Sunday, April 8, 2012

Porcupine Mountains -- Post 2

First of all, Happy Easter to everyone. I must admit that for the first time in years I have no Easter plans. I am in Marquette right now and after doing a little bit of shopping, I'll be heading home. I cannot wait to tear into the boxes with my purchases from the Quartzite and Tucson shows.

For today's blog posting I will continue with the photo tour of the hikes my friend, Helen, and I did in the Porcupine mountains over the last two days. It is hard to tell exactly how many miles we hiked since we did parts of several trails. I would estimate that we hiked between five and six miles each day.

After we hiked to the bridge, we headed back up the trail. When we passed the junction with the trail to the Lake in the Clouds Cabin, we decided to go and check out the cabin. I must admit that we almost turned around when we saw this sign.

However, I really wanted to check it out to see if someday I would want to reserve and rent the cabin. So we decided to head to the cabin anyway and would turn around if we saw that it was being used. It is so early in the season and we had not seen any one else on the trail that we figured no one would be there. And no one was there......

I think the cabin is the only structure on the lake -- at least as far as we can determine. We couldn't see in the windows well since most of them were too high off the ground for us to look in, but it appears that there are four bunk beds. With the high cliffs all the way around the lake, it is a mild setting protected from the wind -- and beautiful. I definitely plan on reserving the cabin someday soon and using it as a base for day hiking.

From there we hiked back up the escarpment and walked west down the boardwalk. The picture below shows some of the rough steep terrain.

The sun felt so good that we sat on one of the benches and just enjoyed the view for a while. Below are some of the photos I took from the boardwalk.

Then we decided we had to hike some more so we drove a few miles down the road to look for another trail head.

On the side of the road there was an interpretive sign, so I pulled over to check it out.

The sign marks the place of an abandoned copper mine. Next to the sign was a set of steps descending down under ground. I braved the steps and almost turned back when I heard a pulsating sound. I didn't have a flashlight so at first I wasn't sure what it was. I took a flash picture so I could at least use the camera to let me know what was down the mine tunnel.

I didn't walk all the way to the end since the floor of the tunnel was quite wet. The sound was water pulsating out of the barrier built in the tunnel. In the barrier there were holes open to allow the bats to fly in and out. Across the highway is the sign I have in the photo below, which has information about the "Porkies."

A short distance down the road is a parking area for the Government Peak trails. We parked and headed up the hill to the first trail junction.

We decided to head west up the Escarpment trail. Near the beginning of the trail was this sign and evidence of long-ago mining.

And up the trail was. We hiked for around two miles up -- up -- up -- and up some more. What a climb that was up "the back of the porcupine." When we neared the top we saw the first wild flowers of the spring. It is amazing that it is the beginning of April when up at this elevation especially there should be snow -- but instead there are flowers.

Most of the trail goes through the woods parallelling the escarpment, but we didn't get to a good overlook sight until we were two miles down the trail. There we stopped and just enjoyed the view. We could actually see the Lake Superior shoreline west of the park off in the distance, as well as Lake of the Clouds and the Carp River.

After resting for around a half hour, we headed back down the trail and returned to our cabin in Ontonagon. Here is a photo of the rocky shoreline I took driving along the highway.

We cooked dinner and then walked the short path down to enjoy sunset.

To the east of where we were, there was a break wall and lighthouse, probably protecting the Ontonagon River mouth.  It looks similar to the break wall and lighthouse in Grand Marais.

Helen walking down the sandy beach....

Waves dancing with the beach in the glow of the sunset....

While we watched sunset, we watched two fisherman in a very small fishing boat.  We thought they were crazy being out on the "Big Lake" with a choppy surf and cold temperatures.  We couldn't figure out what the pole was on the front of the boat, but then we realized it was an outrigger to allow them to put more lines into the water.

Here is a photo I took looking west, showing the Porcupine Mountains and the peak we climbed.

Later that night I took my monthly full moon picture.  I then superimposed it on a modified version of the above photo.

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