Porcupine Mountains, May 2004

Day 1

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I left my house at 3:10 a.m. and headed north to pick up Ken at his house. I was looking forward to another hiking trip but a solid week of heavy rain prior to today had saturated the ground to the point of flooding and it was still coming down in buckets. The upcoming week's forecast for the Porcupine Mountains was pretty bleak as well; a chance of rain on several days, mostly cloudy and high temps only in the upper 40's to mid 50's. While driving, I was audience to a spectacular electrical show courtesy of mother nature. There was heavy rain, gut-shaking thunder and forks of bright blue lightning carving jagged paths through the black sky. I usually look forward to such displays, however, this electrical extravaganza lacked its normal luster as every flash of lightning reminded me of what may be in store for us for the entire week of this hiking trip.

I picked up Ken at his house and we were on the road by 3:50 a.m. The Porcupine Mountains were almost exactly 600 miles away and would cost us 10-11 hours of driving time. The plan was to arrive early enough to set up camp and register with the DNR before the park office closed that way we could be on the trail early Monday morning. As if bad weather and less than ideal forecasts weren't bad enough one more thing had to be thrown into the mix. Not long after we entered a local freeway exchange we hit a giant pothole and blew out a front tire. Apparently this tire assassin had claimed other victims before us because there were two vehicles parked on the opposite shoulder waiting for their turn with a local towing company. We dug out our raincoats, unloaded the trunk and with the speed and finesse of a finely-tuned pit crew, had the tire changed in no time. Upon closer inspection at a local gas station I discovered two large holes and a slash that half-circled the tire. Needless to say, we were not going to make it the rest of the way on a small donut tire. We stopped at a small service station in Bridgeport at 6:00 a.m. and had to wait until they opened two hours later. A new tire, $31.50 on the MasterCard and almost three hours later and we finally were back on the way to the Porcupine Mountains.

We arrived at the visitor center at 5:45 p.m., only 15 minutes before they closed. We went inside and spoke with the DNR officer. She took down all the pertinent information, went over the standard backcountry rules and 'leave no trace' principles, collected the park fees and then wished us good luck after reviewing the dreary five-day forecast. As we walked back to the car in the pouring rain we began to discuss alternative plans to camping tonight. It had rained the ENTIRE time since I left my house and it had rained up here the entire week prior to our arrival. The temperature was supposed to go down to 38 degrees overnight and the rain was not due to stop until the following morning. We had passed a roadside motel just outside of the park and chose to stay there for the night. Turns out it was an excellent decision because it got down into the 30's and rained all night. If we had stayed in the park in the tent we would have started off the hike with a soaked tent and gear.

Miles covered today: Approximately 600

Day 2

This page last updated on 02-25-2016 @ 11:24 AM