The Scenic Overlook

Andrew Raynor

Presque National Forest Michigan

Westward fall views at sunrise of Presque National Forest, Isle, and Lake Superior, Michigan from atop Sugarloaf Mountain.

I suppose anyone that has done any road tripping has come across the signs… Scenic Overlook Ahead.   In the Detroit area, it may as well be an endangered species, if not extinct.   That isn’t because there aren’t any scenic views, only that we don’t have any elevation to be considered much of an “overlook” unless you are climbing to the roof of a building.

Altitude is one of the major differences between Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsula’s.   Just keep in mind it is a matter of perspective – “elevation” in Michigan can be just a mere 1000 ft.  I am hearing the chuckles from you westerners now.

Since I experienced a few overlooks in my recent trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (a vast contrast to the Detroit area!), it had me thinking about the draw of such places.   At low elevations, trees, buildings, houses tower over us.   One can feel small in relation.  You vs. the tree, or you vs. that building.  A more direct one to one relationship.  It is harder to feel a connection to the overall landscape.   It is hard to get a sense of what the area really looks like.

Sturgeon River Wilderness

Overlook in the Sturgeon River Wilderness area, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

An overlook at any particular spot opens up your views and perceptions.   Trees no longer work visually as dominating individuals, but as small pieces of a whole.   Trees are now small, but vast distances dwarf our sense of self.    We get a glimpse at the interconnectivity of life on this planet.

Whether it is a sign along the side of a road, or a hike up to a vantage point, we all owe ourselves to take these in and enjoy them once in awhile.

Andrew Raynor Dover New Hampshire

Andrew Raynor Dover NH

Andrew Raynor


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