Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Porkies State Park offers respite from summer heat


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Wakefield TOWNSHIP — Water and shade are two ways to find relief from warm temperatures, and both options are available in abundance at the Presque Isle Unit of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Both local and out-of-town folks were taking advantage of the choices on Sunday at the Wakefield Township location.

The Presque Isle Unit of the park is about 20 minutes north of M-28 in Wakefield, via North County Road 519.

Loaded with towering, old-growth trees, the park’s trail system offers a pleasant hike in itself, as attested by Michelle Morris and Nik Hengel of Duluth, Minnesota.

“We’re actually finishing the Circle Tour,” said Morris of the iconic journey around the perimeter of Lake Superior.

Circle Tour advocates say that it’s possible to see the highlights during a seven-day trek around the lake, whereas some people spend two weeks or more lingering over the various locations along the way. The approximately 1,300-mile circuit includes the U.P., as well as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada.

“We have logged 1,700 miles at this time,” said Hengel, who added that they’d just left on July 2.

Trail routes within the Presque Isle Unit also lead to three famous waterfalls: Nawadaha, Manido and Manabezho. They are among numerous falls in the Porcupine Mountains region.

Sisters Faye and Nancy Korpi had made a day trip from Erwin Township to enjoy the park, which Faye said is her favorite.

Nancy, who owns land near her sister, has her main residence in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.

The trail system also includes an exten sive series of wooden steps that lead to a small suspension bridge over the Presque Isle River.

The bridge offers a gorgeous view in both directions, with the north side showing the egress into Lake Superior.

Shawn Tvermarken of St. Joseph, Wisconsin, was setting up a tripod on the bridge so that he could take pictures.

He said he’s not a professional photographer, but likes to travel to the U.P. about once a year or so to capture views of the great outdoors, particularly of the waterfalls.

He searches out even those that are off the beaten path, claiming, “Those are the best ones.”

On the other side of the bridge is a rocky path next to the river, along with other, broader dirt routes filled with bulging roots from the many trees.

Exploring the beach along Lake Superior were Liz Alvarado and her dog, May, who was thrilled with the many sites, sounds and smells of the locale.

Alvarado said they were in the area to visit friends in White Pine.

Jim Dessart and Cheryl Multerer also were lounging on the beach after traveling from Menominee, Michigan.

“We’re heading up here to go to Houghton and get some agates,” said Dessart.

The Presque Isle Unit also includes a rustic campground overlooking Lake Superior.

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is unique in that two counties share it. To the east, the bulk of the park — which includes Lake of the Clouds, the Porkies Ski Area, the Union Bay Campground and a visitor center — is in Ontonagon County.