It has been a crazy summer for both Jess and I. Unsurprisingly, we needed to have a few days to completely decompress. Our most favorite place to recover our sanity just happens to be a little slice of heaven located on the far Western reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula known as the Porcupine Mountains. Or, as we like to call it… Heaven on Earth.
Our whirlwind adventure in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula !
While our trip also included several other stops on the way home, our main focus for this trip was not just photography… It was purely getting as deep into the virgin forests of the Porkies as we, and our pups, could muster. To that end, our trip was a resounding success. We managed to recharge among Northern Michigan’s beautiful and majestic old-growth forests. Visiting a couple spots we hadn’t seen in several years while also managing to witness a few spots that we had not had the pleasure of seeing before. An added bonus, if you will, was our first close encounter experience with a rather sudden and vociferous storm. Thankfully, we managed to survive under the boughs of a rather dense hemlock near the bridge over the Little Carp River.
Our first day started out at the Nonesuch Mine, which, if you do not know was a small mining community from 1867 to 1912. It is now a ghost town and only ruins remain of what was once a town that was home to approximately 300 people.
Union Spring Trail (or, so we thought)…
After our short visit to Nonesuch we set off to visit the Union Spring (which is the second largest, natural spring in Michigan). Unfortunately, we did not bring our map and the signage throughout this trail has changed since our last visit. Resulting in, quite simply, getting lost. Nonetheless, we loved our misadventure, and managed to put nearly 10 miles of trail on our tired bodies this day.
Lake of the Clouds & Little Carp River
Day two of our journey started with what we thought would be a quick visit to the Lake of the Clouds. This is probably the most iconic and most visited spots in the State Park. It has become kind of a ritual for us to stop in here for at least a quick spell. Instead of leaving after taking in the beautiful view, we decided to stay and trek down to the Little Carp River since, we had never done so. The trail descends several hundred feet. Once you reach the bottom, you can make your way to both the shores of the beautiful Lake of the Clouds. You’ll also find the bridge leading the trail over the Little Carp River.
After taking in the beauty around the Little Carp River, we decided that our time here wasn’t quite finished. We checked our map and headed down the North Mirror Lake trail. This would ultimately be an attempt to reach Scott Creek. I say attempt, as we never made our destination. A rather sudden storm made an appearance, and we decided to hightail it back to the car. Our efforts to escape the wrath of the storm were in vain as well. As the storm passed right over us as we made it back to the Little Carp River. Thankfully, we were fortunate to find a rather dense Hemlock that we were able to hide under for the worst of the rains. Lesson learned. Bring rain ponchos on every hike!
A beautiful Lake Superior Sunset!
Despite the threat of inclement weather, we did try to reach Greenstone Falls. However, nature wasn’t finished and another, more fearsome storm prevented this last adventure. So, we packed up to head back to our hotel room at Sunshine Motel & Cabins in Ontonagon (wonderful place run by wonderful people). Upon reaching the end of Boundary Road and arriving at the Lake Superior shoreline we noticed that a rather interesting sunset was brewing. Amidst the surrounding stormy weather, the sun was making beautiful light. Here, we braved some more rain to capture what we feel are some of the more beautiful shots of our trip.
Leaving paradise behind…
Day three of our short respite had us needing to head back home. Instead of spending the day in the Porkies, we decided to try and visit a couple other spots we hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing yet.
Scott Falls in Munising
Our first stop on the long journey back home was Scott Falls near Munising. You’ll find these picturesque little waterfalls right off the main highway leading into town. Well worth the stop! We had really interesting light here! Happily enjoying a few minutes out of the car to soak in some roadside nature.
Hurricane River & Waterfall
Back on the road, we decided that we wanted to enjoy a spot where once upon a time, we were chased off by unbelievable swarms of Stable Flies. This time… No stable flies were around (thank goodness). The scene here was the Hurricane River Falls, just West of Grand Marais. They were every bit as beautiful as we had imagined. But, you can see for yourself!
Upon leaving the Hurricane River the hunger boss was beating us down. Grand Marais offered a tasty little place called The Snack Shack. The little personal pizza was delicious! Allowing us to get back on the road in very little time at all.
We also put together a little video of our Hurricane River and Falls visit. Check it out!
A Seney Wildlife Refuge sunset!
The U.P. wasn’t done with us just yet! Here, the last leg of our trip leads directly South. We headed out of Grand Marais, directly to what we have discovered is one of the least talked about gems in the U.P. That would be the Seney Wildlife Refuge. We were treated to one of the most beautiful sunset drives we’ve ever witnessed. We took the 7 mile car path from the main entrance. This car path leads you through some of the most gorgeous places to witness a sunset.
So, that’s it for our sneak peek from our latest adventure in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula! Be sure to follow the links below to find artwork from throughout the beautiful reaches of “da UP”!