Finding the Hidden Light in the Unforgiving Hike

On our first full day in the Porcupine Mountains during our short weekend expedition in there in June of 2018 with our travel buddy Landon, we decided to hike this trail that started at the lookout point of Lake of the Clouds.  Before I get further into the story, I should add some context first.

This was our first time in the Porcupine Mountains area of Michigan and the night and morning before we set out on the hike there was a massive storm that swept through this area of the state.  It rain and thundered constantly all night, as we took shelter in a brand new tent, and it turns out the storm caused historic floods in the area of Houghton.  The rain in the Porkies at least, came to a stop sometime in the morning between 8:00am and 9:00am I think.

Anyway, so that morning we thought it would be a wonderful idea to hike this two mile trail through the wilderness of the Porkies, and we started the trek with the utmost confidence.  At first the hike was great! There wasn’t much traffic, it was tranquil, serene, and we were excited.  However, the trail began to shift in elevation as we traveled down into this wooded, valley type deal, between the peaks and that is when things began to take a turn.

The trail got hot, muggy, wet, and buggy real quick and despite spraying ourselves and our gear with bug repellent, it did not deter the annoying mosquitos and flies.  On top of all of this it was also incredibly humid out, which just made the hiking more uncomfortable.  We were falling down, walking through and around puddles, swatting bugs as we got bit by them.  Basically the only positive was the beautiful scenery and the company, other then that it was not much fun, luckily Megan, Landon, and me brought mosquito nets that we shared amongst ourselves.

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From back: Bobby, Megan, Allie

After trekking an unknown distance through these conditions we reached a fairly large uphill portion next to this stream that carved its way down through the mountains forming a small canyon.  Landon, me, and Bobby decided to hike the hill to the top to see what we could see and to let the girls know if it was worth it to keep going and when we got to the top we just viewed more of the same terrain. So we made the group decision to head back because we were miserable, but before heading back we decided to climb down to the stream to splash our faces with water and cool off.  It was here that the uncomfortable hike became 100% worth it, at least for me anyways.

This stream and the canyon it was carving was a hidden gem that seemed untouched and unexplored.  Splashing the cool, clean, mountain water onto our faces felt so good as we recapped the trek up to this point.  In the shallow stream Allie and me also20180617_121411 discovered and retrieved a good sized chunk of agate, which is a seemingly rare rock to find made up mainly of cryptocrystalline silica, chiefly chalcedony, alternating with microgranular quartz.  A rock we always try discover when we go up to the Upper Peninsula.  It was at this stream that we took one of my favorite pictures (see above) today of all of us and my favorite one from this trip, all of us miserable and uncomfortable yet happy as we stood in this stream, a hidden gem in this forest.

Sometimes in Life when you go on an adventure you reach rough patches or a long, wet, mucky, bug-filled trail with seemingly no end, but sometimes each experience has something to offer to the story.  In this instance, it was hanging out by this stream that made this hike that we were initially regretting even attempting, so worth it.  You gotta take some time to enjoy the little things, focus on the positives, and keep your eyes open for the hidden wonders in the wilderness of Planet Earth.   Everything happens for a reason, so keep an open mind and an open heart guided by Love.  No matter how rough this particular hike was I wouldn’t have had it any other way because we would have never had that moment by the stream, found that agate, and took that picture.  Keep exploring and notice everything.

– Dustin

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