Following the 6th Annual U.P. Beer Festival a car load of trolls made their way to the Porcupine Mountains. We didn’t have a plan, just reservations at the AmericInn in Silver City, Michigan. Over two days we jammed in hours of hiking and connected to Lake Superior before jetting to Manitowoc, Wisconsin to take the S.S. Badger back to the Mitten.
Did you say trolls?
Yes, I did. Michigan natives know where the “yoopers” and the “trolls” live. If you are new to Michigan and unfamiliar, Michigan Radio posted a story about the “The vocabulary of yoopers, trolls, and fudgies” you may want to read it before you head to the U.P.
While Yooper refers to residents of the Upper Peninsula, those that live south of the Mackinac Bridge may be lightheartedly referred to as trolls since they are “under the bridge.”
You may have noticed that I didn’t say before “you head UP North” as everyone knows that UP North refers to the Northern half of the Mitten, but if you are crossing the bridge you’re “headed to the U.P.” Huge difference!
If you’re not sure what I meant by the mitten or UP North or the bridge, please read the article from Michigan Radio!
Off the Grid
I’m pretty sure there are no cell towers in the U.P. so bring PAPER maps! As google maps will most likely not be an option. Put your phone in airplane mode and say goodbye to Facebook for a few days. Thankfully, in addition to a great bar, the AmericInn also has a free WiFi that was actually pretty speedy.
Where to eat, drink and sleep?
The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park has campgrounds, cabins, yurts and a lodge. We opted to stay outside of the park in Silver City at the AmericInn hotel. Why this hotel? The location and it had a bar and a restaurant connected to it. In another lifetime, we would have opted for backcountry hiking and camping. At this point in our life, a warm bed, a hot shower and a cold beverage at the end of the day sounds pretty good.
In addition to the free WiFi the AmericInn offers a free continental breakfast. Their breakfast gets 5 stars from me. I’ve paid for a breakfast buffet that wasn’t nearly as good. Their eggs rocked and there was whole wheat bread to make toast. I really enjoyed their free breakfast. They also have an indoor “salt-water” pool. I didn’t use it, but it looked clean and inviting. They also have a lovely beach and fire pits to enjoy Lake Superior.
Where to hike?
We made a quick stop when we arrived at the Wilderness Visitor Center to get maps and advice from the Rangers. We also consulted with the Porky’s Pub & Grub bartender. A plan emerged. We also got some advice from a complete stranger on the trail and blindly took it. Several miles into the hike we started to question our judgement, but it was actually our best hike. I think we were a little unnerved by a book we were listening to on Audible, “Invisible” by James Patterson which is about a serial killer that friends his victims very much like the person that suggested we take East River Trail.
Lake of the Clouds and Escarpment Trail
You can park very close to overlook for the Lake of the Clouds. It is a short, easy walk to the overlook. Escarpment Trail is about 4.3 miles and is not a loop we went several miles and turned around to head back to our car. It was a beautiful hike and a nice taste of the park.
Summit Peak to South Mirror Lake Trail to Little Carp River Trail to Beaver Creek Trail
These three trails made a nice 5 mile hike. It wasn’t hard, but if you’re not into hiking, this loop probably isn’t for you.
South Mirror Lake Trail
Little Carp River Lake
Beaver Creek Trail
Presque Isle and East River Trail
So this is where we got hiking advice from a complete stranger. He was fishing for salmon that were just starting to spawn. We didn’t see any but he assured us in the next few days the river would be full of salmon anxious to mate. He suggested taking the East River Trail back to the parking lot instead of the West River Trail. First, we headed to Lake Superior to search for agates.
We didn’t find agates, but we did find this guy.
We headed back to trail to see the Falls.
Manabezho Falls, Manido Falls, and Nawadaha Falls
North Country Trail
Michigan is home to a section of the North Country National Scenic Trial. When it is finished it will be 4,600 miles and the longest hiking path in the America’s National Trail System. It stretches through seven states from North Dakota to the Vermont border.
The North Country Trail snakes its way through the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It is quiet and beautiful.
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