September, 2011 – It was a beautiful day for a hike and I’d been told that Summit Peak is one of the premiere viewpoints in the Porcupine Mountains.
Started off with nice wide path and resting benches along the way.
Nice boardwalks and steps made it pretty easy getting to the main observation tower, about 1/2 mile from the parking lot.
Almost to the main tower, there was this viewpoint which made a nice rest stop with a real treat for the eyes.
Steps to the observation tower
Wish I could capture the entire vista, but no camera has been made that would truly express the vast expansive view of mountains filled with trees just begining to show hints of fall color, Lake Superior shimmering in the background and an interesting little streak of clouds just to add even more visual interest!
So after the tower climb, I decided to go back to the car, had a picnic lunch and come back to do one of the trails to Mirror Lake. I just wasn’t ready to leave all this beauty yet! I figured it was still early enough in the day that if I rested along the way, I could surely make it 2 miles there and 2 miles back with no real problems other than sore knees.
I got a kick out of this shot. My interpretation: as the path got rougher, I had an angel traveling alongside me! 🙂
…even when the trail got reallly narrow…
These leaves “spoke” to me and said, “Look at the fall show that’s coming, Malia – do you really have to leave so soon???”
In the midst of all this cool heavy shaded area, at this point there was a little sunny, meadow-like area with this sweet little waterfall to lend its music to the scenery.
No fancy boardwalks here, but these boards in places made it across where the ground was a little wetter.
When I came across this primitive camping area, I couldn’t help but wish I had started camping at least 30 years earlier so I could enjoy this kind of rustic beauty. As brave as people think I am for driving a 36′ motorhome around the country, I’d be way too scared and uncomfortable to stay out here in a tent – by myself or with anyone else for that matter!
Even with the helpful markers, signs, and map I had with me, I got a bit confused at one point as to how to actually see Mirror Lake. The sign pointed in this direction was to the cabins, but I went that way for a bit anyway because I could see patches of the blue lake ahead. I loved this spot!
And here is Mirror Lake. So glad I saw it here because after I went back and started following the trail that said to Mirror Lake and back to the parking lot, I never did get a glimpse of the lake again. I still have a lot to learn about trails and interpreting signs, but I’m trying and so thankful I still have the energy to do this kind of thing!
However, I was so exhausted by the time I got back to the car, I felt like I had gone 10 miles. Turns out the 2nd part of the hike I did was only 5.5 miles, but I was later told I should have started from the other direction because I did the hardest incline part coming back when I was most tired. Oh well, live and learn! 🙂 My suggestion: ask more questions of the rangers at the Visitors Center to make sure you understand where you’re going and how best to get there!
More Links About Summit Peak:
The Department of Natural Resources offer an audio guide that takes you from the Visitor’s Center along M-107 with information on stops you can make along the way or things to look for. You can download the mp3 files to your smartphone or mp3 player, refer to the accompanying map with matching numbers on signs you’ll see along the roadside.
Learn about the bear den, Union Spring, Nonesuch town and mine site, Lost Creek, and hear about the crash of a B-17 bomber that crashed in these hills in 1944.
Summit Peak Tower Trail (Uptrails.org)
The DNR offers guided hikes to one of the premier locations in the Porkies to view the setting sun at Summit Peak.
I'd love to hear your own experiences about places I've been - and what you think are "must-sees" - and I really value any suggestions and feedback from readers, so please let me have your 2 cents in Comments below: