I moved to the Upper Peninsula when I was 18, created my Yooper Bucket List when I was 21, and finally made it out to see Kitch-Iti-Kipi on my 25th birthday. (Man, that sentence makes me feel old!)
So why did it take me seven years to get out there? Oh yeah. Because it’s in the middle…of…nowhere. Manistique, Michigan. Population: 3,010. Things to Do: Very Few. In fact, I know several people who live in Manistique, and I don’t think a single one of them would be offended by this paragraph.
When I created my Yooper Bucket List, I grouped the activities by location. Poor little Kitch-Iti-Kipi was ping ponged (is that a thing?) from group to group, and it just didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. So Kitch-Iti-Kipi got a day trip to itself.
What the heck is Kitch-Iti-Kipi?
Kitch-Iti-Kipi (Big Springs) is the Michigan’s largest natural freshwater spring, located in Manistique’s Palms Book State Park. The spring is about 200 feet wide and 40 feet deep with a self-operated observation raft that brings guests across it. The raft has a hole cut in the middle of the platform with a roof overhead, so it’s easy to look into the water without glare from the sun.
Looking into the crystal blue water, you can see the water bubbling up through the fissures in the limestone (at a rate of 10,000 gallons per minute!), as well as some of the biggest trout you’ll ever see. We went on a calm, sunny day, which made for spectacular views into the spring itself, as well as the surrounding area. It’s no wonder Kitch-Iti-Kipi was originally named “Mirror of Heaven.”
(Maybe just take a second here to scroll back up and admire the last picture. #nofilter)
The water is so ridiculously blue that I thought my boyfriend was wearing a new shirt. Seriously. His green shirt mysteriously turned blue in the presence of Kitch-Iti-Kipi.
The spring remains at 45-degrees year round, making this a Yooper adventure to be enjoyed in any season. Side note: Can you imagine living in the Upper Peninsula before the days of North Face coats and Sorel boots? Noooo thank you!
Though much more laid back than my average Yooper Bucket List item, Kitch-Iti-Kipi was a wonderful opportunity to relax and appreciate nature. It’s a great activity for all ages and abilities as there’s a paved path down to the dock, and the raft locks into the dock for easy loading and unloading of passengers. Palms Book State Park is well-maintained, with ample parking, restrooms and a gift shop.
Make sure to top off the adventure with a scoop of Jilbert’s ice cream! If you like coffee flavored things, I highly recommend Cowpuccino. 🙂