Hiking the Porkies

Posted on October 25th, 2011 by Tonia 8 Comments

Our impromptu backpacking excursion in the Porcupine Mountains was glorious. We covered 20 miles. The first 10 miles closely hugged the shore of Lake Superior and the last 10 wound through in the hills, finishing at a beautiful summit overlooking lakes, rivers and hills.

The wild is best shared with good people {our friends Jen and Trevor} and good dogs {their Shepherd mix named Coal and our Charlie boy}. The six of us easily fell into a comfortable walking rhythm, taking turns as leader, chatting sometimes but enjoying silence and the sound of our own thoughts most of the time.

The dogs were happy as can be, scrambling ahead of us on the trail, occasionally getting distracted by a chipmunk, looking back every so often to make sure we were still behind them. We were so proud of our long and low little doggy. Whoever said Dachshunds can’t hike?

At night, we built fires, cooked food, sipped whiskey and told stories. The stars were stunning and the air was crisp but not too cold. We didn’t see another human the whole time- it was as if we had the entire State Park to ourselves!

In the mornings, we made tea and oatmeal and geared up for more hiking.

We found some treasures along the trail…

Wild rose hips, fun to suck on while walking and packed full of vitamin C. And a sweet little Monarch, the last we’ll see for the season I’m sure.

The last 10 miles went up, up, up the whole way. But the view was worth it.

Too bad most of the leaves had already blown off the trees by the time we reached this spot, but it was still pretty breathtaking regardless.

What a great grand-finale to autumn! I hope you had a chance to get out and enjoy this splendid season as well. Tell me what you have been up to in the comments!


  1. Devin says:

    What a difference that a few hours North makes! We still have some completely green trees down here, some maples are pretty bright red still. Fall is the best for long strolls. I’ve been loving biking around the trails here. Something about fall is so peaceful!

  2. Meghan says:

    Our leaves are half-up half-down here. However, my fiancee won’t camp with me this late in the season after the time he almost lost a toe. I told him to pack extra socks!!!

  3. Trish says:

    what an outrageously cool sounding trip! do you have to worry about bears, with the dogs, in that location? Just started reading your blog, and am really enjoying it

  4. Tonia says:

    @Trish, yes bears are a concern in the Porkies but this time of year their activity is much lower than in the spring and summer. The dog scent probably helped keep them at bay, and we also were very good about hanging our food packs and brushing our teeth away from where we slept.

  5. Keira says:

    This post made me so nostalgic for my home back in Michigan. I’m so happy that I found this blog. I read a lot of blogs (mostly minimalist), but yours is one of the very few which I get excited about whenever I see that you’ve posted something new. You have this way of writing that is inclusive and appealing. Sort of an “I don’t know you, but I’d like you to know *me*.” It’s very brave to let so much of yourself hang out there like that. Even though you are about 1000 miles away from me and living a life that is very different than my own, I really enjoy these little snapshots that you kindly share. You have a beautiful, joyous, authentic life, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing it with the world.

  6. Tonia says:

    Ahhh Keira, you made my day. Thank you so much for your kind words. To be honest, I struggle a fair amount with what/how much to share on the blog. I’ve actually contemplated writing a whole post about this sometime- finding the happy medium between not sharing enough and sharing too much. Your input is greatly appreciated, and thank you for alleviating some of the worry over this subject for me!!

  7. Julie says:

    The photos of the Porkies are wonderful. I hiked in the Porkies with my husband some 25 or26 years ago and I remember we met just one person. Nice to know it is still quiet. These days we hike the Santa Monica mountains. So very different and a little less private. But still lovely. Like the previos responder, I also follow several Minimalist blogs and particularly love yours: practical, undogmatic and filled with real people. Thank you!

  8. Bryan says:

    Hi, I’m trying to plan a solo backpacking trip for mid-October and I’m having trouble getting answers to some questions. I’m new to Michigan (living in Grand Rapids), and I will be driving an out-of-state vehicle, so no recreation passport. What do I need to do in advance to plan for this trip? I can’t find info on how to make reservations, how to pay, etc. Would appreciate any help.

    I’m also curious about how cold at night it will be around October 12-14.

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