The Porkies Pay Off

After our morning stops, we arrived at the Porcupine Mountains State Park and prepared for a Lake of the Clouds hike. We tossed some health food (crackers, pepperoni, and highly cheese slices) and water in our packs and consulted a map. From a previous trip, we knew we wanted to see a few things in the park, so we opted for an out-and-back walk along the escarpment adjacent to the Lake of the Clouds instead of a giant loop.
Carp River - Porcupines

Fall color is a funny thing close to the lakeshore. Move inland just a bit and red and oranges abound. But near the coast, where the water moderates weather changes, and the leaves retain much of their green pigment.

Lake of the Clouds

I’m not sure what the winds were like elsewhere, but terrific gusts accompanied our trek. The trail meandered onto rocky outcroppings and through hardwood forest. The leaves overhead clattered, but the woods still seemed quiet by comparison to the blustery exposed trail.

The wind holds Meg up. You know how you can blow across the top of a bottle and make it whistle? I have a photo of Meg doing this same thing by turning her open mouth just so in the wind. I’m a decent friend, though, so I only shared it with her. But, seriously, it was windy.
Meg at Lake of the Clouds
Lake of the Clouds-2

At some point, we checked the time and decided to turn back so we could enjoy some different scenery. Not that this was hard on the eyes – we just had limited daylight and another hike beckoned.
Lake of the Clouds pano

After a wrong turn, we arrived at the southwestern end of the park in late afternoon. The normally tame Presque Isle River roared with input from recent rains. I had looked forward to playing in the riverbed, but I didn’t struggle to enjoy this unexpected change in scenery.

We arrived on the shores of Lake Superior in the golden hour before sunset. Should we stay to watch the show, or head back on the other side of the river while there’s still sun to light the trail? Sunset.
sunset promise

awash in gold

Tony and Meg sidled up to a piece of driftwood, and I wandered around with my camera.
best seat in the houseLake Superior Sunset
liquid and gold

Lake Superior Sunset-4

We loitered on the beach until only the last vestiges of light remained, safe in the knowledge that we could walk the nearby paved road back to the car.
Lake Superior Sunset-3

We snacked on the remains of our healthy munchies in full dark before beginning the long drive back to Munising. As we crossed back into cell phone territory, our phones all chimed with missed notifications – the kind of thing you generally ought to ignore when you’re with real people. But not when the notifications alert you to aurora, and you’re near the Lake Superior coast, and seeing the aurora is on your friend’s bucket list.

aurora over Lake Superior-2
aurora over Lake Superior-3

We didn’t catch the brightest showing of the lights on Lake Superior, but wrapped in fleece blankies among the gentle shoreline breezes, we enjoyed what we could see. And as my friend Carol says, that’s enough. More than enough, actually.

See the Big Dipper?
aurora over Lake Superior-4

If you want to check them out, many of these images are available larger and in much higher quality in my Upper Peninsula Flickr set.

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16 thoughts on “The Porkies Pay Off

  1. Aaaahhhh..Once again, beautiful pictures. It looks like another great adventure, although I do think Meg got a “bit close to the edge” of that rock!

    • I almost put something in there about that. As you’d expect, she wasn’t as close as she looks.
      And yes – it was a good adventure with lots of photo ops 🙂

  2. This is such a beautiful place. Chris and his buddies went camping there last summer and had a blast. I haven’t been over there in FAR TOO LONG! Thanks for the inspiration to trek over thattaway sometime soon. Hopefully.

    • One of these years I am going to convince Tony that we need to camp, and we will spend more than a day in the Porkies. And on that trip we will *definitely* stop in L’anse. Have a great adventure when you make it over there!

    • Thank you, Pat. Not that where we live is heavily populated, but we really enjoy the remoteness of the UP. The Porcupines don’t feel quite like the rest of the state – you should get up there again 🙂

  3. Prob my favorite post of yours so far. Excellent, excellent image captures. I always wanted to visit the Lake of the Clouds. You make living in MI 1000 times more appealing than I ever felt when I actually lived there. Had the internet actually been around back then I might of discovered many of these places. Its hard to imagine life without the internet and the ability to research & plan trips to area’s that you might not ever know about….I still don’t think I could ever live through the 5-6 months of overcast, gray MI winters….but when it’s pretty in N. MI, It’s really beautiful that is for sure!

    • Thank you for your kind words! I think you’re right about the internet improving things. All it takes is to see one pretty picture at a place and then you can look it up and discover it for yourself. The internet also makes having at-home jobs possible for us, which again makes us more likely to leave the house at the end of work to unwind rather than retreat home. If it makes you feel any better, your shots actually make me want to rediscover the south 🙂

      • My heart is in the mountains…obviously. lol. So much to explore and see. I could never live in the flat lands again. If/when I can ever work from home for my job that’s where I’m moving since my wife can take her job with her already. Someday hopefully.

        • Then I’m glad we switched places, because this is where my heart belongs 🙂 You keep sharing your southern finds, though and I’ll keep sharing from up here. And I’ll hope you can start to take your job with you – but only to the extent that you want 😉 My husband and I are lucky to work for a company that does not expect 100% access to you. I’d have to find another job if they wanted me tied into the office all the time just because I have a smartphone.

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