Saturday, August 1, 2015

Just Chillin' in Ontonagon

We decided to do......not much of anything today.  :)

After breakfast, we walked up and down the beach and got our feet wet in Lake Superior.

It was in the high 60's and did not get any warmer than about 73 today.  And there were people swimming in Lake Superior!  Just a little too cold for our Southern blood!  :)

We saw one guy who apparently decided that since it was Saturday he would take a bath in Lake Superior.  He washed his hair and lathered it up real good with shampoo and then rinsed it clean in the lake.  The lake does look very clear but I don't know if it is bath water clear.

It's amazing how much the shoreline along Lake Superior here in Ontonagon reminds you of a beach at the ocean.  Watch and listen:

We could not look for shells or shark's teeth on the beach but we did look for agates or unusual rocks.  Most of the rocks are a red sandstone and very breakable or black. smooth and round.  Below are some of the rocks we kept along with a piece of "lake glass" that was not tumbled quite as much as sea glass but was smooth enough to keep.

When we were in the camper, we got our reservations made for the next two weeks.  We will be traveling next to Marquette (for a nice bike trail along the beach and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore), then to Brimley (to go to Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Soo Locks at Sault St Marie, then to Mackinaw City (to visit Mackinaw Island), and last to Elk Rapids where we will tour the Traverse City area and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Because it has been too windy to grill, I made homemade turkey vegetable soup and let it simmer in the crock pot for most of the day.  By later in the day, the winds really died down making it a very enjoyable evening to sit outside.

We went back inside to eat our soup around 7:30 and then were back outside to enjoy our last sunset at Ontonagon around 9.

Our stay in Ontonagon has been wonderful and so relaxing and our site has been picture-perfect.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hiking the Porkies

The Porcupine Mountains (known by the locals as the Porkies) has a lot of good hiking trails.  We drove all the way to the other end of the Porkies and began our first hike of the day in the Presque Isle area of the park.  We began by hiking the West River trail south along the Presque Isle River.

Along the West River trail, there are a lot of steps and boardwalks...

...that allow hikers and walkers (those without hiking poles) to more easily access the viewpoints of the various falls along the river.

So we climbed up some steps....

...and saw the Manabezho Falls.

And then we walked down a lot of steps...

and saw the Manido Falls.

Just east of the Manido Falls, there was a place where you could walk out to the middle of the river on top of all the layers upon layers of rock.

The river looks fairly peaceful upstream...

..but a little more "waterfally" downstream.  :)

The suds that would gather in the eddies or holes in the rock is not from pollution but from the chemicals in the trees.

We came to the end of the last of the boardwalks and then began a steep climb up a hillside of tree roots.

Along this trail and through much of the Porkies, we were walking through the largest remaining old-growth and hemlock forest in the Midwest.

The last set of waterfalls we came to on the West River Trail was the Nawadaha Falls.

Within a short distance we reached the South Boundary Road where we crossed the bridge...

...and began heading down the East River Trail on the other side of the river.

We had a better viewpoint on the East River Trail of some of the falls.

And we had more "root-steps" to climb down.

Before too long, we could see Lake Superior through the trees off in the distance.

The ground of the forest was filled with tree saplings, moss, plants and ferns.

We also saw these big green leafy plants with pods or flowers that looked like blueberries growing up on the stem from the base.

We crossed over some of those layered rocks...

...and could see where Presque Isle River was emptying into Lake Superior.

And then we crossed over a suspension bridge...

...where we could see the Presque Isle River directly below us.

We climbed another set of steps back up to the parking lot of the trailhead and had walked a little over 2 miles on the West and East River Trails.  We had our picnic lunch at the shelter at the trailhead.  As we began leaving in the car, there was a gentleman that asked if we could give him a ride back to the ranger's station where he and his family had left their car to hike along these trails. He said all of his kids were pretty tired and he didn't think they could hike much further.  So we took him to his car and headed on down the road.

I noticed on the map another set of waterfalls that appeared to be a very short distance to hike to.  We stopped at the parking lot for the Little Carp River Trail and after finding the trail, began walking to the Overlooked Falls.

As is typical, it was more than just a short distance but we did find a sign pointing the direction of the Overlooked Falls 300 feet to the right of the trail.  We walked 100 feet and there they were.

If we had not seen the sign, we would have overlooked them.  :)

When we walked back to the trail, we noticed some backpackers coming up behind us.  They asked us for directions to the road because they were heading back to the Summit Peak parking lot.  It was a dad, his son, and their friend and they had been backpacking for 5 days and decided to walk on out because they were running low on supplies.  We knew it was 5 or 6 miles back to Summit Peak.  Since that was where we were heading next, we gave the friend a lift back to their car at Summit Peak and then he was able to drive back and pick up the dad and son which kept them from having to walk all that distance on the road.

After parking at the trailhead to Summit Peak, we hiked up the trail to the highest point in the Porcupine Mountains.  The trails was fairly steep and then we began walking up a lot of steps.

There was a nice overlook where you could see the mountains and Lake Superior off in the distance.

At the top was a tall tower with even more steps...

...where you could see for miles and miles.

It was green and beautiful but very windy so we didn't stay up there too long.  I imagine it is even more spectacular in the fall when all the leaves change colors.

We hiked a total of about 4 miles today, climbed up and down about 1,000 steps, and helped 2 sets of hikers today.  That's a pretty good day in the Porkies!

We had big salads for dinner and I began making reservations for some of the places we will be visiting next in Michigan.  We went outside a little after 9 pm to watch the sunset.  It was 62 degrees and the wind was blowing about 12 mph.  Needless to say, I was a little cold.

We had another spectacular sunset...

...after another spectacular day.  Good night, Porkies!  :)