Some people for their 20th wedding anniversary would head to a fancy beach in the Cayman Islands..  some would head for a weekend in New York..  Troy and I chose to head to the Porcupine Pine Mountains and to see how many miles we could put on our shoes hiking crazy trails like this in search of water falls, and we had a great time.  I do think that the Porkie’s missed out on an opportunity a few years ago with the stimulus package.  A few of those dollars could have gone to keep the trails up. Coming down this trail was shall we say interesting…  but well worth it.

The largest areas of old growth forest in the Mid west can be found in the park.  Huge Cedars, Eastern Hemlock, Yellow Birch’s are just a few to be seen

Troy wondering how many rows of firewood this tree would make in the woodshed

Yet another spot that we found stimulus money could have gone.  Are you noticing that the bridge slightly tilts to the left…  one hand rail on the right…  Would you step out on it..  with the lure of a water fall crashing just beyond it…

Yep we did

and yep it was worth it.  Beautiful river and falls

On the way back we saw what the problem was with the bridge.  For some reason the one side was missing.  Hmmm….  but it held us one way, it would hold us the way back we just walked quicker than we did the first time

After Greenstone Falls we headed to our home for the next 2 nights a wonderful gem along the shores of Lake Superior just outside of the Porkies.  You could not have asked for a better spot to enjoy Lake Superior right along the shore, clean and quiet.  They also had some wonderful hosts Rick and Jeni who made us feel right at home and compared a few stories about running resorts, living along Lake Superior vs. Lower Kaubashine and a few bear stories.  Our lives are very similar but also different.  Rick has so much snow to plow he ends up plowing right up to the lake

Standing on a rock jutting out into Lake Superior.  New York hold nothing on Lake Superior

Our 2nd day we traveled to Lake of the Clouds.  I showed this picture in my last entry.  Now to the story of Mirror Lake and hiking down into the basin…

The road less traveled…. after we got down the ridge we started on the hike to Mirror Lake 3 3/4 miles away.  Our first obstacle run off left the trail a bit of a challenge.. but we could do it really!  We kept following the blue dots, it could not be far we could do 3 3/4 miles

We hiked the gorge and then we started up…. we were supposed to intersect with Government Peak Trail and Mirror Lake would be another mile.  Government Peak had to but just at the top of this hill… it had to be..  but we had to make it up the hill to see.  Notice again where our public officials could once again spend some of our money on improving the trails, rather than buying 200 dollar hammers.. til then hike up the roots

How much farther is it… we are only half way up the mountain

After getting to the top, walking another mile and running into Government Peak Trail seeing the sign says one more mile to Mirror Lake we decided we lived on a lake and did not need to see it.  We decided to dub this lake Mirror Lake and call it a day.  Troy gave me a hard time for not taking a picture showing the sign that we made it to Government Peak trail.  You will have to take my word for it and believe us or hike the trail yourself, watch out for the roots but enjoy the views of the river

On our way back down checking out the view of the gorge below but not getting to close.  Rick who owned owned the resort we were staying at is on the rescue squad that goes in and gets folks out who injure themselves and we were not going to have to have him come and pick us up out of the gorge.  By the way, except for a couple of spots at the very tops of the mountains there was no cell reception getting out 3 miles in would not be fun to try and figure out

Back down to Cloud Lake.  Now to just make it back up to the look out… I am not tired really…. I could have made it all the way to Mirror Lake.. now .5 miles up to the look out.  How many benches do we have to take a break on, on the way up?

Troy pointing to where we made it.  We saw the gorge we traveled through between the 2 mountains straight ahead and we went a mile beyond that

After all that hiking Troy was ready to enjoy the sunset just outside our cabin.  How often does anyone see him just sit down and enjoy the view

Wonderful way to spend some time on Lake Superior

Brief History of The Porcupine Mountains

The Porcupine Mountains State Park consist of a series of irregular ranges whose slopes are covered with virgin forest of maple, birch, basswood and hemlock. Held within these ridges are the beautiful Lake of Clouds and the crystal clear Mirror Lake. Through a series of rapids and falls the Big and Little Carp rivers rush through deep gorges to Lake Superior. These rivers originate from the two mystical lakes held in the high slopes.

The mountains received their name from the native Ojibwa people. The chain of mountains towering above the waters of Lake Superior reminded them of “kag”, the woodland porcupine. The mountains they called “Kag wadjiw”, the Porcupine Mountains.

The story of Michigan’s natural areas began with concern over the fate of the Porcupine Mountains. In 1925, P. J. Hoffmaster, then chief of  State Parks, recommended the acquisition of the Porcupine Mountains to prevent further tree cutting. Twenty years later, the State acquired the area and the State Park was established in 1946. However, the Porcupine Mountains continued to be threatened: copper mining in 1958, a proposed scenic road to the heart of the park in 1965, and later a proposal for fish ladders that would require dynamiting the falls in the Presque Isle River. These plans were dropped but it was clear that “State Park” designation alone could not protect the area’s virgin forests, waterfalls, scenic shorelines, geological and ecological resources.