For the second time in two weeks, I’ve decided I’m just not willing to leave Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park until I absolutely have to. I was supposed to leave here today. But yesterday as I was going to take my last look at Lake of the Clouds, it hit me in a profound and no-mistake-about-it way that I just wasn’t ready. I had seen enough of this wild and wondrous land to know that I really had not seen nearly enough. And I knew I just wasn’t going to be happy leaving here no matter where else I went right now.
So today I turned around from Lake of the Clouds, went back to the campground and asked Jimmy, the Park Ranger, to play devil’s advocate and tell me if it made sense to him at all for me to stay here another 11 days and if it were even possible from the park’s standpoint. I feel like we’re friends by now, and he laughed and said, “I can’t be unbiased about that decision, Malia – I love it here so much I made it my home – how can I tell you that you should leave if your heart demands you stay?” After assuring me I could keep my spot, I couldn’t argue with that one, either!
My first visit to Lake of the Clouds – can you blame me when I say once is just not enough??? There are several trails I’d like to try for different vantage points.
The first weekend I was here in the Porkies, the annual Porcupine Mountains Music Fest was going on.
This event definitely set me off to a great start with diverse music, fantastic views and meeting wonderful people from the area! I even got gifted with some homemade-with-love Thimbleberry jam, a local delicacy that’s not commercially viable to produce due to the delicacy of the berries – thanks again, Carrie!
I kept trying to tell myself that I was already planning my summer here next year and that I would definitely come back and plan a longer stay. But my heart would not be satisfied with promises of next year. It replied, “You can plan all you want, Malia, but you never know what will happen between now and then. So seize the day now and if you have to put off something for next year, put off the next stop!” I couldn’t argue with that logic and honestly didn’t try very hard…
I have to be in Traverse City for my daughter’s arrival on the 23rd, so I’ll have to drive a little further than I usually like between stops, but it’s all reasonably possible and staying here for as long as I possibly can makes it so worth it!
So today it was time to dump and fill water tank anyway, and as soon as I was finished with that and knew I could just go back to my wonderful site instead of hitting the road, the little happy song my heart sang confirmed I had made the right decision.
But honestly, it hasn’t been easy to motivate myself to even leave my campsite. Did I luck out or what?
This is my “yard” – the lakeshore right outside my door!
There are several sites right on Lake Superior and one night I met my nice neighbors and while sharing a campfire and swapping travel tales, here’s what we saw:
More pictures of Rainbow and Sunset over Lake Superior
When I have been able to tear myself away from home, there are other things I really liked:
At Summit Peak, you’re 1,958 feet above sea level and 1,360 feet above Lake Superior:
This hike was one of the most challenging for me because I wound up doing it the hard way (what’s new about that, Malia?) 🙂 but it was also one of the most beautiful.
I sincerely recommend anyone who hasn’t been here to start making your plans right now! So many people from Michigan told me they couldn’t wait to see my impressions of the Porcupine Mountains because they’ve lived here all their lives and never made it here. Now that just has to be an official definition of insanity somewhere!
I understand like Jimmy said, that people who come here have to mean to come here because it’s not “on the way” to anywhere else. However, it’s way worth it and here in this park that has the appropriate word “wilderness” right in its name, I have experienced that in its natural beauty and settings, but I still have a nice campground home with all the modern conveniences, including electricity, my Verizon aircard provides excellent internet access, my Verizon phone keeps me in touch with the outside world (there’s also free wi-fi at the Visitor’s Center), and my DirecTV rooftop satellite gives me excellent TV reception!
So I’ve used all the words I can find at the moment and even the best pictures I’ve taken don’t begin to truly capture the enormity of the beauty here, but this is my best “excuse” and explanation as to why I’m staying here as long as I possibly can.
I’d love to hear comments from others who have been touched by this magic land – either why you now want to visit, why you loved your stay, what you did here, your favorite sights, hikes, etc.
PS 9-14-11: I’m even more glad I stayed now! While most days have been pretty calm on the lake, today the wind was wild and whipped up the waves at Lake Superior. What a show! 1 minute video I posted on YouTube.