This was out third trip to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park but it was different from our past trips. This time we were meeting Pat’s brother and sister and their families. Where normally we would be out on the hiking trails, our time was spent mostly visiting, strolling through the Union Bay Campground, preparing group meals, and playing with our niece’s daughter, Addy.
Mary Lee, Pat’s sister, from Wisconsin and our niece, Tara, from Michigan were planning a camping trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Since it roughly coincided with our return to the Midwest, we invited ourselves to join them. The weather forecast was to be cloudy and rainy, but we lucked out and had four pretty nice days. Yes, we did get some rain and overcast days, but when you looked at the forecast compared to what actually happened we couldn’t have asked for better weather.
Each family planned one of the major meals and the food was delicious and plentiful. We are all going to have to focus more on our exercise routines after this weekend. In fact, the food was so good I never got around to taking any pictures of us eating it! After dinner each night we sat around the campfire for a relaxing evening – a traditional family camp out!
We don’t often have four year old kids around anymore, and we all enjoyed taking Addy for bike rides, having her help fix meals, and playing Frisbee. She is already an authority on many subjects and listening to her explain things was just a lot of fun.
One day we drove over to the Presque Isle River to look at the falls. The DNR claims that the Porcupine Mountains is the largest state park in the country with a total 60,000 acres and 40,000 of them designated as wilderness. In fact when we drove from Union Bay Campground on the east side of the park to the Presque Isle River on the west side, we changed time zones!
There are three major waterfalls on the Presque Isle River and we visited two of them. There are trails and boardwalks that lead to the falls. Before you ask, “What are boardwalks doing in a wilderness park?” the boardwalks prevent the thousands of visitors to the falls from damaging the surrounding area beyond repair. Without the designated trails and walkways, new trails would be made with every visit and the forest floor would be destroyed. It was wonderful to see the falls through the eyes of a four year old. It’s like seeing it for the first time.
Geri and his wife, Marcia, attended a wedding in Minnesota on Saturday and while they were gone we went to the Lake of the Clouds overlook. It was a wonder to see this huge lake far above the level of nearby Lake Superior. Again, Addy provided her own brand of entertainment as we explored the area.
On Sunday, we packed up. Mary Lee and her husband, Welton, headed back to Wisconsin while we headed for the lower peninsula with Geri and clan. Our two families spent the night at Straits State Park in St. Ignace with a great view of the Mackinac Bridge. It was a nice change of pace to be able to share our experiences with family. Monday morning showed us crossing the “Big Mac” on our way to Lansing Cottonwood Campground.