The Songs of Summer #22: ‘Lake Michigan’ by Rogue Wave
Lake Michigan. A Great Lake. THE Great Lake, if you’re from around these West Michigan parts. Lake Michigan looms very large in the summertime in West Michigan, or Wisconsin, or Chicago. It’s easily the #1 destination for fun in the sun in the summertime here in the Midwest.
I’m always amazed by the reactions of people who have never been to the Great Lakes as they see one for the first time. Most people on the east and west coasts assume that they have sole custody of summertime beach fun, but they are so so wrong. We’ve definitely got the beaches, and even more, I say we have better beaches than the Pacific or Atlantic oceans can provide. It’s true, the water temperature of Lake Michigan isn’t always the most comfortable, but the fact that it’s fresh water and the fact that there have never been, nor will ever be, any shark attacks in our waters, more than make up for that fact.
There are few places on this great green Earth more beautiful than Lake Michigan. In fact, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, along the Lake Michigan shores, was named a couple of years ago The Most Beautiful Place in America by those experts over at Good Morning America.
In the summer months, we flock to the shores of Lake Michigan to hang out on the gorgeous sandy beaches…to stroll the boardwalks and piers…to watch the most stunning sunsets…to boat, to sail, to camp, even to surf.
Lake Michigan is Summer.
Indie band Rogue Wave’s song ‘Lake Michigan‘ earns its place on my Songs of Summer List just to pay respect to and to honor our own little Midwest version of tropical paradise. (I don’t even know if the song is actually about Lake Michigan, but it sounds great and sounds like a summer song; in fact, I don’t really have any idea what the song’s about. To me, it’s about the awesomeness of Lake Michigan on a warm sunny summer day.)
Never been to Lake Michigan? You really should come for a visit sometime. You may never want to leave. Here’s a few facts & figures to tide you over in the meantime:
– Standing on its shore, you cannot see across to the other side. IT’S TRUE! It looks just like the ocean, but you know, without all the salt and sharks. This seems to be the biggest misperception of the Great Lakes…they’re just lakes, so surely you must be able to see to the other side. Nope.
– Lake Michigan is the third largest Great Lake by water surface (22,300 square miles) but SECOND largest by volume (1,180 cubic miles). Only Lake Superior is bigger, but it’s so cold.
– Lake Michigan (and the state of course) gets its name from the Ojibwa Indian word mishigami, which means ‘large lake.’ It might be the most appropriately named body of water, anywhere.
– The formation that is recognized as Lake Michigan today began about 1.2 billion years ago when two tectonic plates were ripped apart, creating the Mid-Continent Rift. The receding glaciers from the last Ice Age 10,000 carved out the rest and left behind these incredible Great Lakes for us to enjoy today. Thanks, glaciers!!
– Lake Michigan was ‘discovered’ (of course the native Americans were already here) by Jean Nicolett around 1634 when French explorer Samuel de Champlain sent him to find the “Northwest Passage.” In 1679, Nicolette explored the southernmost part of Lake Michigan near the location of present-day Chicago.
– Water temperatures on Lake Michigan make it to the 60s in July and August and can sometimes make it into the 70s when air temperatures have been in the 90s for a number of continuous days. During extended heat waves, the water temp can make it into the upper 70’s. Very nice!
– The water of Lake Michigan has an unusual circulatory pattern — it resembles the traffic flow in a suburban cul-de-sac — and moves very slowly. Winds and resulting waves keep Lake Michigan from freezing over, but it has been 90 percent frozen on a number of occasions. Ocean-like swells, especially during the winter, can result in a drastic temperature changes along the coast, shoreline erosion and difficult navigation. The last couple of frigid winters have seen the Lake nearly completely frozen over. But we’re not talking about winter here now, are we? We’re talking summer!
– The lake’s average water depth is 279 feet (85 meters) and its maximum depth is 925 feet (282 meters).
– The pebble-shaped Petoskey stone, which is a fossilized coral, is unique to the northern Michigan shores of Lake Michigan and is the state stone.
* Thanks to LiveScience.com for the fun facts!