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Tag Archives: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Just about every fall my wife and I travel to the U.P. of Michigan to seek out the beautiful fall colors. Here are some of my favorite locations. More fall photos from the U.P. can be found on my website.

Au Train Falls

Black River Harbor

Bonanza Falls

Bond Falls

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

Hiawatha National Forest

Laughing Whitefish Falls

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

We made a brief stop at Overlooked Falls for a few photos. As I mentioned it was 80 degrees and way to warm to hike.

One of my favorite fall photography subjects is landpools (reflections). With the beautiful day there were plenty of reflections shots in the streams along the Union Mine Trail.

Normally the best time to photograph the many waterfalls along the Union Mine Trail in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is in the spring when the water is likely to be flowing. This year with all the rain there was still a good water flow in the streams along the trail.

Our final destination of the day was Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. We drove up to the Lake of the Clouds but were very disappointed that most of the leaves were down. The only colors were muted rusts and some yellows. The strong winds during the fall color season took their toll.

My wife printed, matted and framed six of my fall photos for an exhibit at the Menomonie Public Library. The exhibit will run through the month of October.

Bonanza Falls – U.P. of Michigan

Black River Harbor Reflections – U.P. of Michigan

Leaves Canadian Hill Farm – Menomonie Wisconsin

The Z Bond Falls – U.P. of Michigan

Lake of the Clouds Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – U.P. of Michigan

Leaf Hoffman Hills Recreation Area – Menomonie Wisconsin

 

After visiting Lake of the Clouds we drove over to the Summit Peak area for a short hike up to the tower atop Summit Peak. The light shining through the gold covered trees was outstanding. It gave a golden glow to everything.

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Particularly interesting was the fact that the ground cover was also changing color at the same time as the trees.

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The view from the tower was not as nice as it was from Lake of the Clouds although you do have a nice view of Lake Superior from this vantage point. The fact that you can see the lake also means that the winds off of the lake can bring down the leaves which seems to have happened in this area.

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More fall photos from the Porcupine Mountains can be found on my website.

While at Union bay in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park I found some interesting things on the beach to photograph.

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Every once in a while I see where people have drawn faces in the sand or snow. Sometimes I see them in other objects as well. Generally I take a photo of them as a break from my normal landscape photography.

My favorite is a face in the sand that I found at the beach in Porcupine Wilderness State Park. I had driven past a picnic table earlier in the day and there was a family with some younger kids having a picnic. When I returned later I happened to see that they had made a face in the sand.

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This past summer I found this face as part of a balloon at the Balloon Rally and Glow in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Happy Face

Happy Face

Several weeks ago I was at Devil’s Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin and Noticed that someone had drawn faces in a light dusting of snow on the ice below the ice fall.

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Just about every time we Ski at Swedetown I notice that someone hads drawn a face in the snow that accumulates on the many stumps along the ski trails. This was from a couple of weeks ago.

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Duluth Fireworks from last summer.

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My wife and I were walking along the Duluth Lake Walk when we noticed these binoculars. Ice had filled in the bottom of the unit making it look like someone with a beard.

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It’s been a tough winter for cross country skiing. Things looked promising in December when we received 18 inches of snow. The trails were groomed and it looked like it was going to be a great season. Then the weather turned warm and it rained. If we can’t ski around here we normally go up to the U.P. of Michigan. Things were off to a slow start up there as well. They had some nice snow early in the season but was also followed by warm weather and rain. It wasn’t until mid January that the snow really started falling. We decided that this might be a good time to head to the U.P. for some skiing before it rained again or the winter was over.

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Our first stop was ABR Ski Trails in Ironwood Michigan. ABR has the most extensive trail system in the western U.P. While we were purchasing our tickets I notice all of the grooming equipment parked by the chalet. ABR is known for its grooming and sells and tests equipment as well as offering training for other groomers. They seem to have a little of everything.

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We had skied ABR a few weeks earlier but really noticed the difference in the amount of snow on the ground. I was a mostly overcast day but the snow was probably the best we have seen it since we skied the area after a three foot snowfall.

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The next morning was a beautiful day but looked like it was going to be warm. We headed over to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State park to check on conditions. We have skied the Porkies trails several times and usually found them challenging. We typically ski the outer loop and several times have found the trails to be very icy at the lower elevations. Another time there had been strong winds the night before and the trails were littered with debris. As we started out there was a beautiful deep blue ski and not a cloud to be seen.

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A couple of days before the Porkies had received some nice fresh snow and the ranger indicated the groomer was out finishing up grooming the trails. It was starting to get warm and it turned out it reached the mid 30’s by the end of the day.

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The warm weather made for some challenging skiing. Our wax was grabbing even at the start of the day. As we skied the trail we encountered an increasing amount of debris falling from the trees.  Large clumps of heavy wed snow were falling from the trees onto the trail making it difficult to stay in the ski tracks. In addition, large branches were also coming down with the snow. It was a challenge to avoid being hit by falling debris and avoid the large snow clumps on the trail.

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The next day we skied the Swedetown Ski Trails in Calumet, Michigan. Again it was a little warm and the glide was not a good as we would have liked. It was snowing out a bit so there was several inches of fresh snow on the trail. Swedetown always has some of the best snowfall in the U.P.

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Because the winds were supposed to pick up later in the day we decided to ski the trails that were the most open during the morning. After skiing for several hours we took a hot chocolate break at mid day.

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In the afternoon we skied the Back Country Trail. This is our favorite trail to ski. It is packed occasionally and our preference it to ski it with 4-5 inches of fresh snow on it to get more of a back country feel. On this particular day it only had a few inches of fresh snow and another skier had skied part of it. We also encountered an unusual amount of brush at the start of the trail and more debris on the trail than we had on earlier trips.

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While we had some challenging skiing on this trip it was finally great to get out and get some skiing in.