Porcupine Mountains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula - August 2-7

Janice

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Instead of heading to the Winds for our originally-planned trip, we switched gears and drove 9 hours in-state to the Porkies (Porcupine Mountains) in Michigan's UP. We had previously backpacked in beautiful Isle Royale National Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and the scenery on this trip was similar - water, trees, and rocks galore! In 5 nights, we had 2 campsites right next to gorgeous Lake Superior, 2 campsites by inland lakes, and 1 campsite next to a cascading stream. The terrain was nothing like what it would have been in the Winds - elevation ranged from 600-1850 ft - but we had beautiful scenery up close and at a distance. We totally lucked out with perfect weather (sandwiched between rainy/stormy days just before and after) and the mosquitoes weren't too bad. It was so nice to get away from what has become "normal" life in 2020...

Day 1 - Government Peak Trailhead along M-107 up to the Escarpment Trail with views of Lake of the Clouds then down to our campsite near the lake (NML 1). In late September or early October, the trees are supposed to be gorgeous, as there are lots of maple, oak, birch, and other deciduous in addition to the hemlocks. When we started, the rain had just ended, and we we got to watch the skies clear over the course of the afternoon.

Up on the Escarpment Trail with Lake of the Clouds off in the distance and Big Carp River snaking down below
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Still up on the Escarpment with Lake of the Clouds on the left and Lake Superior ahead on the right
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Looking back on Lake of the Clouds - fall viewing is very popular from this spot!
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There were many, many different fungi in the woods - these are two of my dozens of fungi photos. It would be great to be a mushroom expert and know which ones were safe to eat. We stayed away...
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Day 2 - Back up to the Escarpment with an out and back on the top part of Big Carp Trail (great views up there) and then down to the Lake Superior Trail to our fabulous campsite next to the lake (LS 17).

View from Big Carp Trail up on the Escarpment
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There were lots of boardwalks in the woods - and we could have used more. There were big muddy patches!
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We loved our first campsite along Lake Superior. Spectacular views of this incredible body of water!
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Day 3 - Short hike along the Lake Superior Trail to our next campsite (LS 11). After setting up, we did an out-and-back to the Big Carp Trail where the river meets the lake. Went up Big Carp about 1.5 miles to Bathtub Falls and Shining Cloud Falls.

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Thimbleberry
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Does anyone know what this flower is?
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Along the trail
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Along Big Carp River
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At our campsite
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Day 4 - Along Lake Superior Trail then up Little Carp Trail to our lovely site next to the river (LC 6)

This is where Big Carp River enters Lake Superior
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Love these - does anyone know what they're called?
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Crossing Little Carp River
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Day 5 - Little Carp Trail to our campsite next to Mirror Lake (ML 2)

Love these tree roots!
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Greenstone Falls
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So lush in these green woods
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Mr. Toad welcomed us to his home when we took a break before crossing Little Carp River again
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Lily Pond
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Mirror Lake - warm enough for me to dunk in. I hate cold water and was happy to clean off with more than just a bandana-bath!
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Day 6 - Final hike - Government Peak Trail back to the trailhead. Not much of a view from Government Peak. The woods were nice but buggy and probably would be a more exciting finish to the trip had we been there for fall color. Trap Falls (below) was a nice diversion.
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A lovely trip, which we wouldn't have done if not for COVID. If anyone from the Midwest is interested in more details, let me know!
 
Awesome! Thank you. I was just looking into Michigan places, since I'm not going out west either this year. Looks like at 13 hour drive for me.
 
Awesome! Thank you. I was just looking into Michigan places, since I'm not going out west either this year. Looks like at 13 hour drive for me.
Campsite reservations are necessary, so if you go (here or Pictured Rocks) definitely nail those down ahead of time rather than just showing up. There are other backcountry options in the Lower Peninsula which may be closer to you (depending where you're coming from), but we haven't done those yet. I love the vastness of Lakes Michigan and Superior, but I know there are other inland trips that people enjoy.
 
Very nice! Glad you got out on a trip. Love those tree roots wrapped over the rock. Leaf peaking would be amazing too in that area.

The second flower photo- it's jewelweed . We have plenty in our yard, it's a bit more orange here. Very pretty, a hummingbird magnet, but the seed pods pop open if barely touched and fling seeds far away. Usually I will pull some plants and leave some in the yard, they are blooming now. They will also seed in between perennials, so my neighbor got a 1 "volunteer" in a clump of Beebalm. Like you she also loved the flower!
 
Very nice! Glad you got out on a trip. Love those tree roots wrapped over the rock. Leaf peaking would be amazing too in that area.

The second flower photo- it's jewelweed . We have plenty in our yard, it's a bit more orange here. Very pretty, a hummingbird magnet, but the seed pods pop open if barely touched and fling seeds far away. Usually I will pull some plants and leave some in the yard, they are blooming now. They will also seed in between perennials, so my neighbor got a 1 "volunteer" in a clump of Beebalm. Like you she also loved the flower!
Thanks so much for the info about jewelweed. I haven't seen any near where I live and am going to investigate to see if they do well in this area. I'd love to give them a try in my garden!
 
Thanks so much for the info about jewelweed. I haven't seen any near where I live and am going to investigate to see if they do well in this area. I'd love to give them a try in my garden!

We are in a zone 5. I will keep an eye out for when the seeds mature and try to collect some for you.
You should be able to grow them in your location. They do well in part shade & moist areas.

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We are in a zone 5. I will keep an eye out for when the seeds mature and try to collect some for you.
You should be able to grow them in your location. They do well in part shade & moist areas.

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Ooh - I would love that. Are these photos of your own plants? They look the same as most of the ones I saw on my trip; my point-and-shoot camera was not at all cooperative in letting me get a sharp focus on them so I have almost no good shots. I also saw some of these that were solid yellow.
 
Ooh - I would love that. Are these photos of your own plants? They look the same as most of the ones I saw on my trip; my point-and-shoot camera was not at all cooperative in letting me get a sharp focus on them so I have almost no good shots. I also saw some of these that were solid yellow.

yes, iPhone photos I took in our yard this evening, own plants. A decade ago jewel weed just showed up in the yard and I leave a few plants to reseed every year. They also come in yellow . I will PM you, if I manage to collect seeds before they spread everywhere!
 
yes, iPhone photos I took in our yard this evening, own plants. A decade ago jewel weed just showed up in the yard and I leave a few plants to reseed every year. They also come in yellow . I will PM you, if I manage to collect seeds before they spread everywhere!
Sounds great - thanks so much!
 
Looks like a beautiful area. Thank you for posting.

The second fungus is one of the ramaria family or coral mushroom. They exist in Europe too. Some of them are eatable.


Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk
 
We had previously backpacked in beautiful Isle Royale National Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and the scenery on this trip was similar - water, trees, and rocks galore! In 5 nights
Even though it is retro, I'd love it if you were so inclined to writing up a TR w/pics! I tried a site search and didn't come up with anything
 
Ummmm, thimbleberries. Truly unique taste.
Fine report.
 
Haha that Toad looks like it has got so much attitude!

Thanks for sharing!
 
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