The top photo was actually featured on Webshots, October 2010 -- a pleasant surprise.
The dolostone cabochon at left makes a nice Door County keepsake. It is a mix of Niagara dolomite, limestone, and fossils. I bought the cabbie from a fellow Wisconsinite who's into lapidary. Then I set it with sterling silver using a wire wrap technique.
I consider myself blessed to live a short distance from the Door Peninsula, yet I find that few of my fellow natives have ever seen "the real Door County." I suppose that's because I love poring over maps, plus am a geography/geology enthusiast. Anyway, it was pure pleasure taking the photography group to the Door and showing them things they had not known were there.
The peninsula exists due to the presence of the Niagara formation--yes, that's the same formation that the great falls plunges over. The peninsula is made of dolomite, a sedimentary rock similar to limestone. All the bluff faces and outcroppings are dolomite. The water-polished white beach rocks are dolomite. It's everywhere!
The Niagara formation has a steep, abrupt face and a gradual decline on its back side. On the Door Peninsula, the steep face parallels the Green Bay shore, and sometimes is the Green Bay shore. This is the Niagara Escarpment. The slope is gradual on the Lake Michigan side, though low ridges of dolomite can be found on the west side, such as at Cave Point.
We began our trip with a stop at Wequiock (WE-quee-ock) Falls, north of the city of Green Bay, west side of the Door Peninsula, Brown County. At Wequiock, water rushing over the escarpment face cut a little glen back through the rock. The small stream here is best viewed in spring, but is still trickling over the edge in mid summer. In the glen, you will notice other rock-types besides dolomite. The escarpment is predominantly dolomite, but not entirely.
Our next stop was Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek. I love the park, and highly recommend a cruise on the bike trail, but on this trip we headed straight to Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. It is pictured at the top of this page. The most photogenic view is from across the road, so as to include the rail fence.
Next, we drove to Ellison Bay Bluff, which is between Ellison Bay and Gills Rock. The iron walkway allows one to view the bluff face at eye level, with Green Bay far below. It's an awesome view.
We drove on to Northport, as there is a small restaurant at the ferry dock that I like. We dined overlooking Porte des Morts and Washington Island. Porte des Morts is the Door Peninsula's namesake: the Door of Many Dead (literal), or simply Death's Door. Due to the presence of dolomite shoals under the water surface, many ships had their bottoms ripped out while navigating this channel between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. For the most part, ships now pass through the manmade channel on the east end of Sturgeon Bay.
Due to time constraints, we opted to skip Newport Park. However, time allowing, it is worth a visit. The beach is lovely, but I'm particularly fond of the spring. In low water (it's quite low at present), the spring bubbles up out of the beach sand and flows to the lake. In high water (that was back around 10 years ago), it is just under the waves, and quite a surprise when unsuspecting beach walkers plunge into it. I've had that experience; that's how I discovered its presence.
Cana Island Lighthouse is just north of Bailey's Harbor, off Co. Q. Good hiking shoes are recommended, as the causeway to the island isn't exactly a smooth path. In high water, it is submerged but useable. In low water, one sees it for what it is: a trail of water-worn dolomite rocks and boulders. Once across, you'll encounter a little booth for paying an entrance fee of $3.50/adult. Continue on to the light. Photographers are encouraged to explore carefully, as there are many great photo opportunities everywhere here.
We continued on to Cave Point, a low ridge of dolomite on the Lake Michigan shore that has been water-worn into oval holes. The waves rush in, hit the backs of the caves, and back-splash. The sight and sound is quite thrilling. White Fish Dunes State Park is very close. If you like beaches and dunes, be sure to go there as well.
We headed home after this, as the time was very late. I recommend Potawatomi, but we had to skip it. As we drove south, it became apparent that a spectacular sunset was developing. We caught it at Red River County Park. In the past, I have caught sunsets at Bay Shore County Park. The view is gorgeous at the marina there, which is a steep drop down the escarpment face.
I've never stayed overnight on the Door during summer, as the cost is exorbitant. If you are able to do this, hunt for sunset shots at the marinas or Peninsula Park, where sailboats are moored. Evening light at Cana can be lovely, though the actual sunset can't be viewed there.
August and November 2007: Well, things have changed. I've now spent some overnight time in Door County during summer and late autumn, and discovered some new things.
We stayed at the Landing Resort in Egg Harbor for two nights, twice. It has condo-type accommodations and is very nice. It was also conveniently located. We wandered all over Egg Harbor without ever using the car. The first stay at the Landing was part of a vacation package provided by Meadow Ridge Vacation Ownership in exchange for touring their property. We didn't buy into it, but the condo we saw at Meadow Ridge was absolutely gorgeous!
A week later, in August, we returned to Door County, this time to Fish Creek to enjoy an evening sailboat charter aboard "Friendly". Friendly is a schooner, and I had never sailed before, so this was most enjoyable. I asked Captain Bruce if I could take a few pictures of him at work. He laughed and replied, "Work?"
We sailed for about two hours, between Chambers Island and the Cottage Row shore, heading south of Fish Creek. We had high pressure-type weather, low humidity, clear skies. The colors were spectacular. A lady asked the captain why people are drawn to sunsets. He didn't know.
Ecclesiastes 3: 11 says, "[The Lord] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." In other words, we are drawn to the beauty and wonder of eternal things, though we fail to perceive what we are drawn to, or that God Himself placed this longing within us. One day, as I was driving on the open highway at sunset, I was admiring the amazing colors and talking to the Lord, thanking Him for the beauty of it. He began to speak to me and explained that the sunrise/sunset colors are a daily revelation, though dim by comparison, of the colors and gloriousness of heaven and the beauty of the Lord. What a tragedy that most of us go through life never knowing this.
There is nothing bland about God.
Our late autumn escape was wonderful! The weather was quite mild for mid November. It wasn't sunny all the time, but neither was it wet. We wandered all over the Egg Harbor area, on foot, camera in tow. Though the trees were past peak time, it was still a "picture perfect" adventure. Many of the stores were still open. Though we didn't shop and things were kind of quiet, Egg Harbor didn't have that deserted feeling, which was good.
New Year's Day 2009: Many people think there's no life in Door County during the winter. I paid a visit to the Door on New Year's Day and brought home a few photos to prove otherwise. The lakeshore is at Jacksonport, site of the annual Polar Bear Plunge. The crowd, including a lot of bare skin down by and in the water, is the actual event. Following the Plunge, we attended the Egg Harbor NYD parade. It was pretty bad, but as you can see, there was plenty of life around (Santa photo).
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