Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - East and West River Trail

In last week's travel post, I shared that my husband and I went to the Upper Peninsula to visit the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  In that post I covered the Lake of the Clouds, the Overlook Trail, and the Summit Peak Observation Tower.  This week I will show my favorite part of the park the East and West River Trail.

This is probably one of the coolest trails I've ever been on.  It is such a diverse trail because you see many different waterfalls, forests, the scenic Presque Isle River, great viewing decks, and the king of it all...the Great Lake Superior!  Wow! That's a lot to see in one trail!

The East and West River Trail is a 2.3 mile loop.  You start on one side of the river, cross over the river and go on the other side, then you cross back over again.  So you get two different viewpoints!  

The suspension bridge is at the start of the trail, depending on which side you start on.  It is such a beautiful bridge!  Look one way and you see the river and a waterfall, turn around and look the other way and you will see the river emptying into Lake Superior.

Here is a view of the waterfall as seen when standing on the middle of the suspension bridge.

And here is the opposite view looking at Lake Superior.

And here is a view of the suspension bridge itself.

We got off the trail briefly just so we could go down to the lakeshore to see the shoreline of Lake Superior.  It was only a short detour.

Once back on the trail, we got off it right away to explore this area.  You are able to walk on this rock and get so close to the water.  Some people were swimming, although there were a lot of warning signs not too.

It was fun to get in the center of the river and get great views without getting wet!

There are three major waterfalls on this trail along with several other smaller falls and rapids.

On the east side of the trail you are walking mostly through a forest on natural ground, whereas the west side is a lot of stairs and boardwalks with viewing decks.

The views are stunning, but different, on each side of the trail.

It just amazed me how many different and beautiful waterfalls on this trail there were to see.

In the picture below you can see one of the viewing decks on the other side.

You cross over the river at the end of the trail by using a vehicle bridge on the south boundary road.  The West River Trail seemed a lot more civilized and manicured than the East River Trail.

But if you don't like steps, this might not be the side of the trail you prefer!

The viewing deck overlooking Manabezho Falls.

The next few photos just show again all the board walks on this side of the trail.  They have a beauty of their own I think.

I hope you enjoyed our adventure in the Porcupine Mountains, I sure did!  Next week I'll begin a new travel series of our 2020 summer vacation.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

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Monday, January 11, 2021

January Stylish Monday = "Chic & Cozy Coats"

This month the ladies and are sharing our "Chic & Cozy Coats", what a perfect challenge for the month of January!  There were so many ladies that participated in the group this month that we have not one, but TWO collages!  Isn't that incredible?  More coats to love!

When the ladies first came up with this challenge my first thought was "Well, how do I make a parka look stylish?" 😀 Because I live in a climate with frigid winters, I mostly wear parkas.  I do have a few pea coats however, none of which get worn more than once (if even that) during the season, and this is one of them.  I picked it up at TJMaxx many years ago.  It's a very unique coat, but I don't think the style/cut is very flattering, and because I rarely wear it, I think it will go into the donation box.  Nevertheless, the coat came in handy for this fashion challenge, that's for sure!

Believe it or not, we took these pictures in the woods beneath my property.  There is a beautiful river and a waterfall.  The waterfall is partially frozen over now, so it's hard to see in the photos.

The coat has an empire waist with large black buttons on both the front and back.

I styled my coat with a cream turtleneck, black leggings, a black beanie, and black snow snow boots.

Of course I had to have some fun with the snow while I was outside! 

Now it's time to look at what the other ladies in the group are wearing, and be sure to link up your outfits at the end of the post!


Nancy -  Nancy’s Fashion Style -I always have a lot of trouble finding the perfect winter coat! This one wasn’t! On the blog post from last Friday I am wearing the perfect one. This one has a fabulous color but that’s all it has. No pockets, no lining, no collar. It was given to me and I really loved the color, but passed it on!


Michele - On Instagram as Seechele_styles This fur leopard coat is reversible to a rain coat...  it’s over 15yrs old and will never go out of style!


Shelbee - Shelbee on the Edge - I have a bit of an obsession with coats especially since I live in a snow belt where winters are long and frigid. And I am usually drawn to dramatic statement coats which I love to search for in thrift shops. That is where I found this Jordache white faux fur coat a few years ago and it cost less than $10. I don’t wear it often but when I do, I feel like a fancy polar bear!


Nina - Sharing a Journey - I love styling coats and jackets in the winter; layering accessories, playing with shapes and colors.  In today’s post, I am sharing a few thoughts on elevating your coat styling game.


Julie - Fashion Trends and Friends -  Winter coats, jackets, gloves, mittens, hats and scarves are all a must have living in Illinois!  Of course, a girl can never have too many of varying colors, lengths and styles!  I might just have two closets full!  This long length plaid (I’m always mad for plaid!) coat was a must have from Old Navy this year!  It’s the first plaid coat in my collection!  I think it pairs great with my star sweater and these navy fur trimmed boots.  Every winter I think I might add a coat or two to my collection!  After all, it is the thing everyone sees first in the winter!


Ada - Elegance and Mommyhood - I think coats are a closet staple if you live in the Midwest. We have had our share of cold weather and snow as you will see from this post, today, but overall it is mild (that means in the 30s & 40s for us). Speaking of closet staples, if you don’t own a Winter White or Cream one yet, you should. I think a classic wool coat in cream will be timeless and it can last you for several years to come. I love mine (it’s from Loft from last year and both Loft and Old Navy have almost identical ones this year). Stop by the blog today to see sweet Vivian also, in a pretty blush pink coat.


Suzanne - Ask Suzanne Bell - As someone who wears a lot of black and denim, a fun coat is an instant game-changer. From animal print to bright red - I like my coats to be fun. Throw some faux fur into the mix, even better. And yes, I have been known to wear a coat over my pajamas!


Andy - Pearls and Pantsuits - I’ve had this snuggly leopard print coat from Chico’s for several years now, and find myself reaching for it again and again. It’s the perfect little layer for our milder winters, and for my cold office! Not to mention that anything leopard is always a good idea!


Nicole - High Latitude Style - In Interior Alaska, winter lasts about seven months. Temperatures can be anywhere between 40 below (or less) zero to slightly above the freezing point. While around the freezing point a loden coat works fine, a heavy down coat is a Must at 40 below. These coats make everyone look like the Michelin Men.  Shearling  or goat coats work fine down to -30C (~-22F).


Gwen - Gwen Lives Well and Instagram - GwenLivesWell - Needless to say, living in Florida, I don’t get much of a chance to adorn my winter gear. Sure, we get a few days in the 50s, but generally, a leather jacket or wool poncho is all you need. So while I donated most of my ‘heavy winter coats from my New York life’ collection ages ago, I still have a few favorites, which I share on the blog. The coat pictured here was purchased just a few years ago, as an in-between coat - not for weather that’s too cold, but cold enough for more than a wool poncho! Perfect for New York in November, pre-pandemic, 2019.


Emma - The Style Splash - "It has turned really cold and frosty here in the UK so I need a warm coat. This vintage cream one is perfect as it's long and has a hood to keep the snow off my hair...yes, we've had snow! I found it in a charity shop for less than £10...such a fantastic

And Now Me!

Amy - Amy’s Creative Pursuits - As a Wisconsin Gal, we have severe winters and live in parkas all season long.  I have parkas of all styles, lengths, and colors filling my closet, but for this challenge I wanted more of a statement coat so I chose a very old pea coat that rarely gets worn. It’s a fun, unique coat, but not that practical for my climate.  

Have A Great Day! Amy

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - Lake of the Clouds, Overlook Trail, and Summit Peak Observation Tower

Back in October I announced that I was taking a break from my usual travel posts to focus on all our fall hiking adventures.  We took so many fall weekend hikes this year, that it took months for me to cover them all!  Now I would like to look back and share some trips we took this past summer.  Like many Americans we had to cancel our spring vacation.  We were supposed to take a trip to Smokey Mountain National Park last April and go to Yellowstone in the fall.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that there will be no more lockdowns and we can still take those trips this year.  In the meantime, I'd like to share some smaller trips we took once things did start opening up again in the summer.

We celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary in August by spending a weekend in the Upper Peninsula at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.  This is a gorgeous park with so much to offer because it is located on one of our Great Lakes and thus has so much to do there!

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigan's largest state park at roughly 60,000 acres.  Over 35,000 acres of the park are forests. There are beautiful waterfalls (you will see those in next week's travel post), rivers, streams, 90 miles of hiking trails, and of course the beautiful Lake Superior.

I took this shot from the car as we were entering the park.  It thought it looked like we were driving right into the lake!  Thank goodness for the sign at the end of the road, although I would not be comfortable driving this road in the dark.

We first stopped in the Visitor's Center to get a layout of the park and see which hikes we wanted to take.  Many of the trails in the park are miles long and take days, weeks, to hike.  They have very rustic cabins that you can rent inside the park if you are hiking one of the longer hikes.  Because we were there only for one day, we decided to keep it simple and hike the Overlook Trail and the East and West River Trail (that will be in next week's travel post).  We also were able to just drive to a couple of spots in the park to just get out and enjoy the scenic views.

The Overlook Trail is a 2.7 mile loop through a forest with steep uphill and downhill sections.  It's supposed to have scenic views, but I think at the time of the year we were there, there was too much foliage on the trees which blocked the views.  It's a very rustic trail, and there didn't seem to be many people on it in comparison to the more popular hot spots like Lake of the Clouds.

We did find these animal tracks in the mud which concerned me a bit.  They were very large, so I knew they were not a dogs track.  We couldn't figure out if they were bear tracks or cougars.

This was the best view we got on this trail.  Like I said earlier, I think if you hiked this trail in the late fall or a warm winter day, you would see a lot more.  The trail climbs to 1500 feet and there are two viewing areas.  It is considered an intermediate trail because of the climb.

After our morning hike, we jumped back in the car to see the sight that this park is most famous for:  the Lake of the Clouds.  The viewing deck is only a short walk from the parking lot, and my oh my what a view it is!

This really was one of the most beautiful views I've seen in my life.  I cannot even begin to imagine how jaw dropping it must be to see in the fall.  The lush green forest contrasted with the blue of the sky and water is breath-taking!  And of course seeing the Porcupine Mountains in the distance is the icing on the cake!

The lake is fed by the Carp River and overflows into Lake Superior.  It is one of the most popular sites in the park and so it is always very busy with visitors.

Our next stop was the Summit Peak Observation Tower.  Again, we just jumped back in our car and drove to the Observation Tower parking lot.  It's a short 0.9 miles to the tower with a lot of the trail being a boardwalk.

I was actually surprised to see this tower was open, because there are towers in Wisconsin that are not open due to Covid...which I think is absolutely ridiculous but I think they think that people just get too close to each other when climbing the tower and/or touch the hand rails. 

The Summit Peak elevation is 1958 feet.

The views from the tower are spectacular.  I love that you can see Lake Superior in the distance.  It was hard to see where the sky ended and the lake began.

Again, I can't even imagine how gorgeous this view would be in the fall!  Someday, we will have to visit this park in the fall to see the colors.

This is a view from the top of the tower looking down onto the boardwalk below,

They had a nice map at the top of the tower pointing out points of interest to see.

One of the drawbacks of waiting so long to do my travel posts is that I forget where this picture was taken.  I'm not sure what trail I was on when we found this viewing deck, but it sure was nice.  

After a picnic lunch, we headed for our last hike of the day:  the East and West River Trail.  That was amazing and I can't wait to share it with week!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

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