Kitch-iti-kipi, Upper Peninsula

You probably ask yourself all the time, "What would Scott do?" Usually, have some beer and nachos is the answer to that question. But what if you found yourself in the Manistique area? Well, the answer is the same, but I would also add "go to Kitch-iti-kipi" as well. Full disclosure - I don't call it by this name. I prefer my own version, "Itchy kitty whippy", a name which I came up with to make my then seven year old laugh. The name is probably Indian for something completely different, but I'm going with it.

Kitch-iti-kipi means "Big Spring". Or something close to it - web sites I've searched have a couple of different names for it. At forty feet deep, it is Michigan's deepest spring, but the visibility is excellent. It has a constant flow of 10,000 gallons a minutes, with that water flowing into the nearby Indian Lake, home of Indian Lake State Park, a spot I regularly visited in my youth. The water is cold (45 degrees all year round), so if you were tempted to swim in the spring, the potential of hypothermia should probably dissuade you.

The spring is located in Palm Book State Park, founded in 1926 after the Palms Book Land Company sold the land to the State of Michigan for $10. That's a good deal - it costs $11 for a recreation password to get into the park. (Yes, yes - I understand $10 in 1926 is not $10 now.) When you go to Palm Book, you're going to see the spring - there is nothing else to do. But the spring is worth the trip.

A short trail leads from the parking lot to the spring where you board a self-propelled raft, moved by way of cables strung across the length of the spring. The raft slowly moves across the surface of the water, giving you plenty of time glimpse the dozens of huge trout (no fishing!) swimming below. The sand churns upwards as the water pours from the spring like an underwater volcano, sans-fire.

I've seen the spring a few times, and you won't be disappointed by the water show you'll see. If you're in the Manistique area, even passing through, stop by for a look at one of Michigan's lesser known natural attractions.

Latitude: 46.004685
Longitude: -86.385047

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