Nov 27, 2011 at 11:51 pm #1282481
I'm looking for suggestions on how to get the best out of a two night backpacking trip in the Porcupine Mountains in mid-December.
Loop trips are nice for logistics, but trips that utilize a shuttle are ok as well. What routes highlight the best of the park?
Obviously, weather will be a factor. Assuming there is snow on the ground, are skis a must or is there usually a hard pack on the trail suitable for hiking?
Or, if anyone has any other suggestions for a 2 night trip in mid-December within a 5-6 hour driving distance from Milwaukee, WI, I'm all ears!Nov 28, 2011 at 5:05 am #1806215
deletedNov 28, 2011 at 9:26 am #1806281
Thanks Rog!Nov 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm #1806370
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
Rog's idea sounds fun!
I've wanted to do a winter trip in the Porkie's this season. If you twist my arm Travis I'd be more than happy to backpack with you or at the very least help out with a car shuttle / key swap. ;)
Let me know if you're interested.Nov 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm #1806384
Plans aren't definite and we don't even have dates yet, but it'll be either during the week before christmas or between christmas and new years. I'll definitely keep you in the loop!Nov 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm #1806390
Rog (and anyone else), what is the water availability like along the lake superior shoreline along the Lake Superior Trail? Is there access to the lake or is the trail up on high cliffs? Are there any rivers/streams large enough that will have some running or unfrozen water?
Ah, much depends on the weather.Nov 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm #1806450
deletedNov 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm #1806825
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
Thanks for the update Travis. Let me know when you've figured out when you'll be going and I'll see if the wife and my holiday schedule permits.Nov 30, 2011 at 6:56 am #1807077
Looks like we'll be getting there sometime late on the 27th and leaving the 30th. Give or take a day in either direction. I'll be posting final plans when they happen.Dec 7, 2011 at 11:03 am #1809723
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
You probably already know about it, but if not, this is a nice little site for planning. It's not 100% accurate, but gives you an idea:
http://www.nohrsc.nws.gov/interactive/html/map.html?mode=pan&extents=us&zoom=&loc=Latitude%2CLongitude%3B+City%2CST%3B+or+Station+ID&ql=station&var=ssm_depth&dy=2011&dm=12&dd=8&dh=19&snap=1&o9=1&o12=1&o13=1&lbl=m&min_x=-90.891666666668&min_y=45.758333333334&max_x=-87.841666666668&max_y=47.475&coord_x=-89.36666666666801&coord_y=46.616666666667&zbox_n=&zbox_s=&zbox_e=&zbox_w=&metric=0&bgvar=dem&shdvar=shading&width=800&height=450&nw=800&nh=450&h_o=0&font=0&js=1&uc=0Dec 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm #1814466
@dsherryLocale: Mi Upper Peninsula
One important note, you may want to call the park regarding road conditions/closures. S Boundary is a snowmobile trail Dec 1- Apr. I am in Negaunee 2.5 hrs east, with little snow, so you could potentially get thru, but Porkies has been getting more snow than me here.
Plan a route assuming this road is closed so you won't be dissapointed. Park at/near Presque Isle rivermouth, cross the river and form a route off that. Even if you get down S Boundary Rd, a storm during your hike will be an expensive tow. Check weather constantly. The only other plowed place to park is near the ski hill, about 2 miles from Gov Pk Tr TH on hwy 107.
Message me if you want any other tips- I'm there 3x /yr, and will be going later this winter if you want another trip.
EDIT: As for water, most of those streams are swift and will be open. Or you can melt snow. As for method of travel, take what you have and perhaps decide at the trailhead? Could border on needing snowshoes/or just boots/gaiters, skis are faster, assuming no major climbs. Along the lake shore trail, no cliffs, if the trail is close to the lake you can walk over and get water. (If the waves let you). There will be very little snow along the lake, more inland.Dec 22, 2011 at 11:51 am #1815003
@dsherryLocale: Mi Upper Peninsula
I started to respond to your PM but the info could be useful to all planning a winter trip there, so here it is:
The road to Presque Isle river is plowed yr round (CR519) to S Boundary Rd where you could park. I don't believe you would want to register there- it is only checked in summer. Call in to the park 906 885-5275, select 0 to skip the useless automated prompts. Staff will give you a permit # so any county personnel will know you are registered. Registering by phone avoids driving 1-2 hrs out of your way to go to the only winter-staffed office, the ski hill on hw107. S BOundary Rd is a designated snowmobile, and banned to winter traffic by the county.
You can camp anywhere, as for fires they are technically only allowed in des fire rings, though this rule is frequently violated.
You will most likely be fine with boots/gaiters- only a trace along the lake and 6-10" in the highest inland terrain. As for following the trail, it's hard to say, and you'll have to make group decisions as you go. If it is too hard to follow, just walk the lakeshore and rock-hop (icy!) There are blazes, but ideally the trailbed is your best indicator. Other trails just follow riversides, and would be easy to make out. It is not heavily traveled in winter, and you may be the only ones in that area.
This will be a great trip for your group and good winter experience! I can give you more insites over the phone if you need. 906 475 9775hm.
Call the park today as it will be tricky to get registered near the holidays.Dec 27, 2011 at 6:07 am #1816133
Dana et all,
Thank you so much for a lot of good info; it has helped a lot! I expect the trip to be a blast, and I'm juuuust about to walk out the door to drive to the Porkies.Jan 2, 2012 at 10:37 am #1818679
Arrived in the Porcupine Mountains at the Presque Isle Scenic Area around 5:00 pm on Tuesday the 27th.
We hiked in as it got dark and night-hiked for the very first time. We camped at a tent site near Speaker's Cabin along the Lake Superior Trail.
Woke up Wednesday morning to temps in the mid teens. Hiked up to Big Carp Cabins and over to Greenstone Falls via the Cross Trail.
Got an early start Thursday morning and hiked out via the Little Carp River Trail and Lake Superior River Trail back to Presque Isle.
Things I liked/went well:
-my Rocky GTX socks kept my foot dry after breaking through a partially frozen puddle in the trail.
-layering system kept me warm
-used a VBL liner that kept my down bag dry. I have the tendency to partially wet out my down bag even after one night–to the point that I can see the wet down stuck to the inside of the sleeping bag shell. I was damp and clammy, but warm. That dampness evaporated within minutes of being out of my bag.
-MLD eVent gaiters. Didn't really need them much, but they fit extremely well and stayed in place all day.
Things I didn't like/didn't go well:
-GTX socks kept my feet dry from the outside, but my foot sweat enough to dampen my socks. I also got a blister on a toe on each foot.
-Trailstar– fantastic shelter, but I'm thinking I want more of a freestanding shelter in winter
-did not have down booties. Will DEFINITELY have down booties for my next winter trip
-filtering water sucked. I used my summer Sawyer gravity setup and will probably go to a Steripen for winter. It sucks waiting for water to filter and trying to keep the filter element from freezing.
Here's a few out of order pictures from the trip.
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