Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Beautiful Day in the Porkies… Porcupine Mountains

The Porcpine Mountains are fondly referred to as the “Porkies” by locals.   Although I called them the "Pineys", by mistake, most of the trip.  Oops

The Porkies are approximately 25 miles long and 10 miles wide…60,000 acres.   

These mountains are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the Ontonagon and Gogebic counties. (I noted the counties just because I love the names.) J 

The Porcupine Mountains were named by the Ojibwa native American people, because the silhouette of the mountains looks like the back of a porcupine.  We all think that is a stretch—but who is going to argue at this point???

The Porcupine Mountains have the most extensive collection of old-growth northern hardwood forest west of the Adirondacks.  Old growth forests are virgin forests; this forest is full of multiple hardwood tree species.  The Porcupine Mountains State Park was established in 1945 to protect this old-growth forest.  

As we were driving on the Scenic Drive through the mountains it was hard to imagine the challenges this unforgiving environment would have been for the Indians and the settlers.

The Porkies are one of the largest remaining wilderness areas in the Midwest.  We were captured by the winding rivers and powerful waterfalls.   We enjoyed the trail and picnic area that led to the tower that overlooked the expanse of the forest.

In the Presque Isle area we are able to walk down a series of stairs that led down to a group of waterfalls.  Although it felts like the stairs would go on forever, I was able to manage the stairs and boardwalk—I just took my time and went at my own pace.  I am SO happy that I am able to manage walks like these.  I would have hated to miss this.  It feels ironic that we walked down hundreds of man made stairs to get to multiple God-made waterfalls.

From the Lake of the Clouds overlook we were able to look down onto the forest.  The trees seem to go on forever.  The boardwalk makes it an easy walk to the top.   Yet another example of God’s Greatness right before our eyes!

Both the Presque Isle and the Lake of the Clouds were relatively easy walks.  They were definitely worth the little bit of effort it took.

Summit Peak has a very steep trail that leads up to a tower that is approximately 30 feet high and allows the climber the ability to have a 360 degree view.  George went up the trail and climbed the tower, while Sue and I sat on a bench and greeted hikers and visited.  When George came down, he assured us we had made the right decision to not do this trail—it was steep and long.   

The magnitude of the forest, the power of the waterfalls and the breath-taking panoramic view from the Lake of the Clouds makes the visit to the Porkies a trip we will remember! 

This trip to Wisconsin and Michigan has been amazing.  The sights were gorgeous!  We had GREAT times with Sue, Sandy and Niles—we love those people!!!  We cannot wait to come back.  This place quickly felt like home to us.   
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