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PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS WILDERNESS STATE PARK (MI)



MONDAY - We stayed on our Forest Service campsite as long as we could, checkout is at 11:00AM and we left about 10:45AM.

Our next campsite is only a little over an hour away at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and their check in time isn't until 3:00PM.

We saw a Pub and Grill Restaurant about 4-miles from our campsite destination and decided to kill a little time and pull over and eat lunch. It was a little difficult parking our truck and trailer on the side of the building, but we made it work.

To say this place had a very limited menu would be a huge understatement. They offered pizza, burgers with chips, breadsticks and brownies. That's it!

This sign was right outside the restaurant. If the End of the Earth is 2-miles down the road, how do we get to the Porcupine Mountains which is 4-miles down the road?

After lunch we pulled into the campground just before 2:00PM and quickly checked in, then we hit the dump station and filled up with fresh water before setting up on our campsite.

Once again we have a front row site and an excellent view of Lake Superior. This is where we'll spend our Fourth of July holiday and then move on next Monday.

Starlink is up and running!

We even have a path down to the lakeshore at the edge of our campsite.

Surprise, we are going to have a few more days of rain this week, but not today!



WEDNESDAY - Today we're going sightseeing!

Ever since we got here all we've heard about is how wonderful the view is from the Lake of the Clouds Overlook.

It's located just 6½-miles from here at the end of the road. You'll find a large parking area with a bathroom, some picnic tables and a paved trail that heads another 300' from the parking lot up to the overlook.

After walking up 300' of pretty steep asphalt you'll come to this stone retaining wall.

On the other side of the retaining wall, and down a few hundred feet, is Lake of the Clouds.

There is a trail down there that circumnavigates the lake, but that's not on our agenda today.

After checking out the view we pulled out our picnic lunch and enjoyed eating outdoors for a change. We don't do that nearly as often as you'd think.


Another location everyone talks about is Bonanza Falls. It's located just outside of the state park on private property, but is open to the public during daylight hours.

The uplifted shelves of rock and cascades are different than any other falls we've seen.

With less water turbulence going on, we could get right out in the middle of the river.

It enabled us to get a new perspective on photographing this waterfall.

But as do all the waterfalls around here, the water eventually ends up in Lake Superior.



After our little sightseeing excursion was complete, we headed back to the Visitor Center to ask if they have reopened the South Boundary Road. It's been closed for awhile, as they are replacing all the culverts along the road.

This 26-mile road cuts right through the center of the park (east to west), which gives us a short cut to the other side of the park where we can view five more waterfalls and the area known as Summit Peak (1714' in elev.), the highest point in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness (affectionatly called "The Porkies" by the locals).

We found out they did indeed "temporarily" open South Boundary Road today at noon and it will remain open until Monday morning when they will once again close it and finish replacing those damaged culverts.

Had they not opened the road, it would have added an extra 30-miles, each way, for us to go "around" the park instead of through it. Thank You Michigan State Parks for opening the road, even if it's for only this Holiday Weekend.

No one goes straight at this intersection!



THURSDAY - Who celebrates the Fourth of July on July 5th or even July 6th?

Well, if you're in Ontonagon County Michigan like we are, they do! That just doesn't seem patriotic?

I understand they are only doing it to make it fall on the weekend, but they call it the "Fourth" of July for a reason you know.



We're going to celebrate the "Fourth of July" on the 4th, with another sightseeing outing, this time along the South Boundary Road.

There is plenty to explore. We have The Summit Peak, more waterfalls and a remote campground to check out for a possible return visit to this region in the future. Let's go!


SUMMIT PEAK


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This is my kind of trail! Flat terrain with rest benches every 100-yards.
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Yeah, I kind of knew there would be stairs somewhere along this trail.
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This is a nice spot. I think I'll wait right here for Tricia to return.
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Tricia hiked alone the last 1/8-mile up to the observation tower.
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I'm glad now that I stayed back at the overlook.
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A few more stairs and she'll be at the bottom of the 30' tall observation tower.
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Here's a view from the top of the observation tower.
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As far as you can see, nothing but trees! That's what wilderness is all about.
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Looking east the trees have already outgrown the observation tower.
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Looking west is Lake Superior. I drew in little red lines to show the horizon.


Summit Peak is located very near the center of the 26-mile long South Boundary Road.

Our next stop will be at the end of the road, where we'll find a campground and three waterfalls on the Presque Isle River that are all listed in the park brochure as OUTSTANDING.


WATERFALLS OF THE PRESQUE ISLE RIVER


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These three waterfall trails were all short and easy.
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This bridge crosses over a small creek that feeds into the river.
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Our first glimpse of Manabezho Falls is from a distance.
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The trail eventually came closer to the falls.
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Then we were looking down at the falls from up above.

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Manido Falls required negotiating a few stairs to reach the viewing platform.
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This waterfall seemed to be a lot more active than the previous one.
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Even though the water is stained with tannins it's still pretty clear.
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It looks like the bottom fell out of this section of the river.
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You know the routine by now. We go back up the stairs to the parking lot.

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The third and final waterfall along the Presque River is Nawadaha Falls.
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Here you'll find more of the stairstepping formations under the water.
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Manido Falls

Nawadaha Falls



SATURDAY - After a day of rain, we have another day of sunshine, so this morning we are back out in the park seeing another waterfall.

This one is on the Little Iron River near the site of the abandoned Nonesuch Mine, a copper mine which operated on and off between 1867 and 1912. All this is found in the southeast corner of the park near our campsite.


NONESUCH FALLS ON THE LITTLE IRON RIVER


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This ¾-mile long trail is not as well maintained as the others in the park...
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...and Mother Nature was of no help thanks to yesterday's rain.
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That doesn't mean Mother Nature didn't supply us with other things to appreciate...
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...like the simple, yet complex beauty of this delicate spider web.
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These crumbling stone walls are all that's left of the Nonesuch Mine operations.
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Then through the trees the Nonesuch Falls came into view.
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It wasn't as large and scenic like most of the other falls in the park.
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From this angle it looks as if you're standing in the middle of the river...
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...but you're not. There are some dry spots that jut out from the shore.
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I'm not sure what these holes are about, but they sure do look man-made.
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Downstream from the falls the water is all tranqil and serene.
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One last look back upstream at Nonesuch Falls.
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Okay, one last look again.
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Nearly back at the trailhead now, it's being used to store the road repair machinery.
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On Monday morning the road repair will once again begin,
hopefully to be completed by the end of the summer.


Nonesuch Falls


After visiting Nonesuch Falls we stopped by a private campground which had a gift shop/camp store where I purchased a Mountain Dew and some local Cherry Honey.

Outside of the store they had some FREE entertinment set up for us to watch.



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