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Topic: 4 Days in the Porkies, Not a trip report< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2013, 12:03 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My son and I spent four days in the Porkies last weekend -- Saturday to Tuesday -- just wanted to post a few observations, not really a trip report.

First off, we rented cabins and left the tents at home.  We decided to make this an easy trip and just relax and enjoy some father-son time.

We parked at the Little Carp River Rd parking lot and hiked in to Section 17 -- my GPS said it was a total of 0.82 miles from the car to the cabin, not much of a hike but we were carrying charcoal, steaks, potatoes, etc. for a dinner feast to rival all dinner feasts!  After driving from Madison to the Porkies, and getting there after 3pm central time, we were ready to hit the trail and get to the cabin.

There were a lot of people on both sides of the river, and we even had several "visitors" at the cabin, one group was a family (mom, dad, 2 kids about 8 and 10 years old) who looked really worn out -- they parked at the same place we did and were going to the mouth of the river then a bit north to camp in a tent -- they came to the Sec. 17 cabin because they thought they were at the river crossing!  I really felt for the kids since they looked like they were ready to quit!  I sure hope they made it to their destination before the sun went down - it was almost 7pm EDT when they were at our cabin.

The next day we went to the Mirror Lake 2 bunk cabin -- nice, short hike and again we met several people on the trail.  One couple was sitting on a log looking like they were ready to drop - they asked me what trail they were on and how far it was to the mouth of the Little Carp River.  When I told them how far it was they looked like their world was coming to an end!  I felt bad for them.

The next day we hiked the Correction Line Trail and Big Carp River Trial to the Lake Superior Cabin -- it was hot and the 6.5 miles was about all we "needed" to do that day!  The lake was cold but refreshing for a quick dip.  Again, lots of people.  One couple almost ran into our fire ring in broad daylight!  They looked worn out, didn't say a word to us, turned around and stumbled away.

The last day was an easy hike out on the Cross Trail and the Little Carp River Trail -- didn't see anyone until we got to the parking lot.  Again, the weather was warm and the 5.5 miles was enough for us that day.

My observations -- first, why do people backpack and NOT know where they're going or how far they've gone?  I sure hope that family is okay and that the kids didn't learn to hate backpacking.  

Secondly, the Section 17 cabin and the Mirror Lake 2 bunk cabin were IMMACULATE!!!!  It's so nice that there are people in the Porkies who care about the facilities, leave firewood for the next group, and leave the cabin clean.  Kudos to the groups before us.  Last year we stayed in the Big Carp River cabin and it was a complete mess with garbage in the fire ring and trash left inside the cabin.  This year we found the Lake Superior cabin to be presentable, although a bit dirty (I had to sweep off one of the bunks because it had lots or dirt and mud on it!).  

Finally, I was disappointed by the amount of trash I saw on the trails -- not lots, but ANY trash on the trails is unacceptable!  I know that heavily used parks like the Porkies have a higher chance of a bit of trash on the trails, but I have zero tolerance for such things.  I also have zero tolerance for people leaving the cabins in poor shape.

So, that's my rant for today.  If you go to the Porkies, please, please, please leave it "better than you found it."
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2013, 12:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WiscoHiker @ Aug. 23 2013, 11:03 am)
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My observations -- first, why do people backpack and NOT know where they're going or how far they've gone?  I sure hope that family is okay and that the kids didn't learn to hate backpacking.

Yeah, I always find that really puzzling. I mean, I understand not knowing exactly how far you've gone, or asking about upcoming trail junctions, etc. But it's amazing sometimes how clueless and/or unprepared some of the people one encounters  in the backcountry are.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2013, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, the couple that I saw sitting on the log had on backpacks and were looking at a map!  I worry about people like that, they must think they're literally just taking a walk in the park.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 23 2013, 1:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wiscohiker, Gald you enjoyed your time in the Porkies. My wife and I have met a lot of people like you desribe out on the trails in the Porkies too. I'm always amazed that these people make it back to civilization. I think you are right some think it's going to be like walking at a park or a mall and find out otherwise on the trail. I'm always surprised at the amount of dayhikers  that seem unprepared (no maps and one little water bottle) that frequent the park too.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 24 2013, 10:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I love the Porkies, 1st went there in the early 80s when I was much younger!

Next year, I'm going to try for an early (April) or late (October) trip.  Although the warm weather trips that I've been doing the last couple of years are nice, too.  I'd like to see the Porkies as I remember it back in the 80s when we only went in April or late September or early October.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 9:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We've always gone in late September or early October, to be able to see the trees changing color. Plus it makes staying in a cabin that much nicer.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 6:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't have an exact date for this photo, but it's probably from the early 80s and most likely in the early spring -- the good old days when we hiked in blue jeans, long underwear, and down jackets while carrying external frame packs!

Of course, this photo was taken on the escarpment at the Porkies.  I'd love to get back into going when the weather is like it is in the photo.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 3:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's too bad insofar as the trash you were seeing.  I had planned to go earlier this summer, but trip was cancelled.  Hoping to go May/June 2014.

Able to see any wildlife?  Northern lights?
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 9:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We didn't see any wildlife to speak of, nor any northern lights.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 03 2013, 2:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I too have been going to the Porkies for over 15 years now and I always run into unprepared hikers too. I once was down on the North Mirror Lake trail and ran into a family that stopped to ask me for directions since they were going to just hike out to the Carp River trail and this was late afternoon. I told them if they headed that way they'll be in the park past dark and be prepared to spend the night. None of them had packs or any gear maybe bottled water. Even one summer in 90 degree heat I ran into a guy that hiked across the park with a 6 pack of beer and his dog with no water looking for a ride back to the park headquarters parking lot! So apparently nothing has changed I guess.

Anyway I'll be heading up soon myself. I have always wanted to give the cabins a go. I wonder if they are available in winter.

-riverhiker


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"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 6:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was looking for cabins in late Oct., and I think the reservation site won't let you reserve after the end of Oct., but it might be worth a call -- "Sandy" is always there to help!
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 04 2013, 8:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Two years ago I spotted fair weather moving in the week after election day and did a 5 night hike up there -- park staff told me it was the quietest time of the year for the park.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 7:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I know I've been in the Porkies after Nov. 1, I just don't know if the cabins are available any longer after that date.  I'll call and find out.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 9:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Cabins were open when I was on that early Nov. trip and I suspect a few (and some yurts) are available thru winter.

Note deer season there starts Nov. 15 or so. Park is not heavily hunted (have to hike your kill out) but is known for big bucks and some hunters are present.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 5:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just checked the online registration for cabins -- no availability in November.  If you try to reserve a cabin in Nov. you're told that the arrival date must be before 10/31/13 -- so I tried a multi-day stay that spanned into November to no avail.

I called the park office to ask if they're available but forgot that they're on Eastern Time and the office was closed.  Will try again tomorrow.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 05 2013, 9:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Only certain cabins are open during the winter. Mostly the ones over on the East side of the park. Union River, Gitchie Gumee,& White Tail cabins and the Lost Creek Yurt are open for sure. I'm not sure about the Union Bay Yurt. All the other cabins are not open during the winter.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 06 2013, 5:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for that info - I didn't get a chance to call today.
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