Saturday, September 7, 2013

Porcupine Mountains

We traveled to the west end of the Upper Peninsula to see the Porcupine Mountains.
Just where are the Porcupine Mountains, you ask? Well, you have to go beyond the end of the earth to get there.
 And in case you're wondering how they got that name....we found the answer.
The only place we saw bears and wolves was in the Visitor Center, and they weren't moving.

We brought a picnic lunch and ate at a picnic area overlooking Lake Superior. 
I climbed down the path to the beach.

And picked up a few more agates.
The main attraction in the Porcupines is Lake of the Clouds.
It was an easy walk along a boardwalk to the overlooks.
There are other trails that go down there, but no time for that.
About the name...
All we saw were ravens, but I did see bald eagles in other places in the UP.
My lens had a smear on the left side in these shots.
Sarah with the view in the background.
Lake of the Clouds
We were camped at Black River Harbor, a National Forest Campground just southwest of the Park. 
The boat docks have electric hookups.
I saw two otters in the river. The circle on the left is the head of one that just went under. The brown line on the right is the second one that just jumped in the water from the shore.
These are the best two shots, lol.
Leslie and Sarah enjoying the swings in the day use area.
The campsites are on a bluff overlooking the harbor.
A few of the sites are along the bluff with a view at the back.
View from Site 20.
The Black River Road has access to 5 waterfalls on the river. Most of the accesses involve trails and stairs, but one was accessible to all. 
It was a spectacular waterfall, but unfortunately I forgot the name of it.

From another viewpoint partway down the gorge.
A lot of water was rushing over the falls.
Farther down the gorge there is Gorge Falls, but we did not hike to see it.
I did take Thistle and hike to Rainbow Falls.
This warning at the top of the stairs.
Not bad going down, but I did take advantage of all the landings to pace myself coming back up.
Rainbow Falls was not producing a rainbow today,
But it was formidable.

Thistle and I walked the trail through the woods to catch the evening rays through the trees and ferns.
And sunset over the lake.

Some odds and ends about the UP of Michigan...

We passed this place, but we did not eat here.
I've always enjoyed Peter Toth's Indian carving in the various states I've seen them, so I had to stop and get a picture of the one in Wakefield. 
But I'm kind of sorry I did, because it has forever changed my perception of the wooden sculptures. 
In fact "Carver" might not be the best adjective. 
This one had some damage around the bottom, and I could plainly see the chicken wire and styrofoam that formed the shape. Thin strips of wood, paint, or other material covered the foam. 
Not what I was thinking about how they were created, so I was disappointed. 
Now I have to say a few words about the Roadside Parks in the UP. They are great! Did you know that Michigan was the first state to build Rest Areas along their highways. Other states caught on in the 1920s, but Michigan really continues to do a nice job with these.
Michigan's and the nation's first Roadside Park. 
This Roadside Park allowed for a stroll along the beach of Lake Superior.
This one had a dog run, 
And a short hiking trail to a waterfall. 
A tiny waterfall, but a good chance to stretch the legs. 
This one had plenty of parking space, 
And a wheelchair accesible trail to another waterfall. This bridge was built in 1929. 
The trail leads to Agate Falls. 

Agate Falls 
There are many parks along the shores of Lake Michigan on the south side of the UP.  All these Roadside Parks make it nice for travelers, especially those of us in RVs.
But the leaves are slowly changing, and the temperatures are becoming fall-like.
Time for us to fly southward. It sure has been fun. 


  1. Wonderful tour and, you are right, the temps will soon be colder than our thin southern blood will like. lol.

  2. One day I will follow in your footsteps, thanks for the tour. I look at and have enjoyed every one of them.
    Love ya,
    Say hi to Carol for me.