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A Small Adventure in a Big World | Personal Post | Porcupine Mountains

Big Carp River Trail - Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Photo taken on iPhone

I am newly back from quite the adventure up in the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and wanted to share some of the amazing things I saw and some of my reflections along the way. The title of today's blog has a sort of double meaning because, yes, I was on a short hiking and backpacking adventure out in the wilderness that can make one feel so very small (in what I believe to be a very good way) and starting a business can have the same effect - a very small fish in a very large ocean of brilliant artists and photographers (but more on that at a later date).

For those of you who don't know this about me, I love hiking and everything about being outside. If the main subject for my scratchboard work isn't a big enough indication, then I will reiterate...I am so intrigued by wildlife and natural places, I can't get enough. For me, being in nature is a very calming and incredibly spiritual experience. When I take myself away from the buzz of daily life, the to-do lists, and never ending emails, I can actually think and breath. Being surrounded by a world not created by man is a wonderful and powerful reminder of how great God is and how ever present he is. Something I read in the September issue of National Geographic (another one of my true loves), specifically related to the future of the Grand Canyon, really hit my heart hard and I feel Roger Clark says it best when he talks about the ability of landscapes to do the very thing that makes them unique, "which is to instill humility by demonstrating that human beings are tiny in relation to the forces that have shaped this planet, and that we are not the center of the world."

After a very busy season of art festivals and weddings, I definitely needed a little time away from the office to recharge and find the inspiration to make the coming winter months the most productive they can be. As someone who loves a new challenge, my first four day backcountry camping trip sounded perfect...and so we headed out with everything slung on our backs and ready to test our limits against a brisk October week. It was the best adventure I've taken to date because it was a true test of mental and physical strength. To a paint a brief picture...four days, three nights at just near or below freezing temps, 30+ lb packs of gear, 25+ miles of hiking through the most gorgeous terrain but hopscotching through mud puddle riddled trails, crossing rivers via downed trees, wet feet, sore knees, hips, and ankles, eating what you could fit in your pack (including the surprisingly good freeze dried meals - just add hot water) and slinging it up on a pole or in a tree to keep the bears out (yes bears, but we didn't run into any), hunting for viable fire wood, camping right off the shore of Lake Superior, at the top of a mountain peak, and along the shore of Lake of the Clouds. It was AMAZING!

It was able to be amazing, however, because we were prepared(!!!) and had the proper gear to keep warm, stay dry, eat sufficient calories each day, make fire, stay safe in case of emergency, and filter more water. If you're thinking of taking a similar adventure, please always make sure to do your research about the area you're exploring and what gear you need to have with you so you can come out of the experience safely - this is the most important thing!

Okay, now for some photos! (All taken with my iPhone and only sporadically because it stayed turned off and in my pack most of the time)

Camp night one (above and below) just off the shore of Lake Superior

Day Two - the mouth of the Big Carp River and Lake Superior

We stopped for breakfast and a little exploring.

Day Two - Shining Cloud Falls

This is along the Big Carp River Trail and is my FAVORITE spot from the trip - how GORGEOUS is all that yellow!

At the top of one of the peaks along the Big Carp River Trail

Overlooking the Lake of the Clouds - camp for night three would be down along the far bank and about half way around

Day Three - Lake of the Clouds

Down by the shore of Lake of the Clouds looking up at where I took the phots of the lake the day before

Camp night three

Day Four - we hiked out of the wilderness, hopped in the car, and stopped off at the Presque Isle River Scenic Area and the Manabezho Falls.

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