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.
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).
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!