Category Archives: Michigan

The Porcupine Mountains

Looking over the Porcupine Mountains

Recently I had the opportunity to meet a friend I went to college with for a few days camping at Porcupine Mountain State Park which resides in Northern Michigan otherwise known as the U.P. I was hopeful to see a porcupine since I assumed that’s where the name for this park came from. As we learned while there, the name actually comes from the shape of the mountains. They look like humped over porcupines. It is possible to see a porcupine in this area but not overly likely.

_DSC1541-1

Yurts are available for rent at this state park making it so a tent or camping trailer is not necessary. There are cabins also if a person prefers that. One of the nice things about the cabins and yurts is they are more remote than the rest of the campground giving you your own little area all to yourself. The challenging part of these yurts and cabins is lack of running water or electricity so using a bathroom with both of these things requires a bit of a walk to get there. Our camping spot was next to Lake Superior. Fortunately the weather was nice and calm so the lake was also. At night we were lulled to sleep by the waves lazily crashing against the shore for a peaceful nights rest.

Sun setting over Lake Superior

There are several ways to spend your time at Porcupine State Park with several miles of trails to hike leading to mountain tops or waterfalls, Lake Superior providing water activities such as boating, kayaking, or swimming in the warm summer months, or just sitting next to your fire watching the flames dance between the logs. While spending some time at our campsite a Least Chipmunk would entertain us with its acrobatics off and on as it collected ripening fruit from several nearby trees.

Acrobatics of a Least Chipmunk

In July the sun sets quite late in this part of the United States so it didn’t actually get dark until after 10 p.m. Eastern time. That really threw my time off because it seemed so late but was still light out to make an evening meal and eat it in the waning light. By the time stars began making their appearance it would be getting really late. One night we decided to find an area to view the Milky way and take some photographs instead of going to bed. After a few hours of doing that there was discussion on whether we should go to bed or find a place to view the impending sunrise. Thankfully our senses returned as it was off to bed for a good nights rest. Spending time in the U.P. of Michigan was definitely peaceful and relaxing.

Milkyway in Porcupine State Park

Lake Michigan Labor Day

The Beautiful Sand

Is there a better way to spend a beautiful Labor Day than going to the beach? The water is about as warm as it will get for the year and the temperatures are still warm enough to sit in the sand and soak it in. A recent trip to southern Michigan brought the opportunity to explore Grand Haven State Park. This is essentially a state park on a large beach. The biggest issue with going here on Labor Day Weekend is the large numbers of people. Parking can be a challenge but the beach is definitely worth it.

Lighthouse and Pier

The sand is amazing – very soft. I’ve been to several beaches in the Caribbean, Eastern, Southern, and Western United States, and Mexico and this beach easily compares to many of those. At least during the summer months. If you grow tired of playing in the sand you can take some time to stroll on the pier and check out the lighthouse. There is also a large musical fountain that puts on a show during the nights. While it may be difficult to imagine, this area is basically a sand dune. When I picture sand dunes I think of deserts. This one has a lot of plants growing on it to cover most of the sand but where these plants have not populated or disappeared you can see the vast areas of white sand making this an area to enjoy.

The Sand Dune