Saturday, July 30, 2011

Brought to You by the Letters G, L and W

Sesame Street.  Fond memories of my childhood, as well as raising Signe.  Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird...all make me smile, but Grover is my favorite.  Earlier this summer, Steve, Quincy and I spent several days exploring the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Like Sesame Street, the trip seemed to be sponsored by certain letters.

The letter G:

Summer in Minnesota is road construction season.  I-35 North to Duluth was under construction, so using our GPS, we veered off the beaten path and took the back roads in to Wisconsin.  Pattison State Park signs appeared and, since I remembered that there were a couple of letterboxes in the park, we decided to stop.  Great views were in abundance at Pattison,

Quincy, the mountain goat dog, making his mama nervous.
Hiking trail through the forest.
We searched for two of the three letterboxes in the park, but ended up finding only one.  We think that the one we did not find may have been washed away by the flooded river.  A nice hike brought us down to the bottom of the gorge.

After leaving Pattison, some garage sale signs beckoned to us.  Really, we had no choice in the matter, the car has an internal program that requires it to seek out and stop at garage sales.  Books and an old stove were "must haves" from the first sale.

Who doesn't need one of these?
A four-week-old goat named Caleb welcomed us to the next sale.  Caleb was born prematurely during a severe thunderstorm and his mom freaked out.  She disowned Caleb and the farm family had been using their kitchen as Caleb's nursery, bottle feeding him several times throughout the day and night.  Caleb was actually for sale for $25.  It was very hard to resist bringing a goat home with us!  He is such a little cutie.


Me and my new BFF
The letter L:

Letterboxing was what brought us to Michigan on this trip.  Out of the 20 letterboxes in, or near, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (PMWSP), we searched for and found 18, several of which we were the first to find.  PMWSP has a Park Ranger who is a letterboxer (Sunny) and she has been integral in getting the park to be letterbox friendly.  She recognized our trail name (SZSRocks) and was excited to meet us.  Letterboxers, like rockhounds, are a friendly breed.

Steve in search of "A Pair at Pattison" box #2.

I can't tell you where this letterbox is, but the view looking the other way is incredible!
PMWSP hugs the south shore of Lake Superior near Ontonagon, Michigan.  The park has miles of hiking trails and awesome views around every turn.  A patch of pink Lady's Slipper orchids (Cypripedioideae), which are Minnesota's state flower, was a nice surprise close to one of our letterbox finds.

Pink Lady's Slipper
Lupines, one of my favorite flowers, were out in abundance.

Lake of the Clouds is one of the most popular spots at PMWSP.  Although we have visited this site before, it never ceases to impress.

Lake of the Clouds

Quincy at Lake of the Clouds
Nature added some whimsy to our exploration of the park.  Lichen was smiling and moss was showing us some love!

Sundays always come too soon and it was sad to have to head for home.  Wanting to prolong our mini-vacation as long as possible, we chose a route home through central Wisconsin.  This road-less-traveled brought us through Mercer, the Loon capital of the world!

Mercer, Wisconsin:  Loon Capital of the World

That's one big loon!
The letter W:

Waterfalls, wild flowers and wildlife were abundant throughout our trip.

Big Manitou Falls at Pattison State Park in Wisconsin.  Notice the rainbow!

Nawadaha Falls on the Presque Isle River in PMWSP, Michigan

Little Carp River Falls in PMWSP, Michigan
Butterfly on wild flowers at Pattison State Park

Not all wildlife is appreciated.  Is it just me, or are woodticks a lot more hungry this year?

Just thinking about woodticks gives me the creepy crawlies!
The letters G, L and W do a fine job of describing our trip, but a few other letters are worthy of mention, too.

The letter F:

Friends are always a welcome addition to road trips and we had the good fortune of meeting several new ones.  Park Ranger Sunny was mentioned above.  She was very helpful and fun to talk with.

At Pattison State Park, we were hiking to the first letterbox and a large group of people passed us.  I noticed that the young boy being pulled in a wagon had some markers and a rubber stamp.  My letterboxing "radar" activated, but I did not say anything.  When we found the letterbox, we discovered that several people had logged in that day, some of whom seemed to be kids.  I told Steve about the "suspicious" group and we decided to track them down.  We found them in the picnic area and asked if they had just "stamped in."  As it was, a family from Georgia was visiting with relatives in Wisconsin.  This was their very first letterbox outing!  We exchanged signature stamps and chatted a while.  I think they are hooked!

New letterboxer friends from Georgia and Wisconsin
Many of the hiking trails we followed took us through the forest.

In the forest, there were ferns and fungus.

Even copious amounts of flies were not able to spoil our fun as we letterboxed from dawn to dusk.

There is no better way to end a fun-filled day than a fire on the beach.  The UP is our favorite vacation destination and campfires by Lake Superior are the best.

Probably shouldn't have titled the camera on this shot.
The letter P:

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park was the hub of our activity.  Words cannot adequately express how wonderful this gem of a park is.  We will return.

Steve and Quincy at the park entrance.

Park Bench
The Presque Isle River meanders through PMWSP and the river's waterfall is another popular site to visit.

Shopping did make it on to our agenda.  If you blink, you can miss Silver City, Michigan.  Luckily both eyes were open when we passed through the center of town and we discovered a local Folk Art gift shop.  Quincy enjoyed playing with the owner's dog and even got to spend some time with us in the store.  We purchased a beautiful piece of pottery created by a local artist and I found some fabulous earrings that needed to come home with me.

Earlier on our trip, we had stopped at a few garage sales.  It is a good thing that Steve has excellent "spacial engineering" abilities.  After un-packing the Subaru and re-packing with our garage sale finds, Quincy's space got a little more cramped.  He didn't seem to mind.  He is just happy to be going with.

How much more can we squeeze in there?

Quincy curled up in the top of the stove.

The letter S:

Strolling along the sandy shore of Lake Superior at sunset, we found a couple of pieces of sea glass.  That's a lot of S's in one sentence!  We also had a sumptuous breakfast at Syl's in Ontonagon several mornings.

Quincy loves playing ball on the beach!

The sunset reminded me of one of my favorite Scripture verses:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6 NIV

Finally, I will sign off with a splat!


Anonymous said...

NIce Zoma! It was fun to see what you and Steve are up to. Where did you put the stove? Keep up the good work!!

Michelle S said...

The old stove looks like it has a skunk in the lower left corner of the picture. Tells me that the stove may have been brought to you by the letter "s" - for "stinker".

Michelle S said...

The old stove appears to have a black and white fuzzy thing near it. Would the letter "s" made an appearance on your trip? Maybe in the shape of a skunk?

Anonymous said...

oh my oh my oh my - I wanna go there too! I miss it! Let me know when you go again - we can do a meet and greet. And I might even visit some family, too. ;)

- Sunny (from WI), who has met Park Ranger Sunny also

Linda said...

I've been lax in my rss feed reading and was so pleased to find this post about your UP excursion. The stove looks like a wonderful find. We were there from July 29 - August 7. I wish I'd known you were there. It would have been nice to meet you in person after sharing the 23 Things experience and meeting virtually during it.

Zoma said...

Hi Linda! It would have been nice to meet up with you. I hope you enjoyed your trip to the UP as much as we did! :-)

Linda said...

Actually, my situation is that my home is there in Ontonagon and I work in Minnesota of necessity (after closure of the White Pine mine) so I always enjoy my visits there (but they're too short!)Time is approaching when I'll be able to be there all the time and I can hardly wait. If you're in the area after that happens, you'd be a welcome visitor.