After a few false starts, I finally made it up to Negwegon State Park. I saw snow in the Alpena forecast for later this week, so figured I better go quick if I wanted to go this year. Scary! There are two loops that start from the parking lot at Negwegon, the first has the campsites and a second goes the other direction. The forecast mentioned storms in the evening, as early as seven, but I thought I'd have plenty of time to do the second loop first before going to my campsite.
There is a great free-flowing well just off the parking lot with icy cold water on the way to the loop trail. It's a beautiful place; lots of paper birch, red oak and maple turning colors and losing their leaves with pine and fir trees for contrast. At the farthest part of the loop, I noticed the skies were looking pretty stormy. I tried to walk a little faster and started to have doubts about making it to the campsite dry.
It ended up being no problem, despite the wind and how the sky looked it didn't start raining heavily until around eight. It was forty degrees overnight, but I stayed warm and dry in the tent, drinking hot chocolate and doing some reading and writing.
I didn't realize it for a while, but my legs were extremely stiff and sore! Not from the walk, but from starting to lift weights again after a hiatus. It was surprising how uncooperative they were.
My uncomfortable legs woke me up around 6:30, just in time to catch the first light. The sky had cleared overnight; Negwegon is considered a Dark Sky park and the stars really are incredible. It was very peaceful to drink coffee and watch the sun come up. After packing up, I spent some time walking near the water... I cannot resist looking for fossils on a rocky beach. For the most thorough searching, I ended up taking off my shoes and walking in the water until I had to come out and warm up my toes. Lake Huron is definitely not swimming temperature any more.
As I was leaving my campsite I saw (and of course picked up) a deflated Mylar balloon with no string. I've seen these balloons littering some of the most remote places I've been to. They don't biodegrade; be careful with them.
The five-mile walk back was beautiful. Big stands of birch trees, and a grove of baby red oaks. The fall trees are amazing as always, and it was a really peaceful trip. I did see a frog that was probably lost on its way to hibernate, and had acorn tops dropped on me from a tree that woodpeckers and squirrels were working in. It's a busy time of year for a lot of the animals. I also enjoyed seeing a woodpecker scooting its way around a tree to try and stay hidden.
I was also lucky enough to see a porcupine! At first I thought it was just a tree stump in the trail, but no. I watched for quite a while; it was browsing for food and completely unconcerned with me. They're bigger than I thought, up to forty pounds. Really cool animals. There is a video below.
I had planned a group trip here this August, Negwegon at Night, during the Perseid meteor shower. Unfortunately I ended up cancelling it because Covid-19 numbers were increasing again in Michigan. For 2021, I'm planning to offer perhaps two small group trips here, sometime in August. Food and gear is provided and individual tents will be possible. Dates aren't set, but if you're interested please join the waitlist or you can email me. I'd like to know if people would prefer one or two nights, and what days of the week would work. Longer trips at the Porcupine Mountains are also in the works for next year.