off to the lower falls.

The midday sun ignites the brilliant colors.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The carpet of color is breath taking.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The journey was just a great as seeing the falls.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The colors reached up and touched the blue skies.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Having spent a good part of the afternoon at the upper falls, the sun was now too far west in the sky for good normal photography so we got creative. Johnny focused on the advantages of a sun that was lighting up the leaves from different angles not to mention the shoreline. Forcing us to look outside of the box allows us to see things that we wouldn't normally see and experience if we were just casually looking. This is what makes this trip so special for us.

The reds seemed to glow in the afternoon sun.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Imagine an afternoon soaking in the scenery by water's edge.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

The evening sun created some brilliant contrasts.
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

Caitlyn and Mya just couldn't get enough of the view. I guess that is why we keep coming back
(MyBayCity Photo by John Keuvelaar)

All too soon time had run out and we were off for home. The whole journey was 500 miles in a day but well worth it and leaving plenty of time to get out and enjoy the beauty that makes Michigan such a wonderful place to live, see and experience.

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John Keuvelaar

John Keuvelaar is a college student at Midwest Photography Workshops and Delta College.

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