Exploring Part 2: The Porcupine Mountains

After we left Houghton, we headed on to the Porcupine Mountains for a couple of days.  On our way, we stopped at the Adventure Mining Company in Greenland, MI.  They also do mine tours, but there are much more rugged than those offered at the Quincy mine.  The mines haven't been electrified at all, so the only light you have is the one you're wearing on your head, and a flashlight you brought with you if you're as prepared as Aaron.  They had four options that varied in not only their length and level of difficulty, but also in the amount of the mine that is explored.  We opted for the "Prospectors" tour which took us on an hour or so walking tour of the mine.  I tried to talk Aaron into the "Miners" tour, where we could have gotten to do a little bit of spelunking and repelling, but I wasn't successful.  Next time we are there though, he's doing it; he doesn't have an option.

We camped (thankfully, the weather was better!) at the Porcupine Mountain State Park and did some light hiking.  We stayed at the Union Bay Campground, in a water-front site.  I was surprised to get one of these sites seeing as how I booked the site that day, before we left Houghton.  The campground is very nice - modern hookups for RVs and also had bathrooms, showers, and a laundromat - all for $25 per night.  Not too shabby.

The first night, we went on a short hike to a look out tower.  It was a half mile out and a half mile back, not far at all, but totally worth it.  We could have taken pictures from the top of the tower, but there is no way all that beauty could be captured in a single picture.  The trees extended for miles and the land rose in gently rolling "mountains" (more than a hill, less than a real mountain) all around you.  In the distance, Lake Superior could be seen, but with the haze, it was hard to tell where the sky ended and the lake began.  

The next morning, we woke up and went to hike to the Lake of the Clouds overlook area.  Again, this was just as breath-taking, if not more so, than the look out tower.  It was even a shorter distance to get here than the tower, and after a good nights sleep and the taste for hiking fresh, I was able to con Aaron into doing a hike a little longer.  We decided on the shortest loop (3.7 miles total).  I thought to myself, "Hey, I run, I workout, how hard can this be?"  Yea...about that.....hiking was way harder than I had anticipated.  By the end of it, I was sweating through my shirt, and was tired of swatting the flies and mosquitoes away.  Thankfully, I had chosen long sleeves and pants which helped to minimize the number of bites I got.  Aaron wasn't so lucky, but I think the deep woods bug spray laced with DEET helped.  I managed to fall once, but the only thing hurt was my pride.  While I'm not swearing off hiking just yet, I think I might be set for a while.  At least until I get more adequate shoes and gear (new clothes!!)

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry (yuck).  For dinner, we headed down to White Pine to a little restaurant that doubled not only as a bar and bowling alley, but also a restaurant.  Talk about full service!  The food was delicious, but the best part were the two black bears that wandered onto the back yard as we were finishing up dinner!

The next day we headed to Duluth for a night and then on to Grand Portage, Minnesota.  Check back for more details on the next leg of our adventure!  

Since we are getting on the boat Monday morning, and will have unreliable (or unavailable) internet access, posting may slow.  Be sure to check back the next week for more tales from our two week saga!

- Meghan -