Feb 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm #1299428
Me and some buddies are planning a trip to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan. We're planning on leaving at the end of March and staying about 5 nights. Our current plan is to start at the top of Lake Superior trail, hike down to Little Carp River trail, take that up to North Mirror Lake trail, take Escarpment Trail to Overlook Trail, take that to Union Spring Trail, and then follow the road back to the Lake Superior Trail head. We'll be near water for the majority of the trip. My questions are: Are there any landmarks or trails we should adjust our route to see? How are the Porkies towards the end of March/beginning of April? Is there anything else that would be helpful to know? This is my first time in the Porcupine mountains, and some of my group members first time backpacking. We don't want any surprises on this trip ;)Feb 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm #1955664
The Porkies are great. As far as your itinerary, you're hitting some good spots. You might want to try to add/substitute for the Big Carp River Trail. Pretty nice views along some of it. Personally, instead of the Overlook trail to Union Spring, and then to the road, I'd take the Lost Lake Trail south from the end of the Escarpment Trail. Then the Government Peak Trail to the Correction Line Trail, and then the Big Carp Trail back to the Superior Trail head.
That time of year can be dicey. You could have 2 feet of snow, no snow, a little snow…But I can almost guarantee you that if it's not below freezing, it will be sloppy. Lots of little stream crossing with spring runoff and there aren't bridges in a lot of places either. You're gonna get wet, and the weather conditions will be a big factor.
The first picture is from the Big Carp River Trail in July, and the second photo is a typical stream you will most likely have to cross.
Feb 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm #1955776
I live only about an hour and a half from the porkies so I'm over there several times a year. We did our first trip of the season 4/19 to 4/22 last year, it was snow free and gorgeous the entire time, mid 60's during the day, low 30's at night, except for one that bordered the 20s. However we had a really really warm and snow free winter. This year has returned to more or less normal so my humble opinion is that late March early April is going to be pushing it. There is more than a fair chance that there will still be a lot of snow and even some late April snow showers or blizzards. It's already the middle of February and we are in full on winter with, again, a LOT of snow on the ground. I would definitely come up with alternate dates just in case.
Travis is dead on withe route advice, the big carp trail is one of the finest in the park. There are old growth hemlocks you will hardly ever see anywhere else or again. Both the "carp" trails are breathtaking. And yes your feet are going to get wet. :)
Anyway don't let me gloomy weather talk discourage you. It's an amazing place.Feb 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm #1955798
Shawn, your avatar picture looks awfully familiar… :)Feb 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm #1955801
Yea I'm a sucker for that view too :)Feb 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm #1955807
We're still in high school, so we can really only go during spring break. I wish we could go later, but it's not much of an option. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I really want to go, and we've been planning it for a few months, but I don't want to ruin any chance of my friends coming backpacking with me again because of a trip with crappy weather.Feb 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm #1955809
Yeah, weather can be a bummer. But if you really want to go, and you have the right gear and skills, I say do it. I would just be very up front and clear with your friends that this time of year can produce some icky conditions, and that the trip may be sloppy and cold. If you go in with expectations of gorgeous weather and it turns out nasty, then you'll be disappointed. But if you go into it fully accepting the possibility of bad weather, then you'll be much less disappointed.
Different people have different tolerances for weather. Discuss this with your friends and get a feel for what they think. Let us know what they say!Feb 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm #1955813
I'm planning on going with 4 other people. One really likes what most would call crappy weather, another would be fine with any thing that happened. The other 2 might complain a little, but I think that they'll have fun regardless. I mean, who doesn't have fun backpacking? Especially with 4 of their best friends and parents?Feb 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm #1955816
If you're that good of friends, I think crappy weather would take second chair to the camaraderie. Just make sure everyone is outfitted with the proper gear and the knowledge on how to use it.
Besides that, it sounds like you'll have a great time, and I'm a little jealous of your trip!Feb 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm #1955821
Indeed and keep your fingers crossed. Along with the mild winter, we had a really early spring. It hit 70 one weekend late March and I was out on the NCT in a tshirt. That was a rare event but pretty much all of April was decent enough to be outdoors. It's not predicted but you never know. Again, remember to bring dry socks. ;)Feb 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm #1955829
How has this winter been going in Michigan? It's been pretty warm in Wisconsin.Feb 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm #1955833
Where are you located? Edit: never mind, I see that you're in Appleton.
Up in the U.P, especially around the Great Lakes, the weather is often very different than down in the center of the state. Those bodies of water have a much different effect on the immediate climate and precipitation.
I don't know the historical data of the U.P. weather this winter, but I do know that it won't matter. What will matter is the forecast for the exact week you'll be going, and even then it's a crapshoot.
This is a good site to see the snow depth. You can zoom in and change many parameters on the left side of the page. Don't forget to make sure the correct date is in there!Feb 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm #1955836
The farmer's almanac's long range weather prediction says "April and May will be drier and warmer than usual, with an especially warm first half of April." Perfect!Feb 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm #1955841
Not really been that warm here on the north end, though we have slowly been dipping back into the twenties during the day occasionally. January was subzero to single digits. We were just over there snow shoeing two weeks ago and the snow depth report was around 30 inches give or take. We've been getting a lot of lake effect snow the past two weeks with more coming this week. We're on the edge of it but most of the UP is considered a pretty heavy "snowbelt" area.Feb 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm #1955844
Can you not let me have my optimism Shawn????!!!?!??! Lol.Feb 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm #1955846
>Can you not let me have my optimism Shawn????!!!?!??!
LOL. I was optimistic once. Then she dumped me.Feb 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm #1955848
lol sorry man I was cursed with being a realist. Do stay optimistic though, like I said and the almanac hints at it may get warm fast again. I didn't realize you were in Appleton either, so it's not that far of a drive if you do have to bail out for bad weather. To cast an even more cheerful light on it I'd rather be hiking in the cold than dealing with the swarm mid June or so.Feb 19, 2013 at 9:07 am #1955994
Thanks you guys for the helpful info. I talked to my friends and they said they'd be fine with any weather. Next up: Planning my trip to Canyonlands NP in Moab, Utah this summer. Lol.
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