Sometimes you see the most amazing things in the most surprising places. I was on my way back from a trip to Fayette State Park – more on that in a future blog – when I looked to my left and had to stop.
The Upper Peninsula is itself a land of peninsulas, and the Garden Peninsula is one of the largest in the area. I’d venture to say that most people who take the turn off Highway 2 onto 183 are going to Fayette. When the fishing is good, people will also head to Fairport at the tip of the peninsula to catch some salmon on what people here refer to as “the big water.” Others are just out for a calm, pleasant ride. Whatever your pleasure, the Garden Peninsula is a nice place to go.
My aforementioned trip to Fayette was earlier in the winter. Technically, the state park is closed for the season, but visitors are still free to wander around. I got my fix after a few hours, hopped into the car, and meandered slowly back up the peninsula thinking mostly about hot chocolate. It’s a recurring theme for this blog, but winter in the Upper Peninsula is as amazing as any other season. I like to see snow cover the ground in a nice, even blanket and hang on the trees in gentle white puffs. I’m continually amazed at the ice on the lake, the way it forms, cracks, and moves. I like the brisk cold and the relaxing warmup in front of a fire when I get back home.
I was considering all this (while watching the road, of course) as I noticed I’d inadvertently timed my ride back with the setting sun. There was enough cloudcover in the skies to give some amazing color to the sun’s rays, and I felt like I was looking at a painting. Then, as I approached the turn onto the highway, I knew I had to stop to see the big orange disc dip below the horizon. It was a spur of the moment decision, but sometimes those are the best.
There’s a little, nondescript roadside park in the area called Ozzie Hazen Park. It has a picnic table and a little beach, but not much more. This evening, however, it owned the sunset. All exaggeration aside, it looked like the sun was descending into a little opening directly in front of this tiny spit of beach in the middle of nowhere on the Garden Peninsula of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. What made it better was the ice. When you have ice, the sun sets between two skies.
I took this picture in the seconds before the sun disappeared. I am, of course, looking west from the park. A little snow, frozen water, clouds and sky came together in the moment. I’m glad I was there to capture it.
Location: Ozzie Hazen Park looking west over Big Bay de Noc from the Garden Peninsula