Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Playing Tourist

We spent a day this past weekend playing tourist, visiting a number of places in the eastern UP including Kitch-Iti-Kipi or "The Big Spring".

Kitch-iti-kipi is an oval pool about 40 feet deep with an emerald bottom. Spring water flows from the fissures in the underlying limestone at over 10,000 gallons per minute throughout the year at a constant temperature of 45 °F.

Ancient tree trunks with mineral encrusted branches can be seen, as well as a variety of trout that appear to be suspended in the crystal clear waters of the spring.

A self-operated observation raft guides park visitors to vantage points overlooking the underwater features. This raft is on a cable that is pulled across the spring pool by the park visitors.

The state of Michigan acquired Kitch-iti-kip in 1926. History records that John I. Bellaire, owner of a Manistique Five and Dime store, fell in love with the black hole spring when he discovered it in the thick wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the 1920s. It was hidden in a tangle of fallen trees and loggers were using the nearby area as a dump.
Bellaire saw its potential as a public recreational spot. He could have purchased the spring and adjoining property himself, however persuaded Frank Palms of the Palms Book Land Company to sell the spring and 90 acres to the state of Michigan for $10. The property deed requires the property to be forever used as a public park, bearing the name Palms Book State Park.

Like so many attractions in northern Michigan, there are many Native American legends attributed to the springs, but it is likely most are false, created as publicity to entice visitors.

Regardless, it's a great place to visit and enjoy the natural beauty.


  1. How intriguing! Have to put this on my list of places to visit. Thanks.

  2. Wow! so interesting! I would love to visit the UP sometime.

  3. Your first photo could be a Monet :) Beautiful.

  4. Love your photographs! Your eyes capture beyond what's ordinary!
    Thanks for sharing such gorgeous trip!
    Enjoy the rest of the summer!