What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Got some trip suggestions at another National Park, or know of a great place in the middle of no where? Share them here, plan your trips, and hook up with other individuals on the forum.

Moderator: alecto73

User avatar

LarryL
LNT Expert
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:37 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by LarryL » Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:09 pm

churchill330 wrote:
odd man out wrote:Yes, I will take any hints you have on the Porkies
X2, I would also be interested in any info (maps, routes, ect) I'v been wanting to do the Porkies, and this may be the year. This may be a good test run for the girlfriends rehabbed knee before another IR trip.
This is a map of the April 25-27, 2015 trip. We started in the parking lot by Lake of the Clouds and headed down the Lake Superior Trail. It was beautiful, but I would not recommend taking the LST that early in the season. It was unbelievably muddy, and I had been warned. Once we got off that trail, the trail in the higher elevations were pretty good.

Image

This picture was taken near our campsite at Lone Rock right on the LST. There is some brush and rocks along the lake, and the campsite is right on the other side of it. It somewhat blocks the wind, but you get to enjoy the sounds of waves all night. There is a cabin down at Buckshot, which would probably be nice minus all the mud. We camped in tents.

Image
Last edited by LarryL on Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
2 visits (2002 and 2009) and counting

User avatar

LarryL
LNT Expert
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:37 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by LarryL » Fri Mar 11, 2016 5:50 pm

This is a map of the November 6-8, 2015 backpacking trip to the Porcupine Mountains.

We started at the Summit Peak scenic area and hiked down to Mirror Lake the first night. It rained and then snowed overnight, but there was just a trace of snow on the tent when we got up. We got a late start and left the campsite after 11:30. Near the point where the Correction Line Trail meets the Big Carp Trail, there USED to be a nice little foot bridge over the Big Carp River. I know this because we sat on it and pumped water in April 2015. Apparently, a flood washed it out in June 2015 because all that was left in November 2015 was a few boards. I foolishly tried to balance my way across and wound up in the river, which was really like a creek. But I had wet boots and about a 3.3 mile hike left to our campsite with about 1 hour until sundown. Luckily, it worked out fine and, after some nice uphill switchbacks, we camped at the most beautiful site on a ridge (see below). A long campfire was perfect for drying out my gear. I had scoped out this campsite on the April trip and was determined to camp there.

Image

Here is the campsite on the ridge. The fire ring is visible. It is not a good spot if you sleepwalk. There is about a 300 foot drop on the left. The Big Carp River flows through the valley. If I turned around, I'd be looking at Lake of the Clouds, but those pictures are pretty common, so I thought I'd share one looking the opposite direction (west-southwest).

Image

Bottom line, I love the Porkies. I love Isle Royale, too. The terrain is somewhat the same (they're neighbors), but I found the Porkies steeper as far as elevation gain on the trails. We were limited by time for both 2015 trips to the Porkies, so a boat ride to IRNP was out of the question. If we had more time, I would go to IRNP, but a quick weekend trip to the Porkies is quite a treat. Well, plus I don't think IRNP was even open at either date.

For me, part of the lure of these places in the Midwest is that I didn't know they existed until fairly recently. Growing up near Chicago, I had never heard of Isle Royale until 2002. One of the scouts in our troop suggested it for our High Adventure trip that year and 14 of us went backpacking and kayaking. We went again in 2009, this time in canoes and overcame the longest portages of my life.

The UP looked interesting when we drove up to Copper Harbor to go to IRNP in 2002, but I had not heard of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and all it had to offer until around 2010.

Now, you guys (actually alecto73 last week) have introduced me to the Trap Hills and I can't wait to go up and check it out.

What else is out there to discover?

Quality backpacking and scenery in the Midwest!
Last edited by LarryL on Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 visits (2002 and 2009) and counting


odd man out
NewbieCake
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:13 pm

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by odd man out » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:39 pm

Great info. I've known about all these places (except the Trap Hills) since I met my wife 34 years ago. She had worked in the UP and introduced me to a lot of great places in the UP. But if want the ultimate UP adventure, it would be in the Huron Mountains where you will find tens of thousands of acres of virgin forests, pristine lakes, and one of the best rivers for trout and whitewater in the Midwest. However it is not a trip any of us will be taking in the near future, if ever. The bulk of the Huron Mountains have been privately owned by the Huron Mountain Club and preserved for the exclusive use by its 50 members for the last 125 years. Unless you can get a job as a security guard to patrol the boundary, or inherit a membership from a deceased member, your only chance of getting in is as part of the small research team allowed in to study this private preserve (which is how my wife got in).

User avatar

LarryL
LNT Expert
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:37 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by LarryL » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:24 am

Huron Mountains:
Interesting. Thanks for the information.

Behind the Gates:
http://uppermichiganssource.com/news/lo ... ?id=132343


http://moon.com/2014/08/the-huron-mount ... peninsula/
2 visits (2002 and 2009) and counting

User avatar

churchill330
NewbieCake
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:38 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 7
Location: Whitmore Lake Mi

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by churchill330 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:58 pm

Thank You for the Info. This summers mission, visit that 'campsite on the ridge' location. WoW. Was that night 1, 2, or 3 location.

I noticed that map does not offer Topographic lines. Although not terribly important, I'd like to know what kind of elevation changes to expect.


JerryB
Bushwacker
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:30 am
Isle Royale Visits: 7

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by JerryB » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:20 pm

Great pictures of the Porkies. I thought the descriptions and observations were completely accurate. I would add that the Lake Superior Trail was nearly impassably muddy even in mid summer. I would not take that trail again. I also agree that the Porkies are like IR but steeper trails. But the biggest difference is in the amount of use and maintenance. IR is in better shape and less crowded, although some of the views in the Porkies rival those on the island and it is easier to get to. One last observation, the Porkies have about a dozen cabins available, equipped with cots and wood-burning stoves, as well as pots, etc. The ones on lakes have a canoe or row boat too!

I laughed at the note on the map: "very steep trail to summit tower". I can attest to that!

User avatar

LarryL
LNT Expert
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:37 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by LarryL » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:56 pm

churchill330 wrote:Thank You for the Info. This summers mission, visit that 'campsite on the ridge' location. WoW. Was that night 1, 2, or 3 location.

I noticed that map does not offer Topographic lines. Although not terribly important, I'd like to know what kind of elevation changes to expect.
Glad you like the information. Site is night 2 on the November trip map. There are 3 campsites shown on the Big Carp River Trail without bear poles. Ours was the farthest site to the east. We hung our food over the edge of the cliff based on the advice of the ranger. The trail goes just to the side of the campsite, so you may get some foot traffic during busier times. There was hardly any one there in April or November. And no bugs!

I don't have a topo map for the Porkies, so I can't help you there.
2 visits (2002 and 2009) and counting


odd man out
NewbieCake
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:13 pm

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by odd man out » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:02 pm

For topo maps, try caltopo.com
Then click in to icon in the corner to customize.

User avatar

churchill330
NewbieCake
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:38 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 7
Location: Whitmore Lake Mi

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by churchill330 » Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:28 pm

odd man out wrote:For topo maps, try caltopo.com
Then click in to icon in the corner to customize.

Great help. Thank You.

User avatar

LarryL
LNT Expert
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:37 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by LarryL » Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:30 pm

LarryL wrote:
churchill330 wrote:Thank You for the Info. This summers mission, visit that 'campsite on the ridge' location. WoW. Was that night 1, 2, or 3 location.

I noticed that map does not offer Topographic lines. Although not terribly important, I'd like to know what kind of elevation changes to expect.
Glad you like the information. Site is night 2 on the November trip map. There are 3 campsites shown on the Big Carp River Trail without bear poles. Ours was the farthest site to the east. We hung our food over the edge of the cliff based on the advice of the ranger. The trail goes just to the side of the campsite, so you may get some foot traffic during busier times. There was hardly any one there in April or November. And no bugs!

I don't have a topo map for the Porkies, so I can't help you there.
Okay, here's more about that "campsite on the ridge." Since I posted a picture of the site looking away from Lake of the Clouds, here is one from the campsite looking at the lake. It's just a beautiful spot.

The BCRT continues on for another 2 miles, with lots of ups and downs on the trail. There are beautiful vistas along the way, including the location of a lot of popular Porkies pictures. The trail finally arrives back in civilization with a deck and lookout point over Lake of the Clouds. It's kind of like backpacking on IR and then coming into Rock Harbor (except you can't buy a burger).

Image

Breakfast at the campsite on the ridge. You can get a good look at the fire ring. There are a couple of small smooth spots for tents behind some of the brush away from the fire (behind and to the right of the camera). The other 2 campsites shown on the map are set back from the ridge on the opposite side of the trail. They would not be as exposed if it was really windy, but would not have the views we had.

I was a little anxious as we were going up the trail because I thought someone else would have this campsite. I have no idea what the Porkies are like in the summer. I assume that they are way busier than IR since you don't need to take a boat or plane.

Image
Last edited by LarryL on Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
2 visits (2002 and 2009) and counting

User avatar

LarryL
LNT Expert
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:37 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by LarryL » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:03 pm

JerryB wrote:Great pictures of the Porkies. I thought the descriptions and observations were completely accurate. I would add that the Lake Superior Trail was nearly impassably muddy even in mid summer. I would not take that trail again. I also agree that the Porkies are like IR but steeper trails. But the biggest difference is in the amount of use and maintenance. IR is in better shape and less crowded, although some of the views in the Porkies rival those on the island and it is easier to get to. One last observation, the Porkies have about a dozen cabins available, equipped with cots and wood-burning stoves, as well as pots, etc. The ones on lakes have a canoe or row boat too!

I laughed at the note on the map: "very steep trail to summit tower". I can attest to that!
Interesting that you say the Lake Superior Trail was so bad in the mid summer. In April, it was basically like backpacking in a muddy creek the whole time. We almost turned around but kept thinking it would get better. At some point, we decided it would be hell to turn around and go through it again. Didn't Yogi say that if you're going through hell, keep going? I set up the route and I was afraid the other guys were going to never want to come back again. Turned out well, though. And did I mention, no bugs in April?

I'm glad you mentioned that steep trail to Summit tower (on the back side, not the deck that leads to the Summit tower from the parking lot). My son and I were just talking about that the other day. I was really hurting and gulped down some trail mix for extra fuel to make the last half mile or so. Hard, but it makes me feel good that there really is some challenging backpacking here in the Midwest. The big difference from Wyoming and such is that you don't have to contend with the altitude.
2 visits (2002 and 2009) and counting


odd man out
NewbieCake
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:13 pm

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by odd man out » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:45 pm

Has anyone hiked the Superior Hiking Trail in MN? I've seen that on a few "best trail" lists. If the Porkies are similar to IR, can the same be said for the LST?


wiximages
NewbieCake
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:51 am

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by wiximages » Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:39 am

Glacier and the Grand Canyon. Been to Arizona 15 times or more never made it to the Grand Canyon yet.

Sent from my SM-T217S using Tapatalk

User avatar

head2north
Trailblazer
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:46 am
Isle Royale Visits: 9
Location: River Falls, Wisconsin

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by head2north » Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:15 pm

I may be committing a topic taboo here, but would like to get to Canada's Woodland Caribou and Wabakimi. For my defense,
it was never stated that it had to be a U.S. park!

User avatar

LarryL
LNT Expert
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:37 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: What national parks haven't you visited, but would like to?

Post by LarryL » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:49 pm

I am in violation too. Porcupine Mountains is not a NP. Just ignore my posts. :?
2 visits (2002 and 2009) and counting

Post Reply